Baylor-TCU is unfolding as a college football rivalry in its truest form, right before our very eyes. Never mind the two programs have shared a conference for just the last three seasons, and have factored into the national landscape for only slightly longer.
What’s happening in Texas Little Bill meeting William Munny; Roddy Piper (RIP) cracking “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka over the head; or, dare I say, Oklahoma and Texas meeting on the Dallas Fairgrounds for the first time exactly 100 years ago.
Baylor-TCU’s development from luke-warm reunion of former Southwest Conference also-rans into full-fledged rivalry picked up speed in the last four years, starting in 2011’s opening week.
Under Waco’s Friday night lights, the Heisman Trophy campaign of quarterback Robert Griffin III began in earnest.
His five touchdowns laid the foundation for the House RG3 Built: Baylor’s new home, McLane Stadium. And inside McLane Stadium’s just-christened walls, Baylor-TCU outdid that wild, 50-48 finish of 2011 when the Horned Frogs nearly completed a 25-point, fourth-quarter rally.
The Bears rallied with 21 straight in the final period to complete a 61-58 win — a final score which brings us to my whole point in this exercise.
Baylor’s three-point win last October was its second in as many outings against TCU. The 2013 encounter, which Baylor claimed, 41-38, saw Bears head coach Art Briles and the Frogs’ Gary Patterson exchange words, following the ejection of Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon.
“To come across the field to me … he’s picking on the wrong guy,” Patterson said. “You’re not going to come across to me. You can go correct your player, not me. If that’s what class is, then I don’t want to be it.”
Patterson also criticized Briles for not suspending Dixon earlier in the year, when the safety was arrested for misdemeanor assault.
Great games don’t make a rivalry on their own. There has to be tension — or, as T-Swift would call it, bad blood.
There’s bad blood, and it’s not clearing up anytime soon. At least, not as long as subtle reminders of Baylor’s victory linger. The great TCU website Frogs O’ War shared the below:
Don't look back in anger, I heard you say. pic.twitter.com/6CvfjyhioF
— Frogs O' War (@FrogsOWar) August 13, 2015
The Baylor-TCU animus festered throughout the 2014 season, reaching a boiling point when both went to the wire in contention for the College Football Playoff. Briles was glad to go scoreboard on his counterparts from Fort Worth when giving his postseason pitch to ESPN’s Holly Rowe.
This year’s encounter should again have Big 12 championship and College Football Playoff implications and — wouldn’t you know? — it falls on Rivalry Weekend.
Art Briles may have told ESPN.com’s senior writer Ivan Maisel that “the game’s OK without” rivalries, but I’ve got news for him: Baylor-TCU is as much a rivalry as any series within the current landscape of college football.
And it’s a beautiful thing.