COLUMBIA – Ross Ramsour said he likes attending Baylor games to specifically watch people he knows from school.
"Because it's a small school, you're bound to know lots of the players, so I mean you're still coming out and supporting your friends," he said.
Ramsour had high hopes for Baylor football this season, but the Bears have struggled to pick up wins. Attendance has slipped at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, and only a small contingent of Baylor fans made the trip to Columbia for Saturday's game.
A 2009 Baylor graduate, he knows the football program is not accustomed to much recent success. The Bears have not made a bowl game since 1994.
Still, returning for this season was quarterback Robert Griffin, who brought Baylor some positive attention last year with his notable athleticism and impressive offensive statistics.
But when Griffin suffered a season-ending injury in September, Ramsour said much of the excitement was lost in Waco.
"We had the talent, it's just he hid a lot of the deficiencies on the team," he said. "He made our offense go."
Ramsour flew from Waco to Columbia for the Missouri game. He attended with his sister, Marly Ramsour, a Baylor graduate and now an MU graduate student living in Columbia. Both are from Joplin, so they met up with some Missouri fans from their hometown.
There weren't too many Baylor fans present Saturday for the Ramsour siblings to join, anyway. Waco is about a 12-hour drive from Columbia, and only small pockets of green were scattered around the visitor's section at the game. They were rewarded for their loyalty, though. Baylor beat Missouri 40-32 for its first Big 12 Conference win of the year.
Ross Ramsour said the hype around the team was highest early in the year after a season-opening win over Wake Forest.
"The support the first home games, specifically the first home game (was great)," he said. "Everyone was out there hours before the game, tailgating, excited." He called it "the buzz in Waco."
The attendance at that first Baylor home game, against Connecticut, was over 40,000 for the only time this season.
By November, the Bears had lost their momentum. Baylor brought a 3-5 record into the Missouri game, having lost their first four Big 12 games. In recent weeks, Ross Ramsour says, the fan support was still there but the extra excitement was gone.
"People are still supporting the team, but it's more, 'I'm just going to show up to the game,'" he said. "They're not going to show up six hours before the game to start tailgating."
Marly Ramsour said that kind of anticipation was not typical.
"That's how it's been at Baylor ever since I started in 2002," she said. "And I just left last year. The stands were never full. People leave at halftime."
This is despite the fact that Baylor students get free admission to all athletic events, including football games, she said.
Ross Ramsour hopes Baylor can continue rallying for some late-season wins, whether or not there are big crowds at the games.
"Everyone still wants us to do well, but it's almost like the hope is gone," he said. "Everyone was expecting and hoping for bowl game, maybe a couple upsets, be in every game competing. Now it's … against the good teams, keep it within 20 and we'll be OK."