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Baylor Baseball

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

December 5, 2022

Baylor Football knows its bowl destination, as Dave Aranda makes significant staff changes and the transfer portal opens. Meanwhile, Volleyball got the postseason started on the right note, and it was an eventful week for men's basketball. Here's a look at The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly from the week in Baylor Athletics. 

The Good 

Gonzaga Win 2.0 — MBB followed a crushing loss with an inspired win, edging #14 Gonzaga 64-63 in South Dakota. The finish wasn't pretty, but a win and beefed-up defensive showing are precisely what this team needed following their loss earlier in the week. They'll next tangle Tuesday with Tarleton before a lengthy break. 

Sweet 16 Volleyball — The No. 17 Bears opened NCAA Tournament play with a 3-0 home win over SFA, followed up with a five-set 3-2 win over Rice to earn a spot in the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth consecutive year. They'll next face regional semis host and 1-seed Louisville on Thursday afternoon. 

Bowl Season — Football made a bowl game, just barely, and while many have voiced their displeasure with the details — playing the Mountain West's Air Force at TCU's stadium primarily — it sure as heck beats failing to win six games and sitting at home with no extra practices. Especially when this program needs lots of work on-field to try and rebound from a disappointing 2022. Also, one way to stop the bleeding would be a season-ending win against a team you should beat and respect less than two hours from campus. In light of significant staff and roster changes already taking place — and more to come — I'd rather see the Bears staying active on-field and taking advantage of the extra reps rather than no football work until spring. As for the bowl details, it is what it is, and hopefully, this program and the fanbase can make the best of the situation. 7-6, and another bowl win is better than any alternatives. And, perhaps earning a win at Amon Carter — no matter how and against who — will break the streak of bad juju against the usual home team. At least one can hope. 

Wasting No Time — Dave Aranda didn't wait long after the team's loss to Texas to make some calculated decisions, parting ways with third-year DC Ron Roberts and first-year safeties coach and special teams coordinator Ronnie Wheat. The latter came as no surprise, following the Bears' clear step back in both areas of expertise. The Ron Roberts move was more of a stunner, although as lips loosen post-goodbyes, it's becoming evident change was needed from both perspectives. Still, seeing Aranda part ways with not one but two close allies is a great sign for a few reasons, although not a fun decision to make and execute. And it's nice to have more precise insight into why the 2022 team always felt a little off and never found its groove. 

Big 12 Football Honors — Great seeing Richard Reese earn Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, as voted on by the league's head coaches. Siaki' Apu' Ika earned first-team defensive honors, and Dillon Doyle, the ultra-rare All-Big 12 double-dip of second-team honors on both offense and defense. Jacob Gall and Connor Galvin earned second-team honors, too. Elsewhere, 15 others nabbed Honorable Mentions. 

Women's Hoops — The Bears battled past some injuries to earn a comfortable 79-35 win on Sunday over Houston Christian. The Bears will host UT Arlington on Wednesday night in their only action this week. 

Rooting Interests — TCU will continue to receive a colossal boon in exposure and attention thanks to their run into the College Football Playoff, but they won't be Big 12 Champions despite running the regular season table, thanks to K-State’s win in overtime. Granted, a win over Michigan into the National Championship game would be monumental and priceless beyond a conference title. Still, for now, from a Baylor perspective, it was good to see the Frogs' perfect streak come to a close and their goals fall just short of being accomplished in Arlington. 

Jack Mackenzie - SicEm365

The Bad

Coaching Changes — You hate to see jobs lost, but the Bears had to make some moves this off-season. Ron Roberts had a hand in a historic run, and I wish him well. Ronnie Wheat, we hardly knew ye. Firing people isn't fun, and Aranda's close ties to both meant incredibly tough decisions. Yeah, he gets paid well to make tough calls, but having to make such moves only a year removed from stellar success is the reason for this landing spot. You hope this works out as well as the Fedora/Wickline to Grimes/Mateos transition two years ago. 

Transfer Season — The transfer portal is fully open for business as you read this piece, and by now, things have probably already significantly changed from when initially written. The Bears saw QB Kyron Drones enter the portal last week, and safety Devin Neal followed suit. They join previous October declarations from WR Josh Fleeks and WR Seth Jones. The portal is a huge part of the sport now, and these guys won't be the last to become former Bears. Of course, the door's open for someone like Drones to return, but programs are so QB-hungry it's hard to imagine. On the bright side, the Bears will undoubtedly add some new faces of their own and can find more oomph and productivity out of their scholarships where needed. 

QB Depth — As for immediate impacts from transfer exits, the Drones loss leaves the Bears with only one scholarship QB for the Armed Forces Bowl in starter Blake Shapen, which is not ideal now or moving into the offseason. Drones would have received tons of reps during December practices, but no point in crying over spilled milk. They need to get through this game, get Novosad on campus and figure the rest out from there. And they'll need another QB outside of those two, all behind a new offensive line, no less. 


Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Ugly 

Armed Forces Bowl — I understand the disappointment, but given Baylor's 6-6 record and three-loss slide to close the season, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The Bears were skipped over by other bowls partially due to a severe lack of momentum but also size disadvantages compared to other Big 12 fanbases that are likelier to travel, fill visiting stadiums, and perhaps draw more TV eyeballs. At least, that's part of the decision-makers' logic. But, flawed or not, it's also what happens when you limp into the postseason the way the Bears did and leave the door wide open for others to direct your path. The program must take this opportunity seriously and take care of business. 

Marquette MBB Loss — Scott Drew and the Bears' blowout loss to Marquette was shocking in how it unfolded and subsequently ended on the scoreboard. Losses happen, but not humiliating destruction like that for elite programs like the Bears. Thankfully, the week didn’t end there. 

Discussion from...

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

3,050 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 9 mo ago by carlens.lal
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Well said. Nice to see both MBB & WBB doing well after some losses. Still optimistic about football. Hoping for the best.
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Nice to see both MBB & WBB doing well
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