Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bear vs Frog: A Symphony in Three Movements

[This is BearMeat's preview of the season opener against TCU. It was written by all three members of the BearMeat Editorial Board. Be sure to catch ESPN reporter and Oso Amigo Matt Mosley's NFL blog Hashmarks at 9am Friday morning for the corresponding post on his blog. For last year's preview of the TCU season opener, see FrogMeat. - Eds.]

The First Movement

Defeat With Dignity
by Senior Editor Red Andrews

When previewing the season opener between the Baylor Bears and the TCU Horned Frogs, its easy to see such a match as being between an obscure mid-major powerhouse and a BCS conference doormat. Yet such an impression would ignore the rivalry between Texas Christian and Baylor that is currently in its third century. When we began playing TCU in 1899, they were located in Waco and the rivalry was a heated one for white Texas Protestants. The Disciples of Christ and the Brazos Baptists played for about a decade until TCU's campus in Waco mysteriously burned down. The subsequent move by TCU to Ft. Worth did not diminish the rivalry in the least. As we approach the 105th meeting between our schools, we lament the demise of the Southwest Conference in 1995 and the divergent paths our schools have taken since.

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Me? I'm a travelin' frog!

Last season, we spilled much digital ink in our 18-part series (click here for the epic "FrogMeat") hyping our Labor Day opener against the Frogs, which we hoped would signal a turning point in our program. It did not. We lost, 17-7, in an unimpressive contest marked by many errors and ending in the ritual despair and turd polishing that characterizes Baylor fandom. Yet hope springs eternal and every turd will eventually blossom, so we turn to the 2007 season hoping against hope for a bowl berth, or, if that is impossible, then at least merciful defeats at the hands of our Big12 captors. In fact, some Baylorites have begun to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, identifiying with our Longhorn masters, and even going so far as to portray them in EA Sports Commercials. Though we're not quite proud of it, the BearMeat theme for this season is Defeat With Dignity. Just like the terminally ill, Baylor football knows its fate; all we ask for is the basic decency of a clean bed, fresh flowers and a clergyman in our moment of death.





Baylor grads: Doing the work Longhorns don't want to do

As devout Christians, taught to have faith until the bitter end, the most helpful passages of the Good Book have come from Job, who, after losing most of his family and property, lamented: "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." (Job 3:25) The problem of evil - of why bad things happen to righteous people - weighs heavily on our hearts. And so it has been for Baylor's time in the wilderness (the Big12). While we hold our heads high for Lady Bears Basketball, Baseball, Softball and Track, we don sackcloth and ashes when "cheering" for the football team. Even the athletic department has given up, promoting the upcoming season as "More Than Just a Game," which suggests that the cultural experience of Baylor football balances out all the humiliation and shame.

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More than just a game, its a massacre

It is in this context that I turn my weary pen to the matchup for Saturday's game against the HornyFrogs. First off, the strategy game:

The Coaches: GuyMo vs. Fatty McPatterson

Guy Morriss (GuyMo) is a TCU grad who has sent his daughter to TCU as well (gasp!), but who wants nothing more than to gain some respect in the Big12 by toppling his alma mater. However, as a convenient escape strategy, he has put his 12-acre McGregor, Texas, ranch on the market just in case this season takes a wrong turn. Brought on as head coach in 2003 as the tough-guy alternative to the tearfully vegetarian Kevin Steele, GuyMo rode his Harley right into our good graces by beating Texas Ass & Mule on a gutsy 2pt conversion call which ended our decade-long capitulation to those godless devotees of animal husbandry 80 miles south on Highway 6.

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GuyMo: "Tucking in is for chumps."

Fatty McPatterson, the inventor of Taco Bell's 4th Meal, desperately hopes to lead his ranked Frogs to a shot at the national title. Barring that, his goals for the season are modest: Eat at every Waffle House in the Mountain West Conference before January.

Advantage: Fat guy.


