Art Briles

Baylor coach Art Briles responds to questions during a news conference Sunday in Waco after the Bears were left out of the College Football Playoff.

WACO — After the on-field celebration had ceased and the last fan had exited McLane Stadium — and Baylor head coach Art Briles had finished making his case for the No. 4 Bears to be a part of the College Football Playoff — a sense of inevitability fell over the press box.

The Big Ten Championship game had gone final and blueblood Ohio State, which entered the weekend one spot ahead of Baylor in the CFP rankings, had demolished Vegas favorite Wisconsin, 59-0.

At that point, the consensus among present media members was set.

Ohio State — not Big 12 co-champions TCU or Baylor — was going to join consensus top-two Alabama and Oregon and undefeated Florida State in the playoff.

Sunday morning that inkling was confirmed, as the Buckeyes will play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Oregon will play Florida State in the Rose Bowl to comprise the inaugural playoff.

After weeks of bickering between fan bases, Baylor did indeed pass TCU in the rankings, but the Big 12 — and the co-champions it recommended to the committee — was left out while the rest of the nation goes about deciding a national champion in football.

This has plenty to do with Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the way he hedged his chances of getting a team in by changing his stance that head-to-head would decide who the conference presented to the committee as champion — “One true champion” is the Big 12 slogan — to presenting co-champions, which committee chairman Jeff Long said was taken into account.

But this also has to do with the fact that Baylor and TCU are not the bluebloods of the Big 12.

That distinction belongs to Texas and Oklahoma — only Texas and Oklahoma aren’t the two best teams in the Big 12.

It seems highly unlikely, however, that if either the Longhorns or Sooners were in the same position as Baylor and TCU the Big 12 would be without a playoff participant.

Ohio State matched up with Baylor and TCU in terms of record and strength of schedule, but the Buckeyes’ didn’t have anywhere near the quality wins the Bears and Horned Frogs boasted, and they had the worst loss, falling to 6-6 Virginia Tech at home.

But Ohio State is still The Ohio State, and Baylor and TCU are not.

And it feels like that was as big of a reason for the Buckeyes to claim the last spot in the playoff as anything Baylor or TCU did on the field.

Contact Jordan Mason at or 254-501-7562​

(2) comments


What a bunch of horse hockey. This is the most uninformed misbegotten piece of sports journalism that this rag of a paper has ever produced.
Next you will be telling us that up is down and down is up. Mr. Mason your thesis is without basis or merit save one caveat.
Baylor was left out for one simple reason. Out Of Conference (OOC) strength of schedule matters. You can't schedule the 128th toughest OOC (out of a 128) and expect to have the "strength of the Big XII" overcome that for you. Especially in a year when Big 12 "bluebloods" Texas and Oklahoma have 10 combined losses.
You were correct when you said this would never happen to Oklahoma or Texas. That's because neither would ever have the audacity to schedule the 128th ranked OOC.
If you play a FCS schedule, don't be surprised or act indignant when you're treated like FCS university.
It's not the name on the front of Baylor's jersey that doomed the Bears, t was in fact the names on their OOC schedule (SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo).
But hey it felt good to start the season 3-0 by outscoring the 'competition" 178-27.
If you want to be somebody, you have to play somebody.



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