The stands behind the south end zone of Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas, is famed, hallowed ground for college football, which is saying something because there's only been one game since 2004 that anyone got to sit there.
The area is known for being covered by an enormous tarp – the Floyd Casey Tarp.
Due to Baylor's general misfortunes over the last couple decades, there is never demand for the 3,500 seats it covers. Not when Robert Griffin III was starring for the Bears. Not even when powerhouse local opponents such as Texas or Oklahoma came to town through the years.
In 2006, a visit from Texas A&M caused the tarp to be taken off, but other than that, sellouts were never a real threat.
So the tarp – humble and lovable – took on a life of its own. It has its own social media parody accounts. It has inspired countless jokes, conspiracy theories (What's under there?) and even Halloween costumes.
Baylor has a guy named Art Briles coaching it now, is 7-0, ranked No. 6 in the BCS standings and plays what's being hailed as the biggest game in program history Thursday night against No. 10 Oklahoma.
And so Baylor is going "tarpless," allowing a few thousand extra fans to take in the big game. The tarp is gone, as it will be for the season finale against Texas, which will be the last game Baylor plays in Floyd Casey before moving to a modern, on-campus stadium a couple miles to the north.
Is this, as Briles has suggested, a sign of the growth of the program and something to celebrate?
Or is dumping the tarp on the eve of such a critical game just inviting bad karma to strike the program.
The tarp was there through the bad times. How can Baylor be so disloyal to it now? Doesn't it deserve to see the game too? Doesn't it count as a tradition? Isn't this just the kind of thing that snake-bit programs do?
Ian Fitzsimmons of 103.3 ESPN Radio in Dallas joins the Dan Wetzel Football Podcast to discuss this very sensitive issue and the gumption of the Bears that they don't need their old tarp anymore. The erudite debate of the issue includes Jimmy Hoffa and Monica Lewinski's dress, so you know this is good.
There's more talk about Baylor and the rise of the program, some comments on Barry Switzer saying Briles should go coach Texas (which still has a coach, of course) and what the Sooners should bring to the table.
This is the best Thursday night slate of games in college football memory, with No. 3 Oregon also taking on No. 5 Stanford. That game is discussed also.
Time is also spent on the big LSU-Alabama game Saturday, just how good is the Tide defense, and why/how Bama got away with a coach paying a player (HaHa Clinton-Dix) and essentially nothing happened.
Other topics broached include the legend of Maty Mauk and how he eluded police in Missouri on a scooter while carrying two women, Auburn's impressive season and how it can ruin everything for Alabama, the fight of Michigan State and plenty of other things, including just how inattentive of a husband is Ian Fitzimmons.
And RIP the Floyd Casey Tarp.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation