The Baylor Bears are Big 12 Conference Champions after a thrilling 21-16 win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
The Baylor Bears infamously missed the 2014 College Football Playoff after sharing a conference title with TCU, but got jumped by Ohio State in the final rankings. At that time, the Big 12 did not have a conference championship game, instead playing their final regular season game on Championship Saturday. That outcome resulted in the Big 12 bringing back the Conference Title game, starting with the 2017 season.
So now with Baylor sitting at 11-2, and a conference champion, could the Bears make the College Football Playoff?
Here’s what it would take for Baylor to have a chance to be the first two-loss team to make a playoff.
Houston Beats Cincinnati in AAC Championship
The No. 21 Houston Cougars need to upset No. 4 Cincinnati, as the Bearcats are done if they don’t finish undefeated and win the AAC Title.
Georgia Beats Alabama in SEC Championship
A Bulldogs win would guarantee them the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff and knock Alabama down as a two-loss team who did not win its conference championship.
Iowa Beats Michigan in Big Ten Championship
If Iowa beats Michigan, the Hawkeyes would be a two-loss Big Ten Champion, but it would be hard to see the Hawkeyes jumping Baylor, as the Bears were ranked No. 9 to start the day, while Iowa was down at No. 13.
In this theoretical scenario, Baylor would have a chance, as the College Football Playoff committee would likely have Georgia at No. 1, but then No. 2 through No. 4 would be anyone’s guess.
One team that would work its way up is likely 11-1 Notre Dame, who is sitting at No. 6 and is idle, as the Irish do not play a Conference Championship Game. But would the committee really put a two-loss Ohio State in over a two-loss Baylor, who has a conference title. They shouldn’t. Same goes for Ole Miss, a two-loss SEC team who has not played for a conference championship, but is currently ranked ahead of Baylor.
And while it’s highly unlikely Baylor gets all of this to happen in their favor, it’s not impossible, and if it comes to fruition, the Bears deserve a serious look as a team who also went 4-1 against AP Top 25 teams.