One of my Baylor friends put it best the other day when he told me “I think Griffin single-handedly birthed a rivalry between Baylor and OSU in just three games.”
My response: “yeah, it’s the first rivalry ever created by an individual because he was bad rather than good.”
Quite the paradox, eh?
And now we have a full-fledged social media spat on our hands.
True or false? Oklahoma State fans hate Baylor more than they hate OU right now. I say more true than false. Maybe I should make it a poll.
The Griffin narrative, however, is only a subset of our Baylor vitriol. This thread of “we want to beat the piss out of Baylor in every sport imaginable, why don’t they have a wrestling team?!?!” is equal parts Griffin, Baylor being good at football and basketball, Baylor fans acting like Baylor is elite at football and basketball, and Scott Drew doing Scott Drew things.
For now let’s push Drew to the side and take a look at the other three issues:
1. Baylor being good at football and basketball – Isn’t it funny that part (or most) of the reason we’re so anti-Bears is because of this: they’re a non-traditional power raging against a rhythmic establishment (the Big 12 Conference) with a confidence (other words could be used too) that belies their history (which is not good).
Does this not sound familiar, friends? Is this not the very template each and every OSU fan used in January when they swore off ESPN and that “dad-gum blasted family of networks owned by them Disney folks” because they propped up a Bama-LSU title game at the expense of the little guy (namely, us)?
Yes, I get that it’s more than that, but you’re a fool if you don’t think that at least part of the Baylor venom is because they’re good and we’re not used to that and we don’t know what to do with it.
It’s the same way Texas views OSU.
2. Griffin – OSU fans need to settle. the heck. down. (myself included). Griffin turned in one of the most statistically staggering seasons ever. Over 5,000 rushing/passing/receiving yards, 47 total TD, 73% completion, and only six picks (two against OSU). It’s not like the dude was Paul Thompson or something, he was good. Just because he wasn’t for one game in Stillwater (his 425 passing yards would have been one of the 10 best games in OSU history, by the way) doesn’t change anything.
The three biggest issues I (and probably most OSU fans) have with him are as follows:
- He gets praised for being “a humble leader” and “one of the classiest kids ever” but goes out of his way to rip on OSU’s secondary (that he couldn’t beat) and then refuses to credit the only Big 12 team he couldn’t beat. Am I going to hang a kid for two postgame quotes? No, but it does bother me that stuff like this gets swept under the rug for the most part. It’s not how leaders are supposed to act and I’d be disappointed if Weeden or Blackmon said anything similar after the Iowa State game (but they didn’t).
- Let’s say this never happens. Or maybe “the comeback” never goes down. Or this is a few feet left. Griffin doesn’t win the Heisman. He’s probably not the #2 overall pick. The hype machine never gets rolling.
It’s amazing to me the tiny variance between “possibly the greatest college QB of all-time” and “exciting dude for Twitter but never amounted to much winning on the field.” And this was the bigger issue I think we had with Weeden not going to NYC for the Heisman ceremony. If Sharp’s kick is literally a foot to the left, Weeden probably wins the Heisman. Ubben even said so the other day. Because it wasn’t though, because his kicker messed up (and for many other reasons), Weeden doesn’t even get a sniff from people. It’s such a strange, and sometimes broken, system because, really, what does a kicker have to do with how good or bad you are at playing QB?
- He was 22-18 in college. Yes, he played at Baylor and their defense wasn’t very good. But Weeden played at Oklahoma State and theirs wasn’t either (allegedly) and he managed to go 23-3 in his two years there. And don’t give me this “but Weeden had more weapons” thing because Baylor had a WR that’s about to be acknowledged as one of the 20 best amateur football players in the world four weeks from tonight.
The other day, Mike Mayock almost gave us the first written orgasm in sportswriting history when he wrote about the 18-yard comebacks Griffin was throwing at his Pro Day. The praise from all ends of the sports analysis/blogging/writing industry is synonymous: this dude is the real deal.
And honestly, I mean if we’re looking at this thing in a totally objective manner, he has been. Who wouldn’t want the multi-degree track star, who travels cross-country for prayer meetings with aspirations to go to law school, who scoffs at the behemoth that is professional football in our country?
I think what grates against OSU fans is that Weeden hasn’t gotten the run that Griffin has despite the fact that he’s been EVERY BIT as good (if not better): 9,000 yards, a 70% completion rate, and 71 TDs in the last two years (to 26 INT). The numbers are there, yes, but what really sticks in the craw of Cowboy fans is that he has every intangible Griffin has (and doesn’t wear “No Pressure No Diamonds” t-shirts to prove it).
He’s been all of these things and more and nobody can figure out why Griffin gets the accolades and Griffin goes to NYC and Griffin gets paid and Griffin is compared to Luck. It’s not about football that much, it’s about why the world is in love with the third Griffin but tosses the first Weeden to the side.
And this is where I throw up my hands. Should Weeden have done more Heisman poses? Predicted himself the winner on national TV? Was he hurt by the fact that OSU destroyed teams and Griffin played in (and won) tight games against good teams? I have no idea.
3. Baylor fans acting elite – First, a few facts:
- Baylor has never beaten a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament (since it expanded to 64 teams in 1985).
- Baylor has finished better than 4th place in the Big 12 in football/basketball three times in 32 tries (all 3rd place finishes).
- Baylor and Oklahoma State have played 50 football/basketball games in Big 12 history. OSU is 39-11.
- Baylor and Oklahoma State have the same number of postseason basketball appearances (three) in the last four years.
I’ll keep this short and simple. Your school is getting better at football and basketball. Your school is not an elite football or basketball program.
Here are examples of elite football schools: Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern California, and Alabama. Oklahoma State is not an elite football school and can’t be unless it sustains the past, oh I’ll say, three years of football success for the next 20 (a long shot for sure).
Also, here are some examples of elite basketball schools: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, Syracuse, and UConn. Oklahoma State has never been an elite basketball school (though it teetered on the edge for about 15 years). Baylor has six NCAA tournament wins since 1950, all in the last three years.
It’s okay to be fired up about your squad and the team you root for on Saturdays, but stop acting like you’ve owned the collegiate landscape for the last decade. Stay in your lane, enjoy your success, and (from someone who just lived/blogged his way through a crappy 15-18 basketball season) don’t take it for granted.
Theoretically, Baylor and OSU fans should be able to get along. We’re both little brother to a historically more dominant athletic school in our own state. We both have, or will have, incredible football facilities in the next five years. We both have a Heisman trophy.
Maybe it’s Todd McShay’s fault. Maybe all of this will pass when Griffin and Weeden go on to have successful professional lives. Maybe we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya next year in Big 12 solidarity.
Or maybe this is beyond repair. Maybe OSU fans won’t coma back. Maybe Baylor fans don’t care whose toes they step on in their proposed ascent to the top. Maybe Baylor and OSU will slug it out for second place in Big 12 hoops for the next 10 years.
Maybe a rivalry has been born.