The QB Battle: Weeding out the competition

Despite having a JuCo transfer with the greatest name in college football (John David Weed) on our roster, GuyMo and offensive coordinator Lee "Desperado" Hays insist on waiting until gameday to announce who will be Baylor's starter. The candidates are 1) a redshirt freshman with a heart of gold, Tyler Beatty; 2) a former minor league baseball player who has taken snaps at three other universities, "senior" grad student Michael Machen; 3) sophomore tackling dummy who replaced Shawn Bell for the last three games of the season, Blake "The Polish Pony" Szymanski; and 4) John David Weed, whose heroic deeds were chronicled in our 4-part series, The Best Weed in Texas.

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Weed: "I am mighty Hercules reborn."

For TCU, they will be starting redshirt freshman Andy Dalton, who led the Katy Tigers to the Texas Class 5A title, beating perennial contender (and serious threat to replace Baylor in the Big12) Southlake-Carroll HS. As the field general who marched his team to the 2005 title, Dalton has proven that he can beat teams much tougher than Baylor.

Advantage: Frosh Frog Wunderkind by just a nose over the 4-Ring QB Circus.

Running Game: 'Tis a sin to run the ball on the Sabbath, my child

Baylor's running game was nearly non-existant last year thanks to our new pass-happy offensive system, Air Bear (or Bear Raid), devised by Lee "Desperado" Hays. This Tech-tastic system is basically the "Sam's Choice Cola" to Mike Leach's Coca Cola Classic. While we did put up record numbers in the air, our running game was the worst in D1. Thankfully, experienced back and team captain Brandon Whitiker is anchoring the backfield. Hopefully he'll get to run a few more carries per game instead of being treated as a 6th receiver.

Whatever running game the HornyFrogs have is by default superior to the Bears. You can't be worse than last.

O-Line: Red Rover, Red Rover, Let the Linebacker Come Over

Baylor: This is GuyMo's most glaring weakness. As a former All-Pro offensive lineman for the Philadelphia Eagles, he was responsible for the O-Line last year and they let the team down. Especially the last three games when it appeared that they suffered from feinting spells. This should be a strength for us, not a weakness.

TCU: Their O-Line is simply better than ours. There. We said it.

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Behold, All-Pro GuyMo


Defense: Joe The Baptist vs. Tommy Blake

Baylor: Sure there is more to an entire defense that one player, but dammit, BearMeat is a blog of narrative, not a fact-intensive analysis blog. Baylor sophomore Joe Pawelek lead the team in tackles last year and made the game-winning interception against mighty Colorado. All that as a true freshman. Also, did we mention he was a catcher on the Baylor baseball team? Yeah, he's that badass. We hereby change his name from "JoePaw" (much too similar to Paterno) to "Joe the Baptist." (HT: Poseur) [Also, why did GuyMo recruit Mike Singletary's son, Matt Singletary to play for Baylor when half of the alumni want The Samurai to coach at Baylor? Was this an insurance policy of some sort for GuyMo? Questions like these keep us up at night.]


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Joe the Baptist: "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. [Matt Singletary - Eds.] He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

TCU: Tommy "Does that make me crazy?" Blake is a top NFL prospect and All-Mountain West DE. A few weeks ago he freaked out after the 11th practice and drove home to the Texas Coast - Aransas Pass. Apparently all the hype and media attention just got to his head. His mid-August meltdown was completely unexpected. Perhaps this is a sign of the madness of the Patterson regime - which we imagine to be alot like Brando in Apocalypse Now. Hopefully, if GuyMo decides to use the "advanced interrogation techniques" manual that BearMeat supplied to him and the offensive line (thanks to former intern Al Gonzales), we think we may just be able to crack this nut and send him back to the loony bin.

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Blake: "I can has cheezburger?"

And with that, I pass the preview to my esteemed colleague . . .

