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November 20, 2008

Talking football in Texas

Red Raider Football is an integral part of Texas culture. So, when a big game is around the corner, it seems as if everyone around here is talking about it. And some of the talk can get pretty entertaining.

The big game this Saturday pits the undefeated and 2nd-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-1) taking on the 5th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (9-1) in Norman, Oklahoma.

The game has generated added interest in these parts because the 3rd-ranked Texas Longhorns (10-1), who lost to Tech a couple of weeks ago on a last second TD, could bolt back into the BCS Championship Game picture if the Sooners beat Tech.

And frankly, many Texans are pulling for Tech to beat the Sooners and remain in contention for the BCS Championship Game because Tech has never reached such heights before.

But that support doesn't immunize the Red Raiders from some good-natured razzing, such as the following OU message board comment about the above Tech promotional picture for the game:

"Why is Yosemite Sam attacking Guymon?"

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the college football spectrum, perennial cellar-dwelling Baylor's decisive win last Saturday over the Texas A&M Aggies has also generated a fair amount of conversation in Texas football circles this week.

As has been noted many times on this blog, the devotion of many Texas A&M University alumni to the A&M football program is an endearing part of Texas culture that has generated some rather awkward moments over the years.

The A&M fan base overwhelmingly considers losing to Baylor in football as another such awkward moment. To make matters worse, the A&M football program has fallen on such hard times over the past several years that, relative to the size of the football budget, the A&M program is currently among the poorest-performing in major college football.

So, with that backdrop, check out the following post that a Baylor fan posted on an Aggie message board earlier this week (the post was quickly taken down by the owners of the Aggie board; thank goodness for Google Cache). On the heels of Baylor's big win over the Aggies, the Baylor fan's post passes along some key tips to the Aggies from the "hit" book, How to Handle Being The Worst Team in the Big XII South:

I wanted to share some thoughts from the hit book "How to Handle Being The Worst Team in the Big XII South". This book, originally authored by fans of Baylor University, with foreword by Oklahoma State, has been a work in progress for 25 something years now.

Now that we have handed that prestigious torch off to your school, and it looks like it will stay that way for quite some time, you and your Aggie friends may want to really get into this material. Here are some highlights:

Chapter 1 - Bring up past records when discussing your program with friends. The best way to do this is to start from the present and go back through the past until you can find where you have more wins than "x" team. Inconsistencies in time frame does not matter - it can be 5 years for one team and 45 for another.

Chapter 3 - Find other parts of your athletic program that you can be proud of and meticulously learn and promote their accomplishments, no matter how embarrassing the sport. Baylor has done this recently with women's basketball, tennis, and most notably, track and field (Olympic gold medalist anyone?). Rumor has it that your men's club lacrosse team is pretty awesome. Just throwing that out there.

Chapter 5 - Find a couple of solid scapegoats and complain tirelessly about them. Your fan base has already advanced far in this area, with "Shermione" and "$Bill" taking the brunt of this effective relaxation technique.

Chapter 10 - Pick a team to hate and root for their failure. For Baylor fans, this has been you, and look how well it's worked! It's like The Secret - the power of positive thinking. It's very refreshing to change the channel from a frustrating loss and watch your sworn enemy fail. You may have to really dig deep here - you want a team that is average to pretty bad. You losing and them winning is a double whammy, so don't set your sites too high (UT/Tech). Arkansas is a good start, they're down this year.

Chapter 11 (THIS IS A BIG ONE) - Focus on moral victories. This chapter has a lot of content, so really pay attention to it. Within the umbrella of the moral victories chapter you'll find subsections such as: a) Don't pin your hopes on winning the game, pin your hopes on covering the spread. The spread is key, and beating the spread will bring you years and years of joy. b) Get excited about first downs. These may be harder to come by than you think, so really cherish them. c) Find remote stats that can highlight your improvement. Really dig into improvement. This should be a buzzword to use in the coming years.

Chapter 12 - Talk about the other redeeming qualities of your school. This is tricky, because it's actually really dorky to engage in academic smack talk, but, if done correctly, can deflect the focus of a conversation away from your school's crappy football program and onto other areas where the playing field is more level. Now, I'm tailor making this to A&M a little here, but I would recommend you focus on your strong engineering and business school reputation, and don't forget to bring up your various traditions! People never get tired of hearing about this.

Chapter 14** - Find another school to support on the side. This chapter is very controversial and was only added in later editions. I myself never went down this road, but several of my friends found a great deal of relaxation and comfort in finding a side school. While immediate family connections are the best (father graduated from Penn State or mom and dad met at Florida), it is also valid to dig deep into your family's history to find that great aunt that went to Alabama or that second cousin who got a masters at USC. The further away the school, the better. Claim that you have been watching them for years, especially as a little kid growing up. This helps ward off eye rolls and front-runner accusations from your friends. **Note: though highly successful, this chapter can be very dangerous, and is probably the only method that will incur hatred from fellow alumni and students. Use Chapter 14 at your own risk. Advanced students only. I'd say you'll be there en mass around 2013, although seeing how your fan base is bailing after 3 losing seasons out of the past 24, you may be there as early as 2010. Talk about advanced students!

That's it folks. I'll send you a copy for free - we're so excited to share this with a team not named Baylor. And you may read this and think: "Wow, Baylor is pathetic. This is really sad stuff." No, no! This is you! This WAS Baylor and now IS your school! I'm talking about what you and your fan base will be and have already started saying and doing.

I want to leave you with this. This can be your chance to practice, right now. Skim some of the material above, and go ahead and start using it on me. I would say the record route is the obvious way to go, but don't be afraid to be creative. Angry phrases like "F off" and total dismissal of my thread also work. Have fun, and I'll critique some of your responses as we go .  .   .

Football in Texas -- you gotta love it!

Posted by Tom at November 20, 2008 12:01 AM |


All I have to say Tom is Go Raiders, Guns Up and Beat OU!

Posted by: Dennis Bailey Author Profile Page at November 20, 2008 2:05 AM

I was at Baylor in the mid 90's. During one game with Fresno State, we were getting beat pretty bad. Sitting behind the Fresno team, we were exchanging jabs with various players. As that escalated and got more heated, one of the Baylor Line folks started a chant...."That's alright, That's OK, you're going to work for us some day!" See Chapter 12 above.

Posted by: Chris Author Profile Page at November 20, 2008 7:52 AM

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