The Big 12 season is coming to an end, but many questions still arise. Baylor (10-1, 7-1 in Big 12) still has one more game left against a quality opponent in Kansas State (9-2, 7-1) at Mclane Stadium. While TCU (10-1, 7-1) wraps up their conference schedule at home with Big 12 bottom feeder Iowa State (2-9, 0-8). This is the last chance for any team in the NCAA to make any claims for one of those four coveted playoff spots. Style points and one last final impression could sway the playoff committee one way or another.
Before we look at the upcoming pivotal games for both teams, let’s look at last week’s results. TCU won in blowout fashion against a Texas team that was playing their last home game of the season … at least that’s what the final box score indicated. In reality, it was much closer than it seemed. Texas was still in the game going into the 4th quarter. That’s until the TCU offense finally woke up and put up 28 points in the final frame. On the other hand, Baylor had a heated battle against my alma mater Texas Tech up until the bitter end. The Bears pulled out the victory at Jerry’s World, which known to have more of a home field advantage for the Red Raiders when these two teams have met in Arlington. Tech failed to convert a game tying two-point conversion that could have sent the game into overtime. Since they weren’t going to be eligible for post season play, this was a de facto bowl game for Tech. For a prideful program this was the win that could have laid a foundation for the future, so they played fast and loose with really nothing to lose. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty was even knocked out of the game in the 3rd quarter with a mild concussion. The game was not, by any means, a walk in the park for the Bears.
This leads us to the upcoming playoff committee’s selection of the top four teams in the nation. While we know Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State are shoe in’s, the fourth spot is up for grabs after Mississippi State lost this past weekend. Many Big Ten supporters think Ohio State has a claim, but TCU and Baylor are right on the door step as well.
What if Baylor puts up an impressive win against Kansas State? What if TCU has another game like they did against Kansas and sleep walk their way to a victory? These are the potential tough questions the committee might have when deciding on their final four playoff teams.
The Big 12 is the only power five conference not to have a championship game. It’s mind boggling to think that the SEC, Pac-12, ACC, and the Big Ten all have conference championship games to determine a solidified winner. Not only does it not make sense football wise, it doesn’t add up in dollars and cents. Surely the Big 12 conference could accumulate more revenue if they had a national televised neutral site game at the end of the year. The fans don’t care about that though. They just care about the end results of their favorite teams. If both teams win out how can a Baylor fan be justified knowing their a brides maid and not a bride after winning the head to head meeting? Vice Versa, if TCU is left on the wrong side of the bubble how can fans be justified knowing they played a tougher non-conference schedule and arguably had more impressive wins? The conference needs to look into this sticky situation at the end of the year. Of course as of now, it would mean adding two teams to get to twelve (the required amount to hold a Conference Title game). But, the Big 12 should seriously look into an appeal to the NCAA, removing the rule, and allowing conferences with under 12 teams to host a Championship game.
There’s a great chance one Big 12 team will get into the inaugural College Football Playoff. It’s just a shame that if both teams take care of business this weekend, no matter who makes it, it will hardly be a definitive choice.