By By Alexa Brackin
And Lindsey Miner
News Editor and Reporter
Baylor’s dramatic 52-45 win on Saturday over Texas Tech wasn’t easy.
After three missed field goal attempts going into overtime, the Bears’ chances at a bowl game appearance looked grim.
“Baylor’s kind of like the Israelites that wandered in the desert for 40 years,” Houston senior Matthew Morgan said. “So based on history, I wouldn’t [have been] surprised if we didn’t make it because our defense is more lame than Congress right now and doesn’t usually get anything done. So I really thought we were done. Doneskis. Put a fork in us.”
All in all, the defense pulled it together to clinch a spot in one of the 35 bowl games that will be played from Dec. 15 to Jan. 7.
“I just saw this as a rebuilding year, I didn’t see us as being competitive,” Plano senior Landen Ellis said. “We were a strong team and just because you lose RG3 doesn’t mean everything goes down the toilet. I thought it was going to be a bit more of a struggle, so I was pleasantly surprised.”
After leading Baylor to its last two bowl games, RG3 had to take a step back and cheer on the Bears as they took on Tech and solidified their bowl game status.
“It was a dog and pony show,” Morgan said. “He’s good publicity…don’t get me wrong, he did well for the Baylor public image. But hey, it put a smile on people’s faces and improved his public image and ours, so it was a win-win.”
It’s currently undecided which bowl game Baylor will play in, but the Bears have a chance to go to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl or the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. The rest of the Big 12 teams have a shot at the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl or the AT&T Cotton Bowl are up for grabs for the rest of the Big 12.
“I just don’t feel like it’s a big deal to go to a bowl game anymore because there’s so many, but I’m excited for Baylor nonetheless,” Ellis said. “There’s bowls left and right I’ve never heard of anymore. Every team in the Big 12 is bowl eligible except for Kansas. I feel like every team is eligible except for the worst team in each [conference].”
The impending appearance will mark the third consecutive trip to a bowl game for Baylor football, a first in program history.
“We have to win if we go to a lower-class bowl game,” said Dallas senior Caleb Powell. “We have to absolutely dominate.”
This will be the Bears’ 19th bowl game since its first showing in 1948. There have been only four other times in Baylor football history that they’ve played back-to-back bowl games. In 1960-1961, Baylor played in the Gator and Gotham Bowls, in 1979-1980 it played in the Peach and Cotton Bowls, in 1985-1986 it played in the Liberty and Bluebonnet Bowls and in 1991-1992 it played in the Copper and Sun Bowls.
“It’s a huge recruiting tool and it proves that we have an actual program now instead of just a one-hit-wonder with RG3,” Waco senior Drew Carini said.
Despite the claims that numerous bowl games seemingly decrease the prestige of appearing in one, it does add to the overall success of a school’s football program.
A school’s bowl game legacy is a great recruiting tool for both sports and academics.
“I think it does water it down, I think it makes going to a bowl game not such a big deal,” Argyle senior Tally Blair said. “Yes I’m happy we’re going to one, but with an 0-4 start and still making it to a bowl game, that not exactly elite status.”
This bowl game is proof that Baylor football can still make history without RG3.
“I think it kind of defines us as a prestigious program even without RG3,” Dallas senior Dave Turner said. “I think that was a big question going into this year, if we can uphold what we did in the past. And moving on, I think we’ll get better recruits and I think the future is bright for Baylor football.”