Pete Roussel of coachingsearch.com is a bold man. Actually, make that very bold. “Bold” is one of a plethora of adjectives one could use to describe someone that predicted Baylor (yes, the Baylor Bears) to play in the National Championship game against Alabama this season. Which is exactly what Roussel did. Now, I must set the record straight, I have no problem with the Alabama prediction. Honestly, it’d be a little crazy for someone not to pick Alabama to play in the BCS Title Game this year. But, I mean, Baylor…? I read Roussel’s article, and other than the fact they are Baylor, I found four main reasons why they will not make the final game.
First, let me begin by saying I think Art Briles is a fantastic coach and has done an unbelievable job at Baylor. A team that used to consistently finish last in the Big XII is now a school that has a Heisman Trophy Winner and a program that has gone a very respectful 18-8 over the past two seasons. However, they are not Oklahoma. They are not LSU. They are not Georgia. They are not Notre Dame.
Roussel began the Baylor section of his article by writing “Baylor is super talented at the offensive skill positions.” Now, I cannot necessarily disagree with Roussel here. Baylor has been in the past and will be this year very skilled at Quarterback with Bryce Petty, running back with Lache Seastrunk, and wide receiver with incoming freshman Robbie Rhodes. However, isn’t Texas talented at the offensive skill positions? Isn’t LSU talented at the offensive skill positions? Isn’t Georgia talented at the offensive skill positions? Isn’t Oregon talented at the offensive skill positions? Isn’t the entire Preseason AP Top 25 (which Baylor isn’t ranked in) talented at the offensive skill positions?
Next he wrote “Art Briles is 1 of 18 head coaches to return all nine assistant coaches”…uhh, yeah? So? Ohio State, Louisville, Nebraska, and Notre Dame all did the same exact thing, and have a better team than Baylor does.
The next two points referred to Baylor’s schedule, which Roussel said is “favorable.” Baylor begins the season against Wofford, Buffalo, and Louisiana-Monroe, with two bye weeks in between. Hmm…Louisiana Monroe…sounds familiar. ULM knocked off Arkansas in Fayetteville last year in the first week of the season, when the Razorbacks were ranked in the top 10 nationally. In addition, the Warhawks are returning a whopping 17 starters from last year. I am not saying that ULM will beat Baylor, but this non-conference game is not a “gimme.”
Roussel continued to write about Baylor’s conference schedule in which he wrote “Here’s how it shapes up for the Baylor beginning in November: Oklahoma (Thursday night), Texas Tech (Cowboys Stadium), at Oklahoma State, at TCU, and Texas. Baylor has defeated each of those teams at least once in the last two years.” Now, let’s just start off with the Big XII conference in general. Other than the SEC, the Big XII is the toughest conference in the country and one could make the argument the Big XII is better top to bottom than the SEC. 90% of the Big XII teams went to bowl games last year. Not one single conference game for the Bears is an automatic conference win. Will they probably beat Kansas, West Virginia, and Texas Tech? Yes. However, those three games are by no stretch an automatic chalk W.
I give Roussel credit for having the courage to post an article this farfetched. However, it is clear as day that Baylor is not going to go through the regular season undefeated (or with even one loss) and play for all the marbles early in January. Pete, if you are reading, I’m talking to you.