Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt said on a Monday radio show that Dave Aranda chose not move forward with the UH/Baylor game rather than shift the suspension of an offensive lineman to another game.
Klatt was in Waco last week preparing to call the game on Fox. Friday, Klatt and the rest of the Fox broadcast team were scheduled to meet with Baylor coach Dave Aranda for a regular pre-production meeting. But that noon meeting never happened. In a Monday morning hit on Outkick with Clay Travis, Klatt said that instead of getting Aranda, Mack Rhoades walked in at 12:30 to say the game would not be played.
As he told how the Fox crew found out about the cancellation, Klatt relayed a piece of information he subsequently learned about Aranda’s reasoning.
“Dave Aranda did something that I think is going to pay dividends for him long-run,” Klatt said. “(Baylor) fell under the Big 12 threshold by one in the offensive line group. You need seven (players available to play) and they didn’t apparently have that based on their numbers. He could have gotten to the threshold if they unsuspend one of their players and he was unwilling to do that.”
“And he said, ‘I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to unsuspend a player on my first game as I’m trying to build something here.'”
While Aranda is correct regarding the Big 12 thresholds, left unsaid is the next line in the Big 12 protocols.
Teams falling below any of these benchmarks, based on game week test results, could still elect to play as scheduled if so desired.
It should also be noted that as head coach, Aranda could have shifted the suspension to another game when Baylor had enough offensive linemen. He could have also had the suspended player in uniform but not allow him to play.
Klatt said that after he walked out of the Baylor football building, he talked to Dana Holgorsen.
“We walk outside and my phone rings. It’s Dana Holgorsen pissed. Absolutely pissed,” Klatt said. “He was like, ‘What’s happening? What are we doing? This is the fourth time, my kids are going to be crushed.'”
Holgorsen said in his Monday press conference that the team ‘buried’ the Baylor game at their Sunday practice. But in his conversation with Klatt on Friday, Dana was blunt about the possible effects of the Baylor decision.
“To his point, think about this, and he told us earlier in the week, he was like, ‘one of the reasons I accepted this game wasn’t just so that we could play.’ It was because he was teetering on potentially losing his team,” Klatt relayed.
“And Dana is basically like, ‘I had to have a game or I was going to lose them.'”