At 6 p.m. EST, Illinois and Baylor do battle in the Texas Bowl. Need to decide on a team to root for? Spencer Hall is here to help.
WELCOME TO WACO SOUTH: The purpose of the Rootability Index is to help you determine how you, the neutral fan, uninvested in either team on a personal level, should feel about the two teams in the Texas Bowl. For the Texas Bowl, you should root for Baylor, as there is quite literally no reason to pull for illinois here.
Baylor is appearing in its first bowl game since 1994. They remain a historical underdog known for taking brickbeatings at the hands of Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 South and for having a good med school. Going to a bowl game isn't in the plans for Baylor ever. At this time in most years, Baylor football players are enjoying marathon XBox sessions, icing their knees, and rearranging their class schedules to accommodate waking up late.
This year they will be playing a game in front of at least 60,000 people in Houston, most of whom will be Baylor Bears fans. Robert Griffin had a triumphant season in coming back fully from his ACL injury suffered in his freshman year, passing for over 3,000 yards and living up to his massive potential. As the most excited 7-5 team in the known universe, Baylor is the one team among many not just mouthing the lines "ohyeahwererealhappytobehere." Sure, we'll take the mechanical bull challenge; why of course we will enjoy the team bowling competition!
IT'S NOT THE ROSE BOWL BLAH BLAH. In contrast, Illinois players are coming off a season with losses to Fresno State and Minnesota, and just barely squeaked into the bowl at 6-6. Their players are impressed with Houston thus far, and say so in only the most glowing of terms:
"I didn't think it was going to be this civilized,'' McGee said. "It's Texas. I thought it was going to be a little more country.''
Disappointed by the lack of gunfights in the streets, Eddie McGee? Clearly, that can be had in the right neighborhood in Houston. Just ask the concierge and they'll be happy to oblige you. Illinois is a largely one dimensional team with a superb run game and a passing game that ranks 115th in the nation. Sometimes game strategy is easy, man.