Sports Take: Fans should support Baylor football now more than ever

Baylor football players kneel in prayer before their games against TCU last Saturday at McLane Stadium. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Marquis Cooley | Contributor

For some Baylor University students, the scariest part of Halloween wasn’t a haunted house or a scary movie, but rather how bad the Baylor Bears looked against TCU on Saturday at McLane Stadium. The Horned Frogs took a 30-0 lead midway through the second quarter and the boos of the crowd could be heard clearly through the television broadcast.

Sadly, this has become somewhat normal during this disappointing season for the struggling 1-3 Bears who are toward the bottom of the Big 12 standings, with only Texas Tech and winless Kansas below them.

Baylor fans can all agree that this year’s football team looks nothing like the 11-3 Bears of last season that were 8-0 at this time last year and made it to their first Sugar Bowl since 1957. As a fan of two struggling teams, the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Cavaliers, I understand just how frustrating it is to watch a team you love let you down you week after week.

However, these types of disappointing seasons make the amazing ones so much more fun to experience. Part of what made 2019 so exciting was the journey it took to get there.

The Bears weren’t just good out of nowhere. Matt Rhule, former head coach of the Bears, built that program from the ground up. Just two years prior to that magnificent run, the Bears were 1-11 under Rhule and looked like one of the worst teams in college football.

In his first year, much like Rhule, Baylor football head coach Dave Aranda is having to navigate through the same hardships of a losing season. However, there’s no reason to suspect Aranda can’t turn things around in the same way given time.

Aranda was a part of the national championship-winning LSU Tigers coaching staff last year as the defensive coordinator, so he knows exactly what it takes to win in college football.

This football season has been difficult for everyone involved. So much so, that veteran players have even threatened to opt out of the remainder of the season. However, we must keep in mind that there have been many external factors that have strongly contributed to the play on the field on Saturdays.

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on this season, shortening the schedule as well as keeping key players out of big games. Arguably, no team has been more impacted than our very own Baylor Bears.

The Bears have had three football games postponed and canceled, tied for the most in college football so far this season. COVID-19 cases within the team and coaching staff, causing shutdowns of athletic facilities, have caused a reduced number of team practices as well.

The last game against TCU was the first time all season that Baylor’s entire starting offensive line of the Bears was available, which was evident in some of the miscommunications resulting on the field.

As fans this should give us some hope for the rest of the season. The team isn’t playing bad just because they’re bad — they haven’t had as much time to prepare together as the other teams in the nation. So as the season continues, we may see an increase in performance.

The Bears still have four games left to play. With the NCAA removing restrictions for bowl games this season in an effort to get as many teams playing in them as possible, there’s a good chance Baylor will get another shot at a bowl trophy this season if they can string together a couple of wins.

Because of the pandemic as well as the poor performance of play, McLane Stadium hasn’t been as packed and uproarious as usual. But there’s a still a dim light at the end of the tunnel that can make this season somewhat worthwhile. So, don’t give up on Baylor football. They need you now more than ever.