Many sports aficionados may be completely unaware that the Brazos Valley in Central Texas – characterized by two towns, the Brazos River and some rolling hills – is threatening to dominate the offensive landscape of the college football world for years to come.
The two towns are College Station and Waco, and the two offensive dynamos are Texas A&M and Baylor.
Yes, The Valley is the lone geographical spot in the entire country containing two of the top three offensive powerhouses in the nation.
One would expect to find a tremendous amount of civic pride between the two programs, as together they dominate the attention of so many offensive enthusiasts around the USA. However, one would be mistaken! Instead of celebrating the amazing accomplishments they’ve each achieved against the outside world, the Aggies and Bears (or Bears and Aggies – there is a difference!) nonchalantly turn their heads from one another’s success. They find observing pride in the faces of people from the “other” side of the valley to be rather distasteful.
FYI: Baylor and A&M are only ninety miles apart down a straight highway; a couple of speed traps are all that separate the two towns. Yet, they do not play each other in any sport because of the bitter divorce proceedings that occurred when the Aggies departed the Big XII for the greener pastures of the Southeastern Conference.
(By the way, not too long ago the Aggies despised the Arkansas Razorbacks for their decision to leave the SWC and bolt to the SEC…..likely no one questions their wise decision, now.)
Now, let’s get back to the A&M and Baylor offenses. In 2012, the top yard-gainers in the country were the quarterbacks for the Aggies and the Bears. The race was so close the winner was not decided until both teams had played their bowl games.
But what about Oregon and its prolific quarterback, Marcus Mariota? Most likely, when Oregon plays an opponent who does more than just line up defensively, we will see another Aggie/Baylor quarterback duo back at the top this season – perhaps with this year’s finish reversed. Keep in mind, Baylor has achieved back-to-back seasons of offensive excellence with two different quarterbacks at the helm, and this is truly remarkable.
It is also important to note that Baylor and A&M are the same two schools who happen to own the previous two Heisman Trophies—and both are working on a third. Both have been ranked in the top five teams, nationally. Baylor still has an outside shot at a national championship, while A&M will likely get 11 wins and do some major spoiling in the SEC.
Baylor did not play much defense last year, but is in the top 10 this season. A&M hasn’t played much defense this year, but with a solid incoming group of recruits could be in the top 10 next season.
One has to admit, the Brazos Valley’s got it going on!
PROOF IN THE VALLEY
However, even with all this success in such close proximity, the residents of the Brazos Valley will continue to sit with their backs to one another in restaurants and talk about each other under their breaths. The attitudes are rather comical. The two are truly, statistically the best at what they do, but they cannot stand any mention of the other’s name.
(Incidentally, the Aggies were the 2011 National Champions in Women’s Basketball, while the Baylor Bears were the 2012 National Champions. There’s no love lost between those programs, either!)
The Bears and Aggies are definitely on an upward swing, with great athletes flocking to each. Both of these fan bases, administrations and student bodies are living a little differently now; they have a little more strut and a little more swag to their game. Their public personas have certainly flourished and all indications point to their utmost potentials being met.
At this very moment, Baylor is making its ascension up the polls, just as Notre Dame did last season. There may be something fashionable going on here. A private Christian school has not won a championship in 25 years (Notre Dame, 1988), but two years in row we have had one challenging.
In fact, only one private Christian school besides Notre Dame has EVER won a championship in the history of the game (BYU in 1984). You truly have to hand it to these schools for having the audacity to keep challenging after all these years!
Yes, just imagine what it will be like when the Aggies and Bears join forces in The Valley. In true team fashion, the Bears can hold off the west side, while the Aggies protect the east side. Then they will all party when it’s over.
Yeah, like hell.