Starting with the Sloan regime, hardly a day has gone by that the administration did not emphasize Baylor's goal of being the Notre Dame of the Protestant world. According to the Vision 2012 literature, by 2012
the B should be attracting the best and brightest fundamentalist evangelicals of suburban Texas and their unrelenting embrace of science
and the arts
. This goal on its face is absurd, but is even more troubling because it neglects the most important aspect of the future of Baylor: the football team. I know 2012 has some general sports goals, like facilities and whatnot, but that neglects the essence of what the B needs to do. The B's football program needs a role model, and Notre Dame, although a tempting model, cannot be duplicated; however, the the University of Miami should provide us with a blueprint of success.
The U's Ambassador of New Money, Clinton Portis.
On the surface, it would appear natural that Baylor would be attracted to Notre Dame. Notre Dame is what Baylor wishes to be: a consciously religious institution that is nationally respected for its academics and athletics. Although this vision seduced Bobby Sloan and his ilk into an aggressive mission change for Baylor, they failed to take into consideration that Notre Dame's position in college football is absolutely, indefensibly absurd. This small religious institution in South Bend, Indiana, is at the summit of college sports. Their position generated them an exclusive television contract with NBC
for all home games and a seemingly endless stream of fawning media attention
. The Notre Dame model cannot be duplicated by Baylor or anyone else because Notre Dame's current position has nothing to do with the last generation of Notre Dame football.
Quinn birthin' another loss.
Notre Dame has won one National Championship
in 30 years. That probably surprises many of you, because Notre Dame is often touted as the most successful football program in history. Historically that is undeniable, 11 consensus national championships seasons, but seven of those championships were from Truman's administration going back. One championship was from LBJ's second term, two were in the 70s and their most recent one was when Reagan was still in office. That basically translates into a slow, 80 year decline. The Notre Dame of today is living off the reputation of Notre Dame football from 50 years ago, when Notre Dame represented the zenith of college football power.
Not even the Gipper could remember the last Notre Dame championship.
Notre Dame is still popular, people still want to watch them play, but this is not necessarily linked to ND's ability to compete with its peers for national championships
. They're comforting, a familiar name, a known entity, that year after year will be there when you turn on your tv
. You know what, that's great for Notre Dame. Good for them. I wouldn't even care if I didn't have to be subjected to their mediocrity ever weekend, year after year. The last time Baylor went to a bowl, 1994, was the last time Notre Dame won a bowl game. Notre Dame continually gets invited to a bowl above its talent level and then gets decimated
. This has been happening for a decade, yet each time it happens many of the experts act surprised the latest team wasn't up to the challenge. Notre Dame gets this because of their name and what was done before any of the current team were alive. Notre Dame established itself early on in college football, and when other early perennial favorites
fell away (Harvard, Army, etc.) they kept winning for several more decades until they settled into their above average, nothing exceptional last 30 years. The shipped sailed on that for Baylor so another model must be found.
Ray Lewis about to go "The Last Boy Scout" at a game.
The perfect model for the B is the U. The U is the modern model
of college football success. The University of Miami has 5 National Championships, all of them since 1983. Up until 1978 when Howard Schnellenberger
took over the team, the University of Miami program had done almost nothing of note in its first 50 years of existence. The U
, like Baylor, is a 15,000 student private university in one of the deepest football talent pools in the country. Schnellenberger and all subsequent coaches embraced the pro style, and Miami over the last 30 years became an NFL factory
. The coaches recruited the best talent they could find regardless of attitude
or academic interests. Class
and civility were looked upon with disdain and as a hindrance to success. Unlike Notre Dame, which continually claims the virtues of student athletes all the while cashing huge checks
from NBC, the U said this is a business and we want to best business money can buy. They wanted players and players were what they got. Year after year the best of the best came through the U on their way to NFL glory. The U has a chip on its shoulder because its program didn't get any respect from the Notre Dames of the world when they came onto the scene in the 80s. They were demonized as convicts and thugs. The U embraced it and kept winning. Notre Dame kept falling behind the college football curve.
Notre Dame's human hurdle defense.
The B needs a lot more of the U in it. We can't be Notre Dame and we don't really want to be anyway. Do you really want to be the old guy talking about how great it was back in the day or do you want to be the here-and-now guy--the person making things happen today? I propose that Baylor recruit anyone who can play, no matter what baggage they have. A felon? Sure, if he can throw the long ball. An idiot? You bet, if he knows when to blitz. Bring them all in. We can still be the U of the state of Texas. Football is football. Let's not confuse its goals with anything else. The academic side of the university may not always benefit the athletic side, and if necessary we really need take it easy with the whole school thing. I don't want my tailback staying up late studying if that going to affect him when he's playing the Agrics. I want him fresh and not worrying about some silly test. I want football players, not student athletes. In other sports, sure, let them go to class if they want to, but not football. It really is too much of a burden.
Jeremy Shockey's bifurcated penis often comes in handy on road trips.
Notre Dame's football team of politics, George W. Bush, is at the summit of his field today because of generations past and not his own efforts. W had a grandfather who was a U.S. Senator and a father who was president, and both of them were wealthy. Sure W took that name and money and became president, but without starting at the top there is nothing from his biography that would indicate he would be where he is today because of this own unique talents. Just like Dame, W is where he is today because of his position at birth. Not just anybody can wake up from a drunken stupor at 40 and decide, "What should I do now? I think I'll use the notoriety of my president father to launch a successful political career." That option isn't available to Baylor. The B needs to take its cue from the U, whose political rise can most closely be compared to Bill Clinton, a Southern Baptist from a dysfunctional southern family who through hard work, charisma, and tang made his way to the highest office in the land. The Notre Dames of the world aren't accepting new members, but the U is always looking for someone to party with.
President Bush at his most articulate.