A closer look at college football's rags-to-riches stories

Baylor's Art Briles isn't the first to engineer a big time turnaround in the Big 12. Berry Tramel takes a closer look at the conference's Cinderella stories.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 3, 2013

Baylor's current rise to national prominence is not the first by a program in the Big 12. Here are notable rags-to-riches stories:


School: Baylor.

Pinnacle: 1974 Southwest Conference championship.

Architect: Grant Teaff, in his third season.

Precursor: Baylor was 1-9 in 1973, had won just 12 games the previous seven years, had not had a winning season in a decade and hadn't won a SWC title since 1924.

Aftermath: The golden age of Baylor football. Teaff coached 21 years total, making another Cotton Bowl trip in 1980 and going 128-105-6.


School: Kansas State.

Pinnacle: 1998 national title run. Upset loss to Texas A&M in Big 12 title game kept Wildcats from championship game against Tennessee.

Architect: Bill Snyder, in his 10th KSU season.

Precursor: K-State was the acclaimed nation's worst program, with just two winning seasons between 1954 and Snyder's arrival in 1989., and only four winning seasons between 1936 and 1989. Snyder got KSU to nine wins by 1994; the ‘Cats were 37-9 in the four years before '98.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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