By Shehan Jeyarajah
Campus has been abuzz ever since it was announced that ESPN’s College GameDay will be broadcasting live from the banks of the Brazos on Saturday for the first time.
The platform is set for a gargantuan matchup between the No. 6 Baylor Bears and a talented No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats team. The game will be broadcast in primetime to national audience on Saturday, possibly the biggest platform Baylor has had since the Fiesta Bowl.
Without question, GameDay is one of the most significant things to happen to Baylor from a national perspective. For that reason, Baylor students need to place the emphasis on the positives of Baylor rather than trying to use this stage to disparage other schools.
For all intents and purposes, GameDay is the nation’s first look into Baylor. Robert Griffin III’s Heisman Trophy was the first time that Baylor could be marketed on a national level, but there was less attention given to the university than to just the football program.
Now, ESPN brings its flagship college football coverage right into the middle of Baylor Nation. Excitement for the football team is at an all-time high, and Baylor football will get the chance to take national opinion to the next level.
One of the most popular traditions on GameDay is the making of signs. Many Baylor students have talked about using that platform to remind the committee that Baylor beat TCU 61-58.
Baylor and TCU are reviving an intense rivalry that will almost certainly be among the best in college football within the next few years. But at this point, Baylor and TCU have already played their game.
What does pointing to TCU really accomplish?
The College Football Playoff committee is well aware that the Bears beat TCU; several members have confirmed that Baylor vs. TCU has been the biggest debate during deliberation. Trying to boil it down to “61-58” makes it sound like that’s all Baylor has to hang its hat on.
Baylor has an entire resume behind it and has a huge opportunity to add to it against a top 10 team in Kansas State. Even if the Bears do not make the playoff, they can capture a second-straight Big 12 title.
Saturday is an opportunity for Baylor to show off what makes this university so special. ESPN will be right in front of the brand-new McLane Stadium, which head coach Art Briles consistently calls the best collegiate stadium in America.
There are few opportunities for a school to show it has arrived as a football program. Only a certain number of games a week get to be in the spotlight, but ESPN chose to focus this week on Baylor.
And if Baylor takes care of business on Saturday, it will be only the second back-to-back Big 12 champion in conference history, along with a Sam Bradford-led Oklahoma squad.
So why bother giving so much attention to anyone else? It’s Baylor’s time to shine.
Shehan Jeyarajah is a junior journalism major from Coppell. He is the sports editor and regular columnist for the Lariat. Follow him on Twitter @ShehanJeyarajah.