Sunday, December 08, 2013

Beware (Celebrate) the Underdog

From the beginning, this year’s football season disappointed me. I simply could not find a team or player I wanted to root for. The good Baptist in me kept telling me to get on the Baylor bandwagon and they impressed me in the games I watched - but given Baylor’s history, caution dominated. The thrilling end to the Alabama/Auburn game Thanksgiving weekend gave me some hope that the conference championship games would redeem the season.

The season’s final weekend left me smiling.

Two things that can be said for underdogs is that they are still dogs and they have fight.

In the conferences that have a championship game, both teams competing are there for a reason. Some conferences have disparity between the divisions, but teams rise to the top because they have demonstrated the greatest skill over the season.  That does not go away when they face a team perceived to be stronger. Almost universally, the underdog proved they deserved to be in the game.

And dang my dominating caution. After the earlier Oklahoma / Oklahoma State game eliminated the possibility of a tie for conference champion, I watched what turned into the Big 12 championship game with some Longhorn faithful. Despite our alma mater falling in the game, we all agreed that Baylor deserved the win - and Baylor as a program deserved it after the decades of mediocrity at best.

The competitiveness of the games reenergized what was becoming a lagging interest in sports. The underdogs, several times victorious, returned the excitement to sport. If the projections for the bowl games hold true, then bowl season promises to be as competitive as this weekend. The beginning did not meet my expectations, but if it ends the way the last weeks have been, then I will be happy - thanks to the underdogs.
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