______________________________


The Second Movement

A Brief History of Christianity in America or How TCU Turned Its Back on the Lord God Almighty
by Editor-in-Chief Judge Baylor

The good Lord knows that the last 12 years of Baylor football have tried Baylor's soul. As we gingerly approach yet another season in the Big 12, the offices at the Alico remain full of excitement and dread. Excitement because another year means we have yet another opportunity to exorcise our demons (Agrics) and dread because we enter our 12th season of the Big 12 with 11 conference wins. But before the fun of bearbacking through our conference schedule begins, we have a special date this Saturday with our most historical of foes. For the 105th time, 49-48-7 all-time with the B ahead by a snout, the TCU Horned Frogs greet us on the field of battle, before taking a two year hiatus from our schedule, so we can focus on more traditional and geographical rivals like UConn.


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Bears and Huskies are natural enemies?


There is talk among the faithful and even among our interns that another loss against TCU will validate our darkest fears. That a mistake was made when the Big 12 was formed, that perhaps a lowly administrative staffer in the Big 12 offices read the acronym incorrectly. That we have wrongly occupied TCU's place in the Big 12 South. Nothing could be further from the truth. A TCU win on Saturday means nothing, in fact in verifies what has long been suspected by the our most learned theological scholars and here is the Good News. Fear not gentle flock, we have already won. Salvation is ours. While TCU has decided to store up treasures on Earth, Baylor has systemically and unrelentingly chosen to store up our treasures in heaven. What else can explain Baylor's complete and unapologetic abdication to its enemies? Baylor has decided to turn the other cheek and additionally to turn the ball over with such regularity and at such critical intervals that there is no feasible explanation for our football program other than that we are attempting to humbly serve the Lord.


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Another major treasure on Earth barely avoided.


But you ask, "Dearest Judge, giver of Wisdom and Soother of Morally Questionable Women, did not Baylor have some success for the first 100 years of its football program?" And I, like a wise, generous teacher, answering a really stupid question from my least favorite student would say, "Yes, now be gone from my sight." But if the same question came from my brightest, least likely to be concerned with wearing underwear student, I would answer, "Baylor was not always dedicated to the Lord. For most of our history we also distracted ourselves with the pursuit of knowledge, intellectual freedom, and getting to the Cotton Bowl, but that all changed in the mid-nineties. Right before we entered our most challenging football schedule we choose a Seminary prof to run our university. Since that moment, even with his recent exodus, the B has unchained itself from the earthly shackles of bowl appearances and national television.


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Sloan vowed to build more prayer gardens than total conference wins by 2012.

It was not always so at the B. Years ago, back in Baylor's more heathen days, when we were concerned with something as venial as a win against TCU, the president's of our two universities made princely, sumptuous bets on the outcome of games. I needed to get really deep into the archives to find the proper document so I immediately made a boilermaker and summoned our head research intern, Sandoval Trach. I ordered Trach to gather a search party and descend into the darkest recesses of the Alico catacombs. A mere six days later and with four fewer interns to feed, but several "Sorry for your loss" letters typed up, I had the necessary documents to review. I had the same documents put on my hard drive years ago by our IT intern Gunder Thorson, but what can I say, I like turning pages. Each of the 104 bets is fascinating, but I'll focus on the more significant ones that changed the course of Baylor and TCU or at least would result in criminal charges in our far too litigious times.


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Police sketch of catacombs search.

