Fridays at The Salute

Fridays at The Salute

I went to Waco back in 2006 and boy was it ugly! Many fans might remember the game as Ron Prince’s first road game. Some might remember it as Josh Freeman’s first meaningful minutes in a Wildcat uniform. I remember it as one of the worst games I have ever attended.

The good news for Baylor fans is that none of my misery was at their expense. The fans I ran into were great. Of course, I went with my brother-in-law who is a Baylor graduate, which makes it harder to be heckled. The stadium was down-trodden, and miserable looking.

The Baylor equivalent of iCat ran across the field to get to their seats before the players took the field. My memory could be fooling me, but the students might have received a louder cheer.

Then the game started and it was disgusting. Dylan Meier had over 20 attempts in the first half and completed about half of them. Then Josh Freeman came in and threw the ball 33 times and hit on a staggering 33% of those. How could we lose to Baylor? How fast could a Bill Snyder program crumble in the wrong hands?

Then Snyder came back, wins were the norm. Undefeated and on the verge of a National Championship berth, we traveled to Waco. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that went through me and many of you on this night.

Snyder is still here and the inaugural College Football Playoff is in the realm of possibilities. Yeah, we need about five things to go our way, plus we have to win in Waco. The Wildcats haven’t won in Waco since 2003. I know that we have only played there four times since, but c’mon, it’s Baylor.

But just like Nebraska old-timers kept thinking Kansas State of the 90’s and 2000’s were the same team they used to beat in 70’s and 80’s, these aren’t your daddy’s Baylor Bears. Art Briles is an offensive genius. He took Houston out of the doldrums and left a great program for Kevin Sumlin to keep on cruise control and catapult to Texas A&M. Where is Houston and Manziel-less Kevin Sumlin now? Mediocrity, which is exactly where Baylor was before Briles arrived.

Briles is Baylor’s Bill Snyder. Now the depths of the Bear’s program was nowhere near the Wildcats, but the turnaround in the new Big 12 was no small task. Baylor is on the verge of being the first repeat Big 12 champion in the only Power 5 round-robin conference that includes “big boys” Texas and Oklahoma. Briles is also like Snyder in the fact that he doesn’t want to leave for a bigger school. Florida, Michigan this year or Texas last season couldn’t pull Briles away.

Tomorrow’s game is huge. Winner gets a Big 12 trophy, that program’s second title in the new Big 12. Two more than Oklahoma and Texas combined. Winner gets a chance to sneak into the College Football Playoffs. Winner gets the upper hand in this developing rivalry. The last three Big 12 Champions have come from these two teams. That’s right, Kansas State and Baylor. Welcome to the new Big 12.

About The Author

Ryan was born and raised around the “Little Apple”, and is a life-long Kansas State fan and 2007 graduate. He is also a lover of all things Tallgrass Brewing. Was once quoted on November 11, 2006 as saying, "If we beat Texas, I will get a Powercat tattooed on my ass!"

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