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Former Heisman Winner Sees BYU-Baylor Potentially Becoming A Rivalry

Oct 15, 2021, 1:07 AM
Robert Griffin III...
WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Baylor Bears celebrates a 96 yard touchdown pass against the Oklahoma Sooners at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

WACO, TexasΒ – When BYU/Baylor square off on Saturday afternoon at McLane Stadium, former Bears legend Robert Griffin III will be on the call.

RGIII was the Heisman Trophy winner in 2011 during his senior year at Baylor if you need a refresher. He’s viewed by many as the greatest QB in the history of the Baylor program. If you don’t remember his accomplishments on the gridiron, you might remember he was the cover athlete for one of the last NCAA Football video games back in 2012.

After nearly a decade in the NFL, Griffin has hung up the cleats and now replaced it with a headset.

RGIII is now a college football analyst for ESPN. He will be in the booth for BYU-Baylor with play-by-play announcer Mark Jones. This Saturday will be the second time RGIII calls a Baylor game in his young broadcasting career, but it’s the first in Waco.

He’s putting allegiances aside to recognize the quality matchup BYU-Baylor could be this weekend. In fact, Griffin sees this showdown potentially becoming a rivalry with BYU moving into the Big 12 Conference starting in 2023.

Robert Griffin III sizes up BYU Football

“It’s hard to speculate on what they feel. I haven’t had a chance to talk to them yet,” Griffin III said in a media call with Baylor media when asked if BYU is thinking about going into the matchup to prove they belong in the Big 12. “But listening to their interviews, they are aware that this is an opportunity for them to come in and show the Big 12 what they are worth. I think they’re relishing that opportunity. They’re going to be joining the conference as early as 2023 and this is a game that could eventually become a rivalry game.”

The fact that BYU and Baylor are faith-based institutions creates an opportunity for a rivalry with that alone. BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university.

Then you add the element of the two current coaching staff’s having a ton of familiarity with one another. Kalani Sitake and Dave Aranda are good friends. Likewise, Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes knows BYU very well from his two previous stops in Provo. So the opportunity is there for BYU’s Big 12 rival to quickly become Baylor.

Don’t forget TCU either, as BYU once faced them in some heated games during the tail end of the Mountain West Conference era. And Gary Patterson is still roaming the sidelines for the Horned Frogs. But that’s another topic for another day.

But Griffin III likes this matchup between his alma mater and BYU. So he sized up what he sees from BYU’s offense heading into this matchup.

“They got four wide receivers; the Nacua brothers, (Neil) Pau’u, and then (Gunner) Romney. Who his brother is Baylor Romney, which is you know, his name is Baylor. Kind of interesting. He’s the backup QB. These four guys, any one of them could be a star in any given week. So I think when you watch them throw the ball, you can see glimpses of Jeff Grimes’ offense in what they do.”

Griffin added, “They have Allgeier, the running back. Not a home run hitter but a very solid running back. Powerful guy. That’s the way I look at them. If you look at their games closely, they’ve won close games. They lost this past week 26-17. But all of their games have been close and have been relatively low-scoring games for college. So it’s not like they’re going out and blowing people out like Baylor did last week.”

Nobody wants to see a rivalry forced on anyone, but if BYU-Baylor emerges as an annual tilt that everyone circles on the calendar, no one is going to complain. Saturday will be a chance to lay the groundwork for that potential rivalry series.

No. 19 BYU at Baylor

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (10 a.m. start of extended pregame coverage on 102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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