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It has been said that football is a game of inches. Two or three inches can mean the difference between a catch and a miss, or between a TD and a turnover on downs. In fact, at time the game is so precise that inches, centimeters, or a single step, changes the whole game. This is one of the reasons I love football. And this is one of the reason I have so much respect for game plans, tecnique, and play calling.
So, did Baylor suddenly grow a D over night? (no pun intended) Well, that is an easy answer; yes... and no.
Baylor has some quality defensive components. They have also been very lucky. They are so thin on D, that one injury, would bring the whole house of cards down. They are in fact, a replica of the TTU defense of 2011. Minus 23 season ending injuries. They have done well with what they have. But in the end, it is the inches which have made the difference.
Colin Klein is a beast. KSU, in my mind, is still the most sound team in the ncaa, next to Alabama, and perhaps Notre Dame. It is a tribute to Bill Snyder. Like my drill Sgt. used to say, It is attention to detail, discipline, and training which is the only thing which stands between you and certain death. This is Snyders philosophy, and it works. Especially in a game where inches matter.
So what I saw on saturday was this: I saw passes that were 3-4 inches too high, I saw runs which were 6 inches too short, and I saw blocks which were lost a split second too early. Was this the Baylor D in effect, or was it just the rough probabilities spun off through chaos theory? Probably, more of the latter. In fact, I guarantee it. Baylor did not win that game so much as it was that KSU lost it, by inches, multiple times. There are so many factors, from road fatigue, mental pressure, crowd noise, who knows; but KSU was a tad off. And they are so precise, that those mere inches, cost them the game.
Those of you who play pool can get down with this analogy. You have certain games where you just can't seem to miss. You may string this together for extended periods, and multiple wins. But some days, you are a fraction of an inch off. You bump the edge of the rail by the pocket and miss, you fail to put just the right spin on the masse', your angle is a mere fraction of an inch off and you lose. Does this mean your opponents is the number one guy? Does this mean, his skill has suddenly grown to monumental phenom proportions? No. It is a matter of inches, of timing, of touch.
In the Big 12, even the worst teams have the capability to knock off top teams. We have seen it again and again. (remember OU last year?) Remember ISU and OSU? So, now for the coup de grace: Can TTU beat Baylor?
The answer? Of course we can. And that ain't no sunshine pumpin'. It is a matter of who shows up, who is dialed in, and who is closer to perfection. It will be a matter of who can dial in those inches, so that either skill, or luck, favors them. We can and should win this game. So, the question you want ask is not, can we beat them, but will we beat them.
Behind inches, the next thing which determines outcomes in football? The greatest factor which induces or reduces the "perfection of inches"?- Mentality, specifically, the psychology of the players. Here is our advantage. We can handle a loss, but can Baylor handle a win? It is harder than it looks, believe me, we know the difficulty of carrying the expectations of a big win from one week to another. I would say, we are better equipped mentally, going into this week. Everyone is going to be watching Baylor, no one is going to be watching us. And as classic, and formidable seasonal underdogs, technically, we are right where we want to be.
So, until the next installment. GUNS UP!!! See you in Arlington. GO RED RAIDERS!!!
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