After an impressive tirade across the college football landscape last night after Baylor’s win over Kansas State, two-time Big 12 Champion Coach Art Briles met with the media after learning the Bears will face Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Briles opened the press conference by making it clear that while the team was not selected to participate in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Baylor Bears are honored to be playing in the upcoming Cotton Bowl. “Me, being a Texas guy, growing up in the Southwestern Conference, that’s the only bowl that existed,” Briles said, who won the 1979 Cotton Bowl as a player. This is great to hear from him, as it will undoubtedly aid in firing up the team for the game, which the Fiesta Bowl last year clearly lacked. On top of that, the team will assuredly feel disrespected by not only the Committee, but by the Big 12, and will hopefully channel that frustration into defeating the Spartans.
The questions soon turned to the Playoff and while Briles lacked the fiery rhetoric of last night, he did make it clear that he is not happy with being left out of the top four. “If we’re here 12-0 we’re in the final four. That’s what we needed to do to be in there,” Briles began. “I guess winning 11 games and winning the conference two times in a row in what most people’s standard is the best in America wasn’t enough.” The final ESPN conference ranking saw the Big 12 atop all other conferences, so Briles is correct in his assessment that the Big 12 is commonly seen as the best conference in America. Which begs the question, how was the top conference in college football left out?
Many people thought it had something to do with Commissioner Bowlsby’s lack of direct action on behalf of the conference. In response to the controversy surrounding the Big 12’s “One True Champion” slogan and Commissioner Bowlsby’s lack of declaring an outright champion, Briles said, “I think being presented as co-champs clearly hurt both of us.” Coach Briles is not far off the mark here, as Bowlsby appeared earlier on the Selection Show and more or less said the same thing, before passing the blame off to him having “misspoke back in July” at Big 12 Media Day and the conference AD’s, who, he claims did not schedule tough enough non-conference opponents.
The best moment of the conference came, however, when Briles looked around the room and said, “We’re in a room that feels like we just lost a football game.” The mood of the reporters in the room was noticeably down, according to Briles, and he has no desire to undermine the accomplishment the Bears earned last night, leaving us with one of the best Brilesisms ever. “We won a big game, we’re Big 12 champions. Get happy or get your ass out.”