Is Baylor-TCU the Big 12â€™s newest heated rivalry?
Texas and Texas A&M’s rivalry is dead, or at least very, very dormant. The same is true of Missouri and Kansas.
Realignment sapped more than a little intrigue from the Big 12’s annual schedule.
If intrigue is what you seek, you’ve got a generous helping on Saturday.
Rivalry isn’t a hokey trophy. It’s not just a game with a name.
It’s getting an extra spoonful of satisfaction after a win, and spending days outside of game week dreaming of beating each other.
Gary Patterson’s five-minute rant in the wake of a 41-38 loss to Baylor on Saturday did many things. Its longest-lasting effect may be giving the Big 12 another heated, much-needed rivalry.
Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon was ejected from the game in the third quarter after being flagged for targeting TCU receiver/quarterback Trevone Boykin, and Patterson took offense to Dixon being allowed to stay on the sidelines briefly. Once he left, Patterson took issue with Dixon laughing and blowing kisses to the TCU crowd while Boykin was being examined for a head injury.
“You can go correct your player because nobody said anything to him. I watched. I had to get the official to go get him because they let him stand on the sideline. If I didn’t say anything, they would have let him stand there the whole time. That wasn’t cool,” Patterson told reporters on Saturday. “If that’s what class is, I don’t want to be it.”
Briles didn’t offer much of a response on Monday, saying he wasn’t sure exactly what Patterson had said, but noted that some chatter had spread around the office on Sunday and Monday.
“I learned a long time ago you can’t really control what other people say about you or think about you. All you can do is do what you think is right for your situation, and that’s what we’ve always done here at Baylor,” Briles said on Monday. “Growing up in West Texas, I was always taught if you can’t say something good about somebody, don’t say anything at all.”
And with that, TCU circled Baylor on next year’s schedule and the Bears did the same.
Oklahoma and Texas, with Bob Stoops and Mack Brown at the helm boast the two coaches with the longest consecutive tenures in the Big 12. They’ve never had a public issue. Outside of a few shots about shared titles, Stoops and his in-state rival Mike Gundy have maintained a cordial relationship.
It seems Saturday shattered that.
TCU had a history with the Bears as a former Southwest Conference rival, but it had yet to reach the same level of heat in the Big 12. Previous tension over being cast aside as a leftover while Baylor earned a Big 12 bid combined with recent history and Saturday’s game means the Big 12 has a red-hot rivalry on its hands. Back in 2010, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III called TCU’s 45-10 rout a “fluke,” as if the Frogs had been credited 36 points for returning a field goal 109 yards for a touchdown on the final play. Patterson complained on Saturday that after TCU knocked off Baylor last season, he didn’t hear enough nice things said about his team.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall returned the favor and stoked the rivalry fire with an incendiary quote of his own that got swallowed up by Patterson’s comments.
“They weren’t a better team than us. Hands down, we kicked their ass on the field,” he told reporters. “There’s no doubt.”
The two already went head-to-head for recruits periodically, and that frequency will only grow as TCU’s time in the Big 12 continues and both programs try to claw their way to status as one of the league’s powers. Patterson eluded to the recruiting trail near the end of his diatribe against Briles as well.
“I didn’t build this program to back down to anybody, and I’m not going to do it to him,” Patterson said. “Not in recruiting or in anything we do.”
Both Patterson and Briles appear entrenched in their current jobs, continuing to build programs that will open new stadiums two years apart when the Bears christen Baylor Stadium next fall.
Briles didn’t engage much in this particular war of words, but his team’s win on Saturday evened the all-time record between the two programs at 51-51-7.
It doesn’t get much more perfect than that.
Briles players will surely defend the idea that his program, as Patterson alleged, lacks “class,” a word devoid of concrete meaning in sports. They’ll remember this next year. TCU will remember Dixon’s hit and his gesturing during his delayed exit off the field.
Add it up and you get a brand-new entry among the Big 12’s most heated rivalries.