By Rob Bradfield
There has been a lot of grumbling as of late.
Grumbling from a lot of people about Baylor football. From fans and commentators, from students and alumni even, nobody seems too pleased with the performance of our football team.
And why should they be?
One conference win against Kansas and the remains of the season made up of Kansas State, Texas Tech and OSU.
To say the outlook is bleak would be an understatement.
This makes the grumblers and naysayers even more discontented. They see the likely prospect of a four-win season looming like a spectre of the past.
“It’s back to the ’90s,” they say.
Well, it’s not quite back to the ’90s.
As someone who can remember the dark years of Baylor football, let me say that we are nowhere near those times.
I can remember the three-win seasons, the no-conference-win seasons, the seasons that were over at halftime of the first game.
That is not what I feel at the games now. No longer are we content to cross our fingers and hope for the best.
We expect to win.
It hurts all the more when we do not, but we have come to expect it. That is why some are so mad, why some call for a change of leadership. They are bitter and they know not what they do.
Yes, we have one of the worst defenses in college football. Yes, we cannot stop on third downs, or control the pace of the game enough to stop the other team scoring. Those are things we will have to deal with, but they would not seem as bad if we had not come to expect victory.
We have hope now, and Coach Art Briles made that possible.
Granted, nothing in football is accomplished by individuals. Even Robert Griffin III needed a team around him. However, Coach Art Briles does deserve a fair bit of the credit for giving Baylor fans hope.
Before he came, we changed coaches about as fast as the trees change leaves. A new one would come on every spring, and by the beginning of winter he would be fading or gone.
Now as soon as the tides of fortune turn against us, there are some that would call it a failure.
Even the great coach Grant Teaff had off seasons. In the heyday of Baylor football — not including the last season’s Heisman Trophy, which is unprecedented — 10- and nine-win seasons were interspersed with five- and four- win seasons.
More dangerous than acting like success is expected is acting like it will never come.
More important than grumbling or despairing is to hold onto that hope. If we can do that, then we will not return to the ’90s. We will not see a three-win season. We will triumph.
We have shown our hubris this year — between the stadium and the talk of Big 12 conference titles — and we have paid for it. Let us not now pay for our timidness, our lack of faith again.
Go to the games, cheer on our team and celebrate when we win.
Don’t expect to be handed it, though. Assume that it will have to be taken from our opponents at every step.
If we can do that, then Art Briles and Robert Griffin III will have given us something much more lasting than a Heisman.
It will last longer than Griffin’s professional career and will remain when Baylor Stadium is torn down.
It will be an enuring hope.
Rob Bradfield is a senior journalism major from Waco. He is the editor-in-chief of the Lariat.