On Saturday, 5 Baylor beat 9 TCU in a fantastic 61-58 shootout that featured two unbeaten teams. Baylor was down 58-37 early in the fourth quarter after Bryce Petty threw a pick six. What followed was the most resilient comeback that I think I have ever witnessed. Baylor scored 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take down the frogs and keep their undefeated season alive and then the Baylor fans then proceeded to rush the field.
There were some very questionable penalties late in the game, and quite justifiably TCU fans were upset that the refs may have blown the game for them. While the referees did make a few bad calls in the last minutes of the game, I will point out that they were not the ones who suddenly stopped playing defense in the fourth quarter after taking a 21-point lead.
But apparently Horned Frog fans and college football connoisseurs everywhere were not so much appalled at how the game was officiated, but rather how Baylor’s fans reacted to the comeback victory.
“I can’t believe that the fans of a higher ranked team rushed the field. That’s just ridiculous. You just don’t do that. So dumb. #Unbelievable #Classless”
I guess fans of higher ranked teams don’t ever need to rush the field when their team beats a lower ranked opponent. You wouldn’t want to find yourself being like these guys:
For the record. This was in 2009. TCU was ranked number 4. Utah was ranked SIXTEEN. The score at the half was 38-14 in favor of TCU. The final score was 55-28. There was no big comeback. Victory was hardly ever in doubt. And Utah wasn’t even undefeated. But apparently a win over a one loss Utah team, who really hadn’t done much all season, warranted a more emotional response than Baylor’s victory over a Top 10, undefeated team simply because College Gameday had come to Fort Worth for the game against the Utes.
Baylor is now being told that they need to “act like they’ve been here before” (Whatever that means) because they’re the defending Big 12 Champs and were the higher ranked team. But here’s the thing about telling Baylor to act like they’ve been here before.
They haven’t been here before.
Yes, they won the conference last year. Yes, the Heisman trophy has been to Waco. Yes, they are currently ranked number four in the nation. And yeah, there was a brief time in the late 70s when Michael Singleterry played with them and they were pretty good, but come on. Five years ago in 2009, Baylor was awful. They were the midst of a 15 year bowl drought. It wasn’t that they hadn’t won a bowl game in 15 years, they hadn’t been bowl eligible in 15 years. For a good stretch of time people legitimately forgot that Baylor was a division one program.
When the Cowboys were having rough seasons, they would schedule a pee wee league team to boost their spirits. If they were unable to beat that squad of fourth graders then they would schedule a scrimmage with Baylor, because no one could lose to Baylor.
One year Oklahoma was playing the Bears and they were winning 122 to negative three at the end of the third quarter. Some fans got bored in the parking lot and started setting off fireworks. The Sooners lost track of time and assumed that the fireworks were signaling the end of the game. So they packed up and left the stadium before the start of the fourth quarter. 10 plays later, Baylor scored.
Telling Baylor fans to act like they’ve been here (Again, I don’t really know what this means) is like handing a king size Hershey’s bar to a child and telling them to take small bites once every 15 minutes. It’s not going to happen. There’s too much awesome, fantastic, wonderful, stuff going on to not just dive right in and experience the sugar rush of a fantastic season and an unbelievable comeback.
The people who say “you should never rush the field” are probably people who have never experienced the jubilation and pandaemonium of that event. Rushing the field in a victory over a ranked opponent is not tacky. It’s saying, “OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS TEAM SO MUCH, I WANT TO CELEBRATE THEIR VICTORY WITH THEM AND HUG EVERYBODY THIS IS WONDERFUL. I WILL HAVE MASSIVE STUDENT LOANS WHEN I GRADUATE BUT AT LEAST FOR THIS MOMENT IN TIME, I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT. HOORAY.”
Seriously, the cost of tuition should give every fan base the right to rush the field anytime they want to. Win or lose.
Let Baylor have their fun. This may not last forever. They could be terrible for the rest of time, and if that’s the case, no one will not look back at these few seasons of success and say “Yeah. We are terrible right now. But at least I never ran onto the football field and enjoyed an exciting win. We were far too classy for that.”
In terms of being a national and respected football powerhouse, Baylor is very young. It’s still really weird to pull up the AP polls and see the Bears sitting near the top of the national rankings. But as a winning culture becomes more and more common place for the Bears, the fans will respond accordingly. They will calm down. It will be fine. But for right now, let them enjoy their king size Hershey bar of a season.
Taking to the field after the victory is not explicitly reserved for upsets. That’s never been the case. And If you really want to keep their fans from running onto the field, then don’t let them beat you at their house. Easier said than done, but that’s what you have to do.