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Pop Quiz: SicEm staff offers opinions, answers about Baylor sports

May 19, 2020

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Welcome to Pop Quiz, a weekly test on Baylor sports taken by SicEm365 insiders. There are no wrong answers here, although some responses may leave you scratching your head. We may venture off topic at times, but hey … you may end up with a good burrito recommendation because of it.

The most maddening Baylor football loss of the past decade was ___

Paul Catalina: Texas over Baylor 23-17 in 2015. For so many reasons. But mostly because that Texas team was so much worse than Baylor, and the only way they could win was that there were no quarterbacks healthy in green and gold.

Grayson Grundhoefer: The 2014 West Virginia game by a mile. I watched Baylor beat the exact same team by a million points (73-42) the year before at Floyd Casey stadium in 2013. Then they played this game in Morgantown. Baylor had over 200 yards of penalties, let Clint Trickett beat them and they acted like they had never seen Kevin White play before. The 41-27 cost Baylor a playoff berth during a year they could have won it all.

Ashley Hodge: The 28-21 double OT loss to TCU in the icy-rain fiasco in Fort Worth in 2015.  We were the better team.  We were running the ball with some effectiveness despite the miserable conditions: a steady 33-degree rain. Baylor running backs averaged 4.6 yards per snap on the ground. We would find out later that year that passing was not something we needed to do to win (second half vs Texas; bowl game vs North Carolina).  But we stubbornly insisted on trying to throw the ball with Chris Johnson as the quarterback. He coughed it up a couple of times and also threw an interception. And he also averaged a whopping 2.58 yards per passing attempt. Not all his fault, the conditions were horrible for throwing the ball. I thought Kendal Briles called a bad game offensively. We would have won that game had we just decided to run the ball every play, in my opinion. Sitting through that game was miserable.  I think even the most diehard Baylor fan just wanted it over by the time overtime came around. 

Jason King: It certainly wasn’ t as impactful as the games listed by my colleagues, but I’m still ticked about Baylor’s 23-17 loss at Texas in 2018. It was one of those games where I truly felt Baylor got robbed of a victory. Trailing 16-10, Baylor made what appeared to be a huge play with about 4 minutes left before halftime when Jameson Houston intercepted Shane Buechele in the end zone. But officials inexplicably ruled that Houston didn’t have control of the ball—he clearly did—so there was no turnover. Texas scored a touchdown a few plays later, and that TD, which should’ve never occurred, proved to be the difference in the game. It was one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen at the Division One level.

David Smoak: What a great question. TCU in the rain storm in 2015 after blowing a 14-0 lead, the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State ... but in my mind it’s no doubt the backbreaking and inexcusable 35-34 loss at Texas in 2016. That opened up the floodgates of emotions and broke the camel’s back so to speak. They had Texas dead to rights all day. But then came Hasty’s fumble, and then Seth was tripped up on what would’ve been a game-sealing touchdown. The loss started a six-game losing streak and the entire program lost focus until the bowl game victory against Boise State.

The Baylor recruit I was most excited about but never panned out was ___

Paul Catalina: Robbie Rhodes

Grayson Grundhoefer: BJ Thompson is the easy answer for me. I saw the NFL athleticism mixed with vast improvement from year one to year two. He was about to blow up over his final two seasons at Baylor while also putting on some good weight. Imagine Thompson playing JACK for Coach Aranda at 240+ pounds. Scary sight.

Ashley Hodge: I have to go old school here.  I remember going to Waco High football games with my roommates (Kaikos and the two Erics). Louis Fite was an electric running back for Waco High.  He reminded me of Barry Sanders. He gained over 2,500 yards for Waco High his senior year, I believe, and was a threat to take every kickoff to the house. He was a Parade All-American and in an era where running backs were everything, the boys of 19B (our apartment number) couldn’t have been more excited about the devastation he would wreak on opposing defenses. But Louis never made it to Baylor because of academics. I later chose Louis Fite as my screen name on to honor what should have been. 

Jason King: Odell James seems like a good answer here, but I’ll go with running back Ben Gay, who would’ve set all sorts of Baylor rushing records if he would’ve ever screwed his head on straight. Gay’s attitude and discipline issues were so bad that he couldn’t even keep a spot on his junior college squad—and he still made it to the NFL.

David Smoak:  I wasn’t sure if this should be someone who actually arrived on campus or someone who signed, but never stepped on campus. If it’s the first, it has to be wide receiver Robbie Rhodes. When we asked Art Briles on signing day about how quickly Rhodes would contribute, he said, “as soon as he parks his car on campus.” Well, he showed flashes of brilliance, but short-lived and such a waste of talent. If it’s a player who never arrived on campus, to me, it’s Kam Martin, one of my favorite players to interview and now closing out his career at Auburn. He’s been okay at Auburn, but I think he would’ve been fabulous in the previous Baylor offense under Briles. He was the ring-leader of the Class of 2016 that was raided after Pepper-Hamilton.

If the Big 12 needed to add two teams, my vote would be for ___

Paul Catalina: Arizona and Arizona St. I think they would be nice fits.

