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Baylor Football Opens Following Summer Scare

Sept. 2, 2010

Baylor players, coaches, and fans all seem eager to write a new chapter in the program's history following a trying 12 month period that saw star quarterback Robert Griffin fall victim to a knee injury in the season's third game, leveling expectations that had the Bears returning to a bowl game. First, the news that many Bear fans have been hoping for: Griffin is back, and looking good, says the Voice of the Bears, John Morris.

It's Griffin's athletic ability that the Bears sorely missed last year, both in terms of ability to win games and attract fans. His health has the Baylor faithful once again thinking bowl game and putting last year behind them. But this 2010 season is also defined in part by the future, and a piece of the past still fresh in the minds of both Baylor administrators and community leaders.

That was Baylor president Ken Starr in June, when daily reports seemed to signal the death-knell of the Big 12 conference, a move that would have left Baylor exiled from other in-state rivals and probably searching for a home in a much smaller conference. Says Morris, the incident has an impact of everyone involved in "Baylor Nation" as it has come to be popularly called.

These football games are the first chance since the announcement that the Big 12 would hold together for fans and players to serve notice that Baylor deserves to be a part of any major conference realignment discussion. John Garrison is the associate athletic director in charge of marketing at Baylor. He believes the scare can be a positive for the program and its fans.Garrison says the department is seeing an increase in sales, particularly as the weekend's game approaches.

And that's good news, people say, for the broader community. There's little doubt amongst athletic types that there will be the threat of a conference realignment again. Baylor and the Big 12 dodged this bullet. But, says John Morris, some people are going to be watching how Baylor responds to the Great Scare of 2010. The Bears and their fans can plant the seeds now to prove they should be in the conversation the next time there's turmoil.

The Bears host Sam Houston State tomorrow night at Floyd Casey Stadium to kick off the season. Game time is 6 p.m. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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