5-Things: Championship games and Champions

Baylor celebrated 2 conference titles and a national title this weekend. But, a championship game that COULD be coming in football dominates the conversation.

1. Championships are all over the Baylor campus the last week. Women's golf ran away from the field in San Antonio on their way to a comfortable win on their way to their first Big 12 Championship. The Women's Tennis team also did their job, winning their 2nd straight Big 12 tournament championship and 8th overall after their 4-0 win over Texas. Finally Acrobatics and Tumbling won their first national championship as they defeated Oregon, who were going for their 5th straight national title. It was an incredible week for all Lady Bears, and one that hopefully will continue as the men's tennis team host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament as well as the finals matches.

2. In football news, the Bears announced a 2-game series with Utah in 2023 and 2024. While a long way out, this is a positive step for the Baylor program. The maligned non-conference scheduling tactics of Art Briles and company has been a running joke for a few years now from the media and rival schools. Honestly, it will only get worse as the Bears this year they play Rice, SMU and Lamar with pretty much the same schedule in 2016 with Northwestern State replacing Lamar as the designated FCS team. The next two years at least feature ACC member Duke on the schedule, but the bottom might be in 2019 with the schedule featuring Incarnate Word, Rice and UTSA.

Scheduling a team like Utah is a step in the right direction and one that was needed. With Duke the only other Power-5 team on the calendar between now and the end of time, the Bears had to adjust to their rivals. TCU is playing Arkansas, Ohio State, California, Colorado and Stanford in the coming years. Texas has Notre Dame, Maryland, LSU, Ohio State and Michigan. Oklahoma has Ohio State, UCLA, and Nebraska the next few years. Heck, even Texas Tech has Arizona State and Arizona coming up. Again, this was a step in the right direction, but hopefully the Bears continue down this path. Heck, at least we have something with Oregon coming up in basketball at least.

3. I have said it several times, and will probably say it many more times. I don't think you have to schedule a power-5 team to improve the non-conference schedule. Right now, the Bears are getting two lower conference teams and then compounding that with adding an FCS team as their final opponent. That to me is a mistake. I have no issue with having an FCS team on the calendar...as long as you have a Power-5 team (like Duke, Utah or maybe even Mississippi State) to offset it. If you are going to have 2 lower conference teams, like Rice or UTSA, then just add a third lower conference team to it and not make the schedule look awful with an FCS team added. It is a simple change, and one that I truly hope the Bears enact.

4. Finally, the College Football Playoff Committee met this past week, in a shorter than planned meeting. Everything went so well last year, that they couldn't find enough to talk or argue about for the time allotted. Of course, the Big 12 would probably disagree with the first year performance being exceptional. The only power conference to not have a school represented in the Playoffs, the Big 12 received the news that everyone knew about 90 seconds after the playoffs were announced: that the Big 12 had been hurt by their lack of a championship game, and having only 12 games instead of 13 for their title contenders.

In 2014-15, the Big 12 suffered because it did not have a Conference Title game. However, that was not the only reason why the Big 12 was left out. You have to give some credit to the dominant win Ohio State had over a highly rated Wisconsin team in their championship game. Add to that another close win for Florida State over Georgia Tech, and the worst case scenario was suddenly very much in play for the Big 12. You have to remember that the Big 12 was probably just as close to getting 2 teams in as they were to getting 0 in at that time. Just one loss by Florida State, out of the seemingly endless supply of close games, and a stumble by Ohio State in their championship game with their 3rd string quarterback leading the charge were very much on the table. Would the Big 12 be thinking about adding a championship game if either or even both of those things happened? I highly doubt it.

5. The simple fact is, it is silly to make the big decision to institute a Big 12 Title game after just 1 season of data. It would be just as silly for the Big 12 to say they will never have a title game again. The point is, you can't make a decision like this based on 1 data point, to bring in the 13 is better than 12 argument from the CFP committee. The Big 12's history with their title game has not been strong. When they had no, not once did the title game propel a team into the championship game. All it did was prove to be another landmine for a Top-ranked team to survive a much lower ranked team. We did not get the battle of the titans that most expected, and we usually see in the SEC at least. We got a power-house team from one division and then a sacrificial lamb looking to slay Goliath in the other.

So please Big 12, don't make a hasty decision to go to a championship game. It was just 1 year, and someone had to be left out...it just so happened to be the Big 12. With our luck, we get a title game in 2017 and knock out the one potential playoff candidate we have.

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