Greetings, Lion fans. The dog days of summer have certainly set in, and while not outrageously hot, there are still those long, lazy days filled with family outings, baseball, and other outdoor activities. For those of us football fans, each day that draws us closer to the Labor Day weekend can only mean one thing-finally, it’s football season.
And for you, fans and followers of the blue and gold, it has indeed been a long wait. Well over 500 days, due to the COVID pandemic. Finally, though, things seem to be returning to normal. Campus operations in Commerce are returning to a regular pattern, and the fall semester is almost here. One can taste the anticipation.
That anticipation is particularly high around David Bailiff and the football program. They were loaded in 2020. They were primed and ready for a deep, deep playoff run that could have very well ended up in McKinney ISD Stadium.
In the end, though, it wasn’t meant to be. Decisions far beyond University control, with all available evidence on hand determined that a full 2020 schedule just wasn’t feasible. Everyone in and around the Lion program, including Brian and I, were beyond heartbroken.
Those days now seem to be behind us, and there is a season to look forward to. Again, the Lions find themselves among the contenders for the Division 2 championship. That’s right. Not a conference championship, but a national championship. Bailiff, AD Tim McMurray, and the rest of the Lion athletic support staff have worked very hard to create an atmosphere, and a culture in which players have bought in, and want to be here.
“I realized I had the rest of my life to bowl. I have a very small window in which to play football.”Former Lion Quarterback Luis Perez
The words of the legendary Perez speak to that culture. Almost all of those players that were normally due to graduate and move beyond Commerce, instead have chosen to stay and make one last charge at making their own mark in the record books.
With the wealth of returning experience, a bountiful and talented recruiting haul, and an addition of some very good transfer players, the expectations are high. Our in depth analysis of the upcoming season reflects this. Here at The Wire, we expect the Lions to win, and win a lot. In fact, we expect an undefeated season. Does that mean we’re certain of such? No, not at all. There are many things that have to go right. In 2017, they did. There have been other seasons, particularly in 1980, and in the early 90’s, in which they did not. To quote the fictional coach Shoat Cooper in the great Dan Jenkins novel Semi Tough:
“That damned ball ain’t round. It’ll bounce funny on you.”Shoat Cooper, Semi Tough
Everything that Brian and I have analyzed concerning this season point to this. Given the fact that the Lions stay healthy, and players perform as expected, they will be very, very good. There is a great deal to look forward to. Here at The Wire, we can’t wait.
It’s long past TIME TO HUNT.