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What Does Baylor Football's Downfall Mean for Kansas?

Will the dismissal of Art Briles as Bears coach bring Baylor back down to the mediocre depths of the conference where, along with Kansas, they were once permanent fixtures?

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In the present reality, nothing immediately changes. The 'Hawks will most likely be mauled without remorse down in Waco this fall. But sooner rather than later will the Bears be joining the 'Hawks in the Big 12 cellar once again?

The pre-Briles Bears were the clear doormats of the old Big 12 South Division. Although, back when Kansas fielded a respectable gridiron product in Memorial Stadium (yes, children, there was such a time when post season bowling wasn't just a dream and the Kansas coach was wide enough to eclipse the autumn sun), the Bears were one of the few teams against which the Jayhawks could reliably rack up a conference win.

Following Mangino's exit from Lawrence and Briles' arrival in Waco, each respective program took off in starkly different trajectories. Since that point, the Bears and 'Hawks have faced each other six times on the field resulting in six Bears wins - and that's putting it gently. These contests haven't been wins so much as televised assaults in five of those six contests. In four of the six games the Bears posted 50+ on the Jayhawks. The last three years they've upped that total to 60 points. In Lawrence. In Waco. It hasn't mattered.

Briles had Baylor so close to the big time. 10+ wins in four of his last five seasons had his Bears flirting with National Title aspirations. While Baylor is in much better shape than when Briles took over in 2008, seven members of Baylor's 17th ranked recruiting class - highest in Bears' football history -€” are already rushing to the life boats on this sinking ship of  a program with more sure to follow their lead.

Briles has exposed himself as a chump, and former Baylor President Ken Starr has now firmly secured his place in U.S. history as one of the greatest ass-hats of the last 30 years. These two men have taken a fine, private, Baptist university and turned it into a national media pariah of Title IX lawsuits and hypocritical rhetoric.

Baylor's fall is reminiscent of another private, religious, Texas-located university falling while chasing the college football beast of title contention. In the 1980s the SMU Mustangs had title caliber teams. Instead of sexual assaults it was pay-for-play as Eric Dickerson, Craig James and the rest of the vaunted "Pony Express" were driving gold Trans Ams and cashing checks cut from boosters left and right. There was a great ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Pony Exce$$, about SMU getting close to a National Title only to have their football team relegated to an afterthought due to the transgressions that made those title dreams possible.

Now, comparing ignored sexual assaults with pay-for-play isn't exactly fair to SMU, but the motivation for both schools' actions came from a similar place. In Pony Exce$$, it talks about how hard it was for schools like SMU, Baylor, and TCU to try and keep pace with the big boys of the old Southwest Conference, which was the domain of the annoying football zealots (much like the SEC is these days). When you don't have the unending stream of blue chip recruits coming into your program like Texas and Texas A&M had at the time and places like Alabama and Ohio State have now, a lower-tier program will bend their moral compass in an effort to maintain relevance.

It's a cautionary tale for any program, but especially for programs on the outside looking in on the elite of college football - places like Kansas. When one of these programs heals itself enough to put its big boy pants back on they have a difficult task of keeping them hiked up while not pantsing themselves by selling out their own integrity.

Kansas doesn't have to worry about any of this in 2016 for sure, and maybe even the next two seasons. They are that bad. But if David Beaty is the guy to turn things around in Lawrence, it would be in his interest to continually remind himself - today, tomorrow, and every day after that - as to why Briles finds himself on his couch this season.

Success in college football comes at the expense of other's misfortunes. It's the nature of any game. If KU hopes to build any success in the conference, they unfortunately benefit from Baylor coming back to the pack because of this scandal. Baylor, a program that Kansas was clearly better than in 2009, has wiped the field with the 'Hawks, home or away for the past six years.

Sorry Baylor fans. Don't take it personally. Kansas football fans have suffered long enough that they can't help but be fine with their Jayhawks turning vulture in the coming seasons - perhaps even to feast on the Baylor football carcass reeling from its self-inflicted wounds.