My thoughts on Kansas State will be up a little later, but I had just too many thoughts on the Big 12, the College Football Playoff Poll and the Bears season to not put an extra 5-Things out into the World.
1. How great has the Big 12 schedule makers looked at the end of the year the last two years? Texas visiting Baylor to close out the 2013 season turned into a de facto Big 12 Championship, especially after Oklahoma State was upset by Oklahoma. This year, the same thing! Baylor hosts Kansas State with both teams having a chance to get a share of the Big 12 title. That is if TCU can beat Iowa State at home earlier in the day.
Speaking of schedules lets step a week into the future and look at a world where the Bears have beaten Kansas State, TCU has beaten Iowa State, and Ohio State has lost to Wisconsin. Those are the likely outcomes right now, according to the experts in Vegas at least. This would put the Bears and Horned Frogs next to each other in the polls and the committee’s eyes at 4th and 5th (assuming all three teams ahead of them win).
2. The Frogs have been ahead of Baylor in every single College Football Playoff Poll this year, even with the Bears head to head win. The claim by the committee has been that the resumes have just been to far apart for the head to head matchup to come into play. So, with the schedule done and all results in, what are the differences in the Bears and Horned Frogs resume? It comes down to three games for each:
Baylor – Wins over TCU and at Buffalo, Loss at West Virginia
Let us just say that West Virginia and Minnesota are both Top-30 teams, as they will both be right on the fringe of the CFP Top-25. Yes, I am making an assumption, but just go with me. The Frogs will have two Top-30 wins and a loss on the road to a Top-5 teams. The Bears will have a win over a Top-5 team, a win over a bad Buffalo team on the road that probably doesn’t matter and a loss on the road to a Top-30 team. Are those resumes close enough on paper to put head-to-head into play? Baylor fans will scream yes, while TCU fans will scream no.
3. My final thought on the wackiness of the College Football Playoff involves the Big 12 and Conference championships. Again, assuming that the Bears and Frogs win on Saturday, there will be a 2-way tie for the championship. The Big 12 has stated they will NOT present a champion to the committee. The committee has also stated that they would need to choose a champion. The question is, how will they choose it? The easiest and most logical way of course is head-to-head. That would make the Bears champions. Simple, easy and quite honestly, logical.
What if the committee decides to surprise no one and acts illogically? What if they have TCU higher in their polls before valuing the conference championship, and then decide TCU is the champion because they are higher? That would vault TCU up even higher in the polls, one would assume. My simple point is, we don’t know how the committee will decide the Big 12 champion. Heck, they might give it to both Baylor and TCU, thus hurting its overall value and leaving enough room for a lone champion of a lesser conference like Ohio State to get in. We don’t know.
4. The Ohio State game against Michigan was a closer game for the bulk of it. The Wolverines had a 7 point lead for almost the entire first half, until a very late TD by J.T. Barrett tied the game. The Buckeyes would extend their lead and get the win, but at a major cost. The aforementioned Barrett broke his ankle and his season is done. He has been tremendous the last 6-games for the Buckeyes and has set a Big-10 record for touchdowns in a season. Of course, Barrett was supposed to be the backup this year, to senior Braxton Miller. Now comes Cardale Jones, a player known more for his tweets than actual play on the field.
The big question for Baylor fans, at least before this Tuesday night, is how the College Football Committee will look at Ohio State knowing that their quarterback, and star of the team, is done for the year? Will they punish a team for an injury and move the Buckeyes down behind the Bears, or will they wait to see what happens when they play Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship? The Bears of course had an injury at quarterback as well, but Bryce Petty’s isn’t a season ending injury. Even if he misses the Kansas State game, he will be good to play in the playoffs. JT Barrett won’t, and that is something the committee will have to decide whether to factor in or not.
5. Finally, I want to take a moment to truly appreciate what the Bears have a chance to do this weekend. Forget the college football playoff for a minute (almost impossible for any Baylor fan right now), and just think about your Bears. They are a win away from being the 2-time back-to-back champion of the Big 12. The Oklahoma Sooners are the only back-to-back Big 12 champs in its short history. That is an incredible accomplishment for any program, but even more so for a team that came from where the Bears did just 8 years ago. This is a turnaround that Bill Snyder at Kansas State would be envious of. Credited with the greatest turnaround in college football history, Bill Snyder has never won back-to-back conference championships and in fact has only won 2 conference titles in 21 seasons in Manhattan. Briles has a chance to win two in just 7 seasons.