Grayson Grundhoefer: Clemson and LSU. Haha, kidding. Realistically, I think poaching Arizona and Arizona State would do wonders for the Big 12 while also adding a unique recruiting pipeline. Arizona has produced some studs in recent years, so I think that would be a nice benefit, plus both have been solid on the field. These two would fit in well.

Ashley Hodge: I’ll offer up three and then subtract one.  I vote for adding the triple-A’s: Arkansas, Arizona and Arizona State. And then subtracting West Virginia. West Virginia is a terrible geographical fit for all parties. They belong on the East Coast. Arkansas would benefit with a return to its more natural geographical rivalries. Arizona and Arizona State would weaken the Pac-12 which would be great. There would be a lot of fun rivalries that would develop from the new allegiance.  I have nothing against West Virginia, but that addition never made sense.  Round peg in a square hole. 

Jason King: I’ll go with Cincinnati and Memphis. There are good recruits in those areas who aren’t soft like many of the ones you’ll find in Arizona. But more importantly, adding those schools would give me a chance to visit Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken (Memphis) and Wild Mike’s Wings (Cincinnati) more often.

David Smoak: Arizona and Arizona State. It’s a pro sports market, but still … go get a slice of that Phoenix TV market. Plus it’s beautiful weather and not a tough flight at all from any of the major cities in Texas.  

The basketball player that improved the most during his time at Baylor was ___ 

Paul Catalina: No one would have been excited about him as a recruit and he was the 12th pick in the draft.

Grayson Grundhoefer: This one is actually very easy for me even though it may not be everyone’s most obvious answer. Taurean Prince is the guy. I played against him in high school and he was a superstar. But his athleticism, ball handling and motor weren’t strong points, which made him an unknown commodity at the Power Five level. He swapped his commitment from LIU-Brooklyn to Baylor late when he got the offer. His first two seasons were very forgettable but his junior and senior seasons made him a Baylor legend. His confidence, aggressiveness, defense and ball handling all improved drastically during his time at Baylor.

Ashley Hodge: This was a toss up for me between Johnathan Motley and Taurean Prince. I’ll go with Motley. Motley was talented coming to Baylor but I don’t think anyone ever expected him to be the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year in college basketball.  There were times during his junior year when he completely dominated a talented opponent. The one that comes to mind is his 30 points and 20 rebounds against Texas’ talented frosh Jarrett Allen (first-round pick). I’d have loved to see what a healthy Motley would have done against South Carolina. His injury completely changed the trajectory of that game. Also, if he had stayed for his senior year, I bet that 2018 NIT team would have not only made the NCAA tourney with ease, but probably would have been an Elite Eight type squad. His absence changed the prospects for that team dramatically. 

Jason King: Without a doubt it’s Freddie Gillespie, whose story from Division III also-ran to All-Big 12 center is one of the best you’ll ever encounter in college basketball. Gillespie was almost unplayable at the beginning of junior year. But a month or so later, after Tristan Clark was injured, he transformed into an absolute stud on both ends of the court. Gillespie was a huge reason for Baylor’s second-half surge that season, and then he helped key the Bears 23-game winning streak in 2020. His locker-room leadership was big, too. Here’s hoping Gillespie gets a shot at the next level.

David Smoak: I wasn’t here when he started his career at Baylor, so I’m only going by what I’ve been told by coaches and others who covered Baylor when Quincy Acy arrived. But, I’ve heard it’s remarkable, so I’ll stick with Acy.

The CD I love listening to from start to finish during long car rides or workouts is ___

Paul Catalina: Who listens to CDs anymore? It’s 2020. But if I had to pick one: Foo Fighters “Wasting Light”

Grayson Grundhoefer: I have a tie between “Take Care” by Drake and “Montevallo” by Sam Hunt. I absolutely love both of these albums and could listen to them all day everyday.

Ashley Hodge: What are these CDs you speak of?  This sounds like a conversation with my wife, who still hasn’t fully embraced the digital/Bluetooth age. My road music must include a steady dose of Van Morrison, the Eagles, Bob Seger, Amos Lee and Tom Petty.  If I had to choose one, I think I would go Van Morrison.  I love the genius of “There Will Be Days Like This”

Jason King: My college roommate and best friend, Brandon, is the son of country singer Sammy Kershaw—don’t act like you don’t love “Queen of My Double-Wide Trailer”—so I’ll give the politically-correct answer and go with his Greatest Hits CD. But I’m also a fan of old-school rap, and DOC’s “No One Can Do It Better” is an all-time favorite along with Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic.” I’m seriously going to be bumpin’ the same stuff I listened to in high school when I’m 75 years old.

David Smoak: If it’s an actual full album, and for driving, it’s most any of the original Elton John albums, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” or “Madman Across the Water.” But, believe it or not, even at my age for workouts, it’s Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” or “Not Afraid.” I don’t know 90 percent of the words, but it’s rhythm and beat makes for powerful music background when I’m having a run or a tough workout, when I need to dig deep.  

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Pop Quiz: SicEm staff offers opinions, answers about Baylor sports

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