Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades was not happy with the Bears’ upset loss to Texas State last Saturday.

And that is putting it nicely.

In a recent appearance on 365 Sports, Rhoades spoke at length about his reaction to Baylor’s surprising Week 1 setback and was pretty upfront about his feelings.

“Unacceptable was used in the press conference and I wouldn’t disagree with that one bit,” Rhoades said, before later adding, “There’s that old saying, that you hate losing more than you love winning. And that probably describes me.”

Disappointed though he may have been — and he described the Labor Day holiday weekend as being not “a lot of fun,” as a result of the Bears’ loss — Rhoades expressed belief that Baylor football can bounce back from the early season setback, even with a visit from No. 12 Utah looming this weekend.

“The other side of it is, if you’ve been doing this long enough — and I’ve been doing it for awhile — this isn’t the first difficult loss, in terms of expectations and all of that,” Rhoades said. “As you begin a season, you try and focus and we’ve been focused on how do you react (to the loss)? When something like that happens, you have to look at it straight in the eyes, right in the face, and deal with it head on.

“That is how my energy and Coach (Dave) Aranda’s energy is best utilized. How do you react? You have a chance to process. I’m okay with saying I was pretty dang angry after the game. But you are not going to make good decisions when you are emotional and angry. How do you get through that?

“And again (then you) make decisions that are constructive, positive and that are supportive to moving forward. That’s where we are.”

Rhoades also spoke to the need for Baylor to win games this season — the Bears went 6-7 in 2022 — for a multitude of reasons, including recruiting and monetary donations to the athletic department.

“Life is much better if we are having a winning football season,” Rhoades said. “Do we need to win? Yeah, absolutely. Saturday wasn’t a great start to this season, but it is one game and how do we react? Whether it is Saturday at 11 a.m. (against Utah) or the following weekend against Long Island or the following weekend against Texas. We still have the opportunity in front of us to have a great season. It is going to be about how we react. And that began Saturday right after we walked off the field.”

What happened with Utah State transfer Ajani Carter and Baylor?

Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) is upended by Utah State Aggies safety Ajani Carter (12) in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Rhoades also addressed the ongoing saga of the transfer of former Utah State cornerback Ajani Carter to Baylor.

Carter was expected to be a boost to the Bears’ secondary this season, but he announced on social media on Sunday that he wouldn’t be attending Baylor after all.

Carter didn’t go into specifics as to why not, and neither did Rhoades when asked about it, but the AD did reference the transfer admittance process and countable hours in order to receive a degree from Baylor.

“Without going too deep into that, we had some challenges with the transfer admittance process with Ajani,” Rhoades said. “This particular circumstance, there was some nuance to it.

“It (admittance of transfers) is stuff that we talk about. It is stuff that I’ve talked about. There are some tweaks, I believe, that we need to work on as an institution when we think about the whole new world of transfers, particularly because of the transfer portal, and the countable hours. You have to have a certain number of hours to be awarded an undergraduate degree from Baylor and those are all things that didn’t hit us by surprise. We are having conversations about it.”

Mack Rhoades on his relationship with Utah AD Mark Harlan

University of Utah President Taylor Randall, left, and athletic director Mark Harlan speak at a press conference regarding Utah’s move to the Big 12 Conference at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Rhoades was also asked about his relationship with Utah athletic director Mark Harlan, who was recently named to the College Football Playoff committee.

Rhoades and Harlan have known each other since they worked as athletic directors at the University of Houston and the University of South Florida, respectively, and Rhoades has nothing but respect for the Utah AD.

“Our relationship goes back years and years ago,” he said. “It is a true friendship. Obviously, we’ve stayed close and were close throughout the whole conference (realignment) discussions and conversation.

“I was on the phone earlier with him today, talking about football scheduling in the future — not necessarily Baylor and Utah, but more as it relates to the Big 12 Conference. He’s a good friend and I’ll look forward to seeing him on Saturday.”