No. 5 Baylor getting out of rain in Big 12 pursuit
Nov. 25, 2014
No playing in the rain for No. 5 Baylor this week.
The Bears (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) get to go inside for their neutral-site game against Texas Tech at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium Saturday. They are coming off a waterlogged home victory over Oklahoma State.
"It's just a great environment. It really is and I think you play with a little more pep in your step, and the controlled environment really does make a difference," coach Art Briles said Monday. "Everything is pretty precise and if you have an accurate QB and you can throw and catch a little bit then it's conducive to that. It's clear and the vision is good."
While Briles said he would stand in the rain any day for a win, he certainly likes what the Bears have done playing at the NFL stadium about 100 miles from their Waco campus. The Bears have averaged 60 points a game while beating the Red Raiders (4-7, 2-6) each of the last three seasons.
After its 49-28 win on a rainy Saturday night along the banks of the Brazos River, defending Big 12 champ Baylor remained in a three-way tie with No. 6 TCU (9-1, 6-1) and No. 11 Kansas State (8-2, 6-1) for the conference lead. The Bears then finish the regular season by capping their first year at McLane Stadium on Dec. 6 against Kansas State.
"All of our focus and energy right now is on Texas Tech," Briles said. "There is no Saturday past this Saturday at Arlington."
This will be the fifth time Baylor and Texas Tech play in the NFL stadium. The Red Raiders are the "home" team this season.
The series had been played on campus sites from its inception in 1929 until 2009, the year the Cowboys' new stadium opened. There was one meeting at Cotton Bowl Stadium in nearby Dallas before moving back to Arlington.
"It's where the Cowboys play. It's always cool to play in that place because of what it brings and who plays there," Bears quarterback Bryce Petty said. "That's where we all want to be, playing on Sundays. You're playing on the same field they are, so you love the whole emotion and the setting."
Briles knows the neutral-site matchups have been good for Baylor, Texas Tech and all the fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"The only flip side is if we weren't doing that one year we would have five conference games at home as opposed to with this we are always going to be 4-4-1. The flip side is you've got five on the road on the other year, but you know every other year you're five at home," Briles said. "I do like it and I think it comes normally at a good time in our schedule."
Instead of being played around Thanksgiving next year, the Bears and Red Raiders will meet the first Saturday in October.
But that's next year, and it will still be nice and dry for their game.