1910 - Samuel Palmer Brooks (1902-1931) v. Clinton Lockhart (1906-11)


President Brooks had longevity on his side as well as 150 lbs., but President Lockhart had speed and a knack for holding down wine and crumpets. Lockhart was spared a match-up in 1906 because Baylor did not field a team due to a far-sightedness epidemic enveloping the team that year (self-abuse once again rearing its ugly head). In 1907 Baylor and TCU played three times and hit for the cycle, a win, a loss, and a tie. Finally after two wins a piece in 1908 and 1909 for TCU, President Clinton "Opium Den" Lockhart was ready to up the ante. His offer originally was that the loser would have to be an indentured servant for a period of five years. President Sam "Poke" Brooks without hesitation agreed to the bet. After Baylor trashed TCU 52-0, Opium Den was beside himself. In an act of ultimate hubris he declared the losing school for the second game that year would need to vacate the city of Waco (at this time known as Athens on the Brazos). Brooks agreed and when Baylor held on to a narrow 10-3 victory, declared in his prepared statement for all the student body to hear within feet of the weeping Lockhart, "Like Adam and Eve being cast out of the garden of Eden, so too have you been banished from Waco forever." The TCU move to Fort Worth has often been linked to a "fire" in 1910, but that is just code for the firewater Brooks and Lockhart consumed that day.


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President Lockhart delighted in telling a story about the time he ate an entire sandwich for lunch.


1952 - William R. White (1948-1961) v. McGruder Ellis Sadler (1941-1965)


Presidents White and Sadler viewed each other with deep skepticism, (their fathers had served in the same regiment and were briefly married) due mostly to White's inability to say Sadler's name without laughing and Sadler not being able to resist slapping him after suffering such an indignity. Over the first couple of years this rivalry came to a head in 1952 when they both put the lives of their first born on the line. The game ended in a tie, so they sheathed their blades and vowed to never kill for sport again.

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Sadler stopped White just in time, plus Pinkston, White's child got his second bris for free.

1971 - Abner Vernon McCall (1961-1981) v. James Mattox Moudy (1965-1979)
President "The Juicer" McCall and "Jim Matt" Moudy made a bet that the losing coach would be fired at the end of the season. McCall jumped at the opportunity, since Coach Bill Beall was to the SWC what Kevin Steele was to the the Big 12: box-office poison. Luckily, Baylor was able to squeak out a seven point loss and usher in the Grant Teaff era. McCall was quoted at the end of the game, "If you strike me down I will return more powerful than ever." Teaff handed McCall a 42-9 win the next year, as well as Moudy's left index finger.


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Citizen Teaff reflecting on civilian life. Necklace of human fingers not shown.

1993 - Herb H. Reynolds (1981-1995) v. William E. Tucker (1979-1998)


In one of the most painful bets in Baylor history, Reynolds let it all ride on this 1993 game. Reynolds and Tucker had a good working relationship, but disagreed over which school had a superior seminary. Reynolds declared that any professor at Truett Seminary could come in and take over Baylor and the B would continue to thrive in perfect harmony. Tucker countered and stated that he could pick any grounds keeper to take over for him and TCU would be stronger for it. History has shown that on this issue, William "The Wrong" Tucker was was definitely right this one time. Baylor lost and Bobby Sloan's name was plucked from the hat. Sloan wasted no time in setting up his agenda. He quickly established that Baylor was without deviation or nuance a Sloan-version-of-Christianity university. It might be fine and dandy for the TCUs of the world, schools that once had had religious identities but turned their backs on them and now choose to worship at the feet of Victory, but Baylor wouldn't concern itself with such vulgarities. We don't want the temptations of the flesh that would be heaped upon us if we made it to the Sugar Bowl and were forced to witness the sweet debauchery of the French South.


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We must continue to resist a swim in the golden pools of damnation and BCS bowl money.

Thank you TCU for illustrating the fall of man so aptly. As the verse goes, "It is easier for a successful football team to get to heaven than a Baylor Bear into the endzone."

___________________________________________

The Third Movement

FrogMeat MMVII: The Legendary Tale of the Oracle Fatty McPatterson and GuyMo GoyZa
By Editor Emeritus Guvn'r Pat Neffistopholes

[Ed. note: The following is a transcript from earlier this year of Guy Morriss explaining his first encounter with Gary Patterson. Don't ask us how we got a hold of it.]


BearDate, November 14, 1986:

Boston to L.A. No sweat, man. Cross country flights used to be grueling and just plain awful. But that was before I met Craig James and Steve Grogan. We were known as the Boston Texans. Craig and I were full blooded Texicans. "Grogs" was just born there, but with his connections to the real stars we couldn't pass up the opportunity to have him in our fold.

Grogs had all the major Boston players in his black book. One night we would be pounding cold gold with Kevin McHale at some upscale strip club; the next night we would be gambling away our week's earnings with Oil Can Boyd and Jim Rice. Bill Walton was #2 on Grogs' cordless phone. The beer was flowing, the ladies were glowing, and the city was trying to piss out the championship blues.


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Grogs stayed in Massachusetts after his Patriots career. Here he is at his 2006 civil union.


Enter Week 11: @ LA Rams...bonus. LA was always a fun road trip, but Craig and I knew that something special would happen. We were giddy with anticipation when Grogs got into the limo with us. "Texans, are you ready to experience the west coast like a true Patriot?" Grogs yelled out over the roar of the driver's steelpan stylings. My brain waves trembled with delight. We could be partying with anyone!...Fernando Valenzuela. Todd Bridges. Kareem. Susanna Hoffs.

"An extra special treat is in store tonight. Several years ago I met a young lad at a KSU alumni gathering and it changed my life," said Grogs. "He's a portly fella, already has a comb-over, speaks with a screechy tone, and has herpes simplex virus type 2." Grogs saw Craig and I look at each other with unease, "Texans! Am I not Steve Grogan? Driver! Davis, California. Pronto!"


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The country that paved the way for Baylor: Texas


Several hours later the limo pulled up next to a tiny wood hut that couldn't have been more than 500sf. The smell of rotten cabbage and decaying meats pierced the air. A crippled goat crawled out of the shadows with its untrimmed hooves curling forward like mangled elf shoes. I tried to calm Craig down. "You are the Pony Express" I whispered. His confidence grew, "Yeah. Fuck Dickerson."


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AT&T presents...You make the call: The Chupacabra or Eric Dickerson sans pads and helmet?


Grogs rapped upon the door of the tiny hut twice and pulled out a purple pennywhistle and proceeded to play KSU's Wabash Cannonball. The second the last note rang out, that portly man with a left to right comb-over and fresh pockmarks stepped out of the tiny hut. "Texans. I would like you to meet Oracle Fatty McPatterson."


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Purple Pride is so 1950s.


"Come in and make yourself comfortable. For a cup of tiger's blood would you care, hmm?" said the Oracle. I did not answer the portly man as I was in awe of what I had just stepped into. The tiny wood hut was no more. We were looking into a different world. The light was a shimmering gold; the rooms were expansive and loaded: long tables with assorted pastries, meats, ales, herbs, and 20 ft. high stripper poles; buck naked ladies waved huge palm leaves while doling out sweet medjool dates and mouthwatering olives. I was ready to hike the ball and pound the line.


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The Oracle regained our attention. "Gentlemen, you are ready for these items not. You have only one question to answer in order to take part in the festivities that, to offer, have I. Yeesssssss. Your way over here make." Craig and I shuffled our way into another room. "Two choices, you have. Stay and enjoy what, to offer for a price, have I. Or of a lifetime of pleasures go and leave behind a night worthy."

"What's the price?" I said immediately.
"Your football career a curse on." This was quite possibly the moment I should have stepped back and thought about the decision a bit longer.
"I'll take the blonde with the bowl of Kalamatas."
"Wise choice, sir. As smooth and meatlike as the olives she bears, she is."

Craig took a lot longer to think about his choice. He was still young in his career and was coming off his best season as a pro yet. However, one look into the cat's eyes of a young brunette dangling upside down from the 20 ft. pole and the Pony Express was ready to hit the pastures. "Let's party."


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And so we did. It seemed like a fortnight, yet we were there a mere 12 hours. So many images still dance in my head. Craig chasing a greased up pig while wearing nothing but an ivory codpiece. Grogs impressing the ladies with his best otter impersonations. Oracle Fatty McPatterson drawing up defensive plays in the earth's soil using a blood soaked rib from a freshly sacrificed lamb. We did not realize the price would be so steep.


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Oracle Fatty McPatterson circa 1986


With bloody, chunky tufts of animal hair still lodged between his rotting teeth, Oracle Fatty McPatterson slithered his way towards Craig and I. "My pleasure to have hosted your downfall, was it, Gentlemen. Yesssss. Young James, a curse comes forth. Your career, shortly over, will be. Be the last white running back to rush for a thousand yards in the NFL, you will. Work for Disney, you will." Brutal, man.


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Ol' whitey had the USFL instead.


"Elder Morriss, take heed. Your curse comes forth. Weak, it is not. Inherit your alma mater, I will. Lead one of your alma mater's rival, you will. Defeat you in every way possible, will I. Steal recruits from your alma mater, will I. Have winning seasons, will I. Win away games, will I. Be ranked in the Top 25, will I. Win bowl games, will I. Modestly brush aside your arrogance, will I. Make your loyal subjects question you, will I. Make you sell your house, will I. Make satirical website make fun of you, will I. Make fascist website polish your turds, will I."


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The Pride of Waco

At that moment I put the hammer down. Nobody but me and my wife polish my turds. I slapped Fatty McPatterson around a bit until Grogs and Craig came over to stop me. I knew we would meet again.

To this day I still don't believe in the curse. Yeah, a lot of it has come true, but ol' Fatty McPatterson will get his one day. I didn't expect Ol' Fatty to switch his Purple Pride allegiance... but I thought I would never leave the purple drank behind either. Damn I love the sizzurp. The tsikuni. The Texas Tea.


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"My fingers go bendy! I'm a horned frog!"


Uhhh...anyway, like I said, September 1 means oyster season has begun...So I, uhhh...I'm gonna crack Fatty McPatterson and his curse open and...uhhh, eat him. Or poke him with a stick. Something to that effect. Damn that purple drank is good. I'm a football coach. GuyMo out.

Uhhh...Sic 'em Bears.

Labels:

6 Comments:

  • wow. Epic is the only way I can describe that preview.

    I just wanted to extend an invitation to participate in my pick'em.

    The prize is a bottle of Crown Royal XR, which after multiple attempts by roommates to break the seal and consume the contents, has been deposited in safety deposit box.

    check it out

    By Anonymous Brad, at 7:00 PM  

  • El Chupacabra!

    Awesome post, as always.

    By Anonymous txhny, at 5:31 AM  

  • Movements one and two are spectacular. I emailed the link to my tcu friends. They loved it. Movement three? Well, as the caveman says in the Geico commercials..."what?"

    By Anonymous Henry Craig, at 4:51 PM  

  • Henry Craig:

    Thanks for reading! The third movement is a literary retelling of GuyMo's drug and whiskey addled encounter with a young Fatty McPatterson. Its narrative tone is deeply indebted to Kerouac's On The Road and it is inspired by true life events. While we don't expect everyone to understand it, we do want people to know that it was dictated by the Holy Ghost to the Guvn'r.

    Brad:

    You are the man. A liquor contest? You're a badass.

    Red

    By Blogger Senior Editor Red Andrews, at 8:30 AM  

  • I've vowed to read this thing. One day when I have 15 free hours on my hands I'm going to scroll back to the top and give it a go.

    By Blogger Jonathan Swanburg, at 10:16 AM  

  • J-Swan:

    Now that you are at the B school, there is no excuse. Probably will need a cup of coffee and a printed-out version to really digest it all. Oh yeah, and a few whiskey shots.

    Red

    By Blogger Senior Editor Red Andrews, at 11:38 AM  

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