Don’t Let Up (Even When You Think Can)

College Football is back!

The Baylor football team upset T.C.U. last night in a highly entertaining 50-48 win. This was a remarkable upset for multiple reasons:

  • T.C.U. won the Rose Bowl and 13 games last season.
  • T.C.U.  had won 25 straight regular season games.
  • T.C.U. had the best team defense in the N.C.A.A. for the past three seasons.
  • T.C.U. beat Baylor 45-10 last season.
  • Baylor had not beaten a ranked opponent since 2004.
  • Baylor had not beaten a top 15 team since I was there (1991).

Remarkably the Baylor Bears seemed unstoppable on offense and showed why Robert Griffin III should be seriously considered as a Hesiman candidate throwing for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns completing 21-of-27 passes. Unfortunately, they couldn’t seem to stop anyone on special teams, but even still they were ahead 47 to 23 at the end of the third quarter.

I was so excited I tweeted the following: “Is this the best #Baylor football game we’ve played since 1991 when we beat Colorado the national champion? TCU was the #1 defense last yr!” Just after that tweet, T.C.U. came back with 25 unanswered points. Baylor seemed to be falling apart! Everything was going wrong!

What happened? Had the Bears started realizing how unlikely this win would be? Had T.C.U. remembered how good they were?

One of the commentators explained: “The Bears have taken the foot off the gas pedal.” Use whatever cliche you’d like: they started playing to not lose rather than to win. The football players let up, and as a result, they almost lost.

When you start making progress in life or in an area where you’ve struggled in the past, do not let up. Never play to not lose. Keep playing to win! Keep doing what got you to where you were experiencing success (rather than to slip back into those old destructive habits). Winning is hard to do, especially when you get complacent.

In the end, Baylor won 50-48 after kicking a field goal with 1 minute remaining. The field goal came after they drove down the field as a result of aggressive play-calling and an urgency they had not shown since getting such a big lead. Now, this rivalry is tied at 50 wins for both teams and 7 ties.

Becoming a winner is challenging. Consistently winning is even harder.

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