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What Matt Rhule inherits at Baylor, and what he could accomplish

I've been in this business for five years -- which is not anywhere close to a long time, but isn't nothing, either. And in that time, I can think of only one introductory press conference that rivaled Baylor's introduction of Matt Rhule on Wednesday. (It was Mark Stoops's at Kentucky, for those curious.) With estimates of 2,000 people there, including the entire football team, a number of regents and university higher-ups, the band, national champion women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, this wasn't a press conference as much as a celebration. In fact, Baylor billed it as such. Put it on any other corner of campus and they'd have called it a revival.

After one of the darkest years in program history, Baylor is looking for something to celebrate. They believe they found that in Matt Rhule. "Baylor is a special place, and it deserves a special coach," AD Mack Rhoades said. "We prayed about it, helped us find that right coach. And we found him."

The outlook for Baylor is gloomy -- in the short-term.The top half of the 2016 recruiting class walked off the roster last summer. Stafford, Texas, athlete Jalen Pitre is the entire 2017 recruiting class at the moment. I reached out to a number of people in the recruiting industry to assess how much damage the campus-wide scandal registered with recruits and none of them could give me an answer because Baylor essentially stopped recruiting after the Art Briles ouster. (Go ask your nearest head coach his thoughts on taking six months off of recruiting and watch the color in his face change.)

Baylor realizes this, as the reported 7-year contract offered to Rhule indicates.

But the long-term future for Baylor football is extremely bright. The new stadium isn't going away. Neither are the other new facilities recently built or on the way. Baylor's location isn't changing, sitting smack dab between Houston, Austin and the DFW Metroplex. And beyond all that, the Briles era success opened people's minds to what can be achieved at Baylor -- the idea that it was possible to compete in the Big 12 and nationally in Waco.

All it takes is the right coach.

And, yeah, it'd be nice if Rhule wasn't coming in cold with Texas high school coaches and recruits. But that's an obstacle that can be overcome by the right person. With a school-record 20 wins in the past two seasons and a conference championship -- beating the new head coaches at Texas and Oregon to win it -- it's hard to argue Rhule isn't the right coach to clear that hurdle.

"Our high school coaches in this state want a man that's going to take care of their players when they hand them off to Baylor," Rhoades said. "That knows football. That's respectful. We found that man."

"I want the coaches and the players that we're going to go out and recruit, the coaches that we're going to visit with, to know that if you go to Baylor and you come to play for me that you're going to get loved and you're going to get developed each and every day," said Rhule. "That's hard. That's not easy. Coaches say that, but coaches don't always want to do that. That's all we did at Temple and that's all we're going to do at Baylor because that's our purpose."

There's no doubt Rhule has inherited -- pardon the entirely intentional pun here -- a fixer-upper in Waco. But if he can get it flipped, it's an undeniable fact that championships are there for the taking at Baylor.

"In uncertain times," Rhule said, "you take your two hands and you start to build."