The 5 Things We’re Looking For In 2019 Baylor Football
Here at Frank Kent Country GM, we love football – whether it’s Friday night at a local high school, Sunday NFL games, or college ball, we love watching it, talking about it, and (just as often) arguing about it. We have a lot of Baylor football fans here at our dealership, but not only Baylor, so you can imagine how heated things can get. At the end of the day, however, we’re all Texans that love football; win or lose, on Monday morning it’s all in good fun.
That being said, it has not always been fun being a Baylor football fan in the last few years. We won’t get into all the details – you already know them we’re sure – but the 1-11 season in 2017 was the dog-dung icing on a cake baked by someone who grabbed salt instead of sugar. Needless to say, we were pretty happy with how 2018 ended up, and we’re looking forward to an even better season this year. If these first few games are any indicator – yes we know we haven’t played any Big 12 teams yet – this is going to be a good one.
Here are the things we’re looking for the most this year in Baylor football.
#1 – A Strong Defense
First things first: yeah, we know that Big 12 teams are known mostly for their hot, fast-hitting, high-scoring offenses, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. That said, a great offense can win you a game, but a lousy defense can lose you a game. In addition to the offense, which has so far proven itself to be pretty strong this year, we’d like to see some serious Baylor football defense on the field.
For the past couple of years, it could be argued that our defense was the weakest part of the team. We were scoring points pretty well, but we were also giving up too many big plays. In the Big 12, giving up a couple of dozen yards multiple times will never end well. It’s not like those other teams aren’t powerhouse offensive scoring machines too, so keeping them under control is key.
This year, we’d like to see the Baylor football defense really step up and show everyone what it’s got. We know they’re not going to 100% contain teams like Oklahoma or even Texas, but if our defense can make its presence known, then that will go a long way.
#2 – Maturing Players
Depending on how you look at it, young players can either be a great asset for a team or a serious problem. We look at young players, especially in college like with Baylor football, as an important resource that needs to be nurtured. That terrible 2017 season had a lot of negatives, but it also had some young talent getting their first taste of Big 12 football and what would be expected of them on the field.
This year, we want to see that young talent really show maturity and develop into the team we saw at the end of the 2018 season. While 2018 wasn’t perfect (let us never mention the middle of that season), the end showed some real sparks of power and glimmers of brilliance. So far we have already seen Charlie Brewer, Trestan Ebner, Denzel Mims, and Blake Lynch step up in the first couple games of the season, we just hope it continues. Of course, that also depends on…
#3 – Matt Rhule’s Leadership
Matt Rhule stepped into a tough position in 2017 as head coach, we all know that. But he’s no stranger to building a struggling team up into something great. His work at Temple was impressive and showed that he could build a team of overwhelmed freshmen into a serious contender that makes plays and wins games. While we weren’t what you would call “thrilled” by the 2017 season, we also saw it for what it was: a new beginning.
The 2018 season could’ve been better, but it showed major improvement over the previous year and really mirrored what Matt Rhule did at Temple. It wasn’t a season of steady, solid growth, but this type of team-building rarely is. The lows were certainly low, but the highs were exactly what we wanted to see: recovery and growth toward the end of the season. After 2017, a lot of people were down on Baylor football, but Rhule came through in a big way.
As such, we’re looking forward to seeing him fully come into his own as the leader of this team and push the young talent into matured, veteran players that know what it takes to win games in the Big 12. And speaking of which, we want to see…
#4 – Big 12 Wins!
This might be about the biggest “no duh!” statement possible, but it needs to be said. Right now, as this is being written, we’re in a bye week, but the first couple games this season have been exactly what we wanted to see. Baylor football at its finest: early leads, big plays, and a dominant offense with a strong defense that maintains control over the game. But so far, none of these games have been against Big 12 teams.
Starting in Week Five, on September 28th, things get serious, with the Baylor football Big 12 opener against Iowa State. We’re excited that this game is here at home, so our Bears will have that advantage to come out strong and make a big statement this year. In fact, five of our nine Big 12 games this season are here at home, which is fantastic, including our games against Texas and Oklahoma.
Winning the Week Five game against Iowa State is the key to the rest of the season. We’re 2-0 right now, and we expect to be 3-0 going into that game, so all of the momenta will be on our side. A win in our first Big 12 game of the season will show everyone what Baylor football is all about, and will make a major statement about what to expect over the coming months.
#5 – Finishing Higher than Sixth
That might seem weirdly specific, but that’s for good reason: at the start of the season this year, the Big 12 preseason media poll ended with Baylor being predicted to end up sixth in the final standings. We’re not incredibly shocked by that prediction – it’s a pretty safe bet to make; everyone expects Oklahoma and Texas to come out on top (which one is first depends on who you ask) with Baylor right around the middle. But we’re not satisfied with the middle.
We want to see Baylor football reclaim its lost glory and remind everyone just how powerful the Bears can be. Sixth is nothing compared to what we see the players and Matt Rhule being capable of this year, nothing at all. Of course, we’d love to see Baylor come out on top – who doesn’t want their team to win? But even if that is still out of reach (for now), we want to see Baylor at least in the top three or four.
Plus, if Baylor can come out on top over Texas Tech and The Longhorns, we’ll have many more arguments here at Frank Kent Country GM to look forward to. And what’s wrong with a little spirited debate among friends? Just as long as we remember to leave the unnecessary roughness on the field!