The first two weeks of rankings for the College Football Playoff have not been kind to the Big 12. Despite having four teams in the top 15 of both the AP and Coaches Polls, as well as a couple of teams within the top five of each poll, the Big 12 doesn’t have a single representative within the top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings.
Last season the Big 12 was left out with Ohio State jumping both Baylor and TCU in the final rankings. It looks like this season the Big 12 will need a team to jump into the top four in the last couple of weeks in order to have a representative. So we’re asking…
Bang or Bust, The Big 12 