By Hayden Murphy
For the fourth time this season, our starters were pulled before the third quarter was over. The first three times were against Wofford, Buffalo and ULM, and we had halftime leads of 38-0, 56-13 and 49-7 respectively, so sportsmanship there was all well and good. Last Saturday, we had a halftime lead of 56-14 and pulled the starters very early yet again.
The difference? West Virginia is a Big 12 foe.
I’m glad that coach Art Briles listened to his Momma when she told him to play nice, but this is different. The first three schools were small programs just trying to collect a check and not get embarrassed, so running up the score against them would have been cruel and proven nothing.
West Virginia is a major program that has won three BCS bowls in the last decade. Simply put, they really don’t deserve a break, and they didn’t deserve the 73-42 final score we let them have.
Why does this matter? Baylor needs the most lopsided victories we can manage in order to impress the media.
The Fiesta Bowl has to accept us if we win the conference, but if we have higher ambitions, we need to impress the voters. Most voters are going to take one look at that 73-42 score and think, “Baylor gave up 42 points to a team that was shut out by Maryland? Then they can’t be really good.”
Some programs are considered good until proven bad, and some are considered bad until proven good. Baylor is still one of the latter. We’re not yet enshrined in the college football hierarchy like Alabama, Oregon or Ohio State, and that’s a disadvantage in the polls.
For the rest of the season we’ll be playing conference teams who have the resources to compete against us and really should be capable of defending themselves, not relying on us to give them a handicap. If they can’t keep up, it’s their fault.
I appreciate that you’re just trying to be gentlemanly, Coach Briles, but for the good of Baylor, keep your foot on the gas next time and go for the kill.
Lubbock Senior International Studies major