Damn, have things changed in Waco since I was there last. On that rainy, November day my girlfriend Derielle and I watched Joe Mixon, Samaj Perine and Baker Mayfield in a gutsy dogfight against the then dominant Baylor Bears, who seemingly were in the top 5 all season. One of Derielle’s friends, being 100% serious and 100% polite, told me he thought if OU did well, they would only lose 42-14.
Now, Baylor is 0-3 and is losing to the likes of UTSA.
Oklahoma and Baylor met on a crossroads that evening in Waco. For OU, the win was a springboard for the miraculous three game stretch that catapulted the Sooners to an unlikely College Football Playoff bid. For Baylor? It began a meltdown of colossal proportions, with this season being rock bottom.
Who are the Bears?
Baylor is a program trying to pick up the pieces after one of the worst strings of scandals in college football history. Hiring Matt Rhule this season to replace Art Briles was a step in the right direction to help build a good long term culture, but on the field it’s clear that Baylor football isn’t near what it was in the earlier half of this decade. They rebounded a little bit last week at Duke, playing the Blue Devils closer than I thought (Duke still covered), but I seriously doubt Baylor will be able to perform well in this league.
Last Time We Met: November 12th, 2016 in Norman. OU 45, Baylor 24
Oklahoma made easy work of the Bears last season, winning by three touchdowns. The rushing tandem of Perine and Mixon shredded the Bears for over 100 yards a piece and a combined 3 touchdowns. Mayfield and Dede Westbrook also went off, with each scoring a pair of touchdowns, including a rare rushing touchdown from Mayfield. Even before star Baylor QB Seth Russell went down with a gruesome leg injury, the Bears were simply outmatched.
Pretty much the polar opposite of last trip’s stadium, McLane Stadium is a shiny, 4 year old stadium that seats slightly over 40,000. With this stadium sitting on the Brazos River, many Baylor fans participate in “Sailgating” but unless you have a boat and/or a boat slip near Waco, this probably isn’t going to be an option for you.
Here’s Baylor’s visiting allotment seating. The sections are 131, 314-217 and 329. In 2015, I sat in 131, and it seemed to me that a lot of students ended up there. Even if you get nosebleeds, the stadium is small enough that it feels more like sitting in the lower level at Owen Field. With Baylor’s decline, the OU-Baylor territory split will probably look more like this though:
If you are buying resale tickets and trying to sit with a friend, make sure you know whether or not they have Berm GA seating or not (The Berm is the grey area on the map). Berm ticket holders cannot enter the general part of the stadium, nor can regular ticket holders access the Berm. Be wary of where you are buying, as berm tickets are significantly cheaper than general stadium seats.
The bag policy is actually looser than OU’s, 6x12x6 and under are allowed. So no need to worry on this one, ladies.
OU got a great 5:30 kick, so there’s plenty of time to drive up Saturday and do everything you’d want to do in Waco.
For lunch, I’d recommend Vitek’s Barbecue, a local staple for over a century. I recommend the Gut Pack, a mixture of brisket, cheese, sausage, fritos, beans and pretty much everything good. Trust me, the smaller one is enough.
As you’d expect from a small Baptist college in Waco, there isn’t much of a pregame bar scene at Baylor. According to my intel, most of the good bars are in downtown Waco so it would be a bit of a haul going back and forth between there and campus. For pregame drinking, I recommend the George O’s tailgate across the street from McLane Stadium. As I remember, it’s a solid place to meet up with friends and drink a few Shiners before entering the game. It’s under a massive tent, so it’s near impossible to miss.
Yeah, don’t expect to find anything in any official lots. My recommendation is to find somewhere unmarked as a tow away area and walk or Uber over.
(This post will be updated as more information comes available.)