(The state of Texas football is an ongoing process)
Remember the good old days at Baylor, back in 2013, 2014 and 2015 when the Bears won 32 games in three seasons?
The good old days when, if you were a Baylor football fan and saw Liberty and UTSA as the Bears first two opponents, you would automatically mark (in ink) a 2-0 start.
But those days of Coach Art Briles were tainted by a cast of bad characters, many who had no or little character in a program rocked with a series of sexual assaults and other crimes committed by members of the football program.
Fast forward to the 2017 football season. The program and the school have been swept clean, new coaches, new administrators, and new players, with former Temple coach Matt Rhule in charge.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The results thus far: two games by the Bears against Liberty and UTSA (UT--San Antonio) and an 0-2 record, the latest being Saturday's 17-10 loss to UTSA.
"We played with a lot more passion and energy on defense,'' said Rhule who had to deal with an even more stunning 48-45 loss to an FCS team in Liberty last week. ""We have a lot of work to do. We have to become a good football team. Before you think about winning, you have to play winning football.''
Baylor is not close to that.
The scandal of the past few years left the Bears' roster undermanned and inexperienced. Rhule, who came to Baylor after building a Temple program into an American Conference contender slot, had to use 14 freshmen in key roles against UTSA. He knows this will not be a quick fix.
"I didn't come here because I thought this was going to be an easy job,' said Rhule. ""I came here saying this is going to be epic. This is going to be a process,''
The process continues next week against a 2-0 Duke team which just spanked Northwestern.
Bounce backs are part of football, especially so in the great state of Texas, where football expectations are never small.
A week ago, Texas opened its season with an embarrassing 51-41 loss to Maryland in new coach Tom Herman's first game.
Texas A&M opened its season with an almost inexplicable 45-44 loss to UCLA in which the Aggies squandered a 44-10 third quarter lead.
This week: Texas 56, San Jose State 0
Texas A&M 24, Nicholls 14
Better, but not great.
Texas cleaned everything up in routing San Jose State, piling up 406 rushing yards on offense and not allowing San Jose State to even think about an upset the way it did for a quarter in its opening game against South Florida two weeks ago.
For Texas A&M, it still looks like a work in progress, although Nicholls, an FCS team from the Southland Conference, gave Georgia a scare last season.
The Colonials did the same thing against the Aggies on Saturday, coming back to tie the game at 14-14 in the fourth quarter, which caused a severe case of deja vu all over again for the Aggies.
""When they tied the game up, we could have easily said, "It's happening again,'' said Aggie wide receiver Christian Kirk. "But we were all in as a team and went out and finished.'
Said Aggie coach Kevin Sumlin, who heard from Aggie fans about the second biggest collapse in FBS history after the UCLA game, ""We were able to do something we didn't do last week, which was finish a game in the fourth quarter.''
Texas tidbits--Don't look now, but SMU and Texas, the two old SWC rivals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, are a combined 4-0, which is more surprising for SMU than TCU. TCU went to Arkansas and posted a solid 28-7 win over the Hogs, which had lost 31 of its last 34 meetings with Arkansas. The Frogs defense is downright nasty, allowing only a total of 332 yards in offense in its two wins over Jackson State and Arkansas...After postponing its opener because of the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey, Houston opened its season at Arizona on Saturday with a 19-16 win against the Wildcats. The game also marked the coaching debut of Houston coach (and former Texas QB) Major Applewhite, who replaced Herman.[/membership]