Thank you so much for keeping up with us this semester. For picking up the Lariat every Tuesday and Friday and skipping straight to the sports section. For opening your Morning Buzz emails and clicking through our stories first (*wink*). And for putting up with our awkward nonsense on “Don’t Feed the Bears.”
This season of Baylor sports has been incredible to cover. To have four ranked teams this fall, as well as the rest of our programs competing at such a high level is amazing. The sports crew here at the Lariat is truly fortunate to get to witness and write about it.
Although I am a baseball person, today I sit here at my sports desk, surrounded by stat sheets, old copies of previous Lariat bowl issues and Christmas decorations, to talk about football.
When I was a freshman, Baylor football had one victory and it wasn’t even a home win. Then jumping to a bowl appearance last year, expectations grew for the program and for the reporters that covered the Bears.
When I took this job in May, I set a high standard for myself and for the people that were going to be working with me because I knew the level of excellence that Baylor had set for itself was high. I experienced it covering spring sports earlier this year and I realized pretty quickly that this year was going to require so much more from the Lariat Sports team.
But I don’t think anyone could have predicted this season (except maybe Drake Toll who’s going to drag out his Aug. 28 column until the end of time.)
In September, Baylor football wasn’t even ranked even though they were undefeated. Now the Bears are heading to the Sugar Bowl after competing in their first Big 12 Championship game and completing the quickest turnaround of any power five conference team in history.
That’s the stuff that legends are made of, and as all of us that have watched “The Sandlot” religiously know, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
Matt Rhule, a very nice man by the way, asked Baylor Nation to trust the process. Well the process was trusted, and the future is bright. Coach Rhule gave Baylor fans something to put their faith in again. Everyone loves an underdog and everyone loves a comeback. Baylor delivered both this season.
My favorite part of all of this is that it’s just the beginning. With Coach Rhule signing an extension and the way recruiting has worked out for the program, Baylor football could be this successful for a long time.
That still rings true after the conference championship game. The fact that we played two freshman backup quarterbacks, and were only a play away from winning in regulation is crazy. It makes me excited for the future. With the amount of freshmen and sophomores that got playing time on defense and O-line, the 2020 squad is going to have a lot of experience.
So to wrap this up, I want to thank Coach Rhule and Mack Rhoades as well as everyone at Baylor Athletic Communications for cooperating with us throughout the season, not just with football but in our coverage of all Baylor sports. Thank you to the coaches and athletes that gave us their time and input and allowing us to tell their stories.
Most especially thank you to my fellow Lariat staff members for all the work and dedication they’ve put in this semester. I know it was hard. There was a lot of crying and not a lot of sleeping, but we pulled through.
The journey isn’t over yet, Bears. We’ll see y’all in New Orleans!
Have a happy holiday and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
– DJ Ramirez,
Sports Editor of the Baylor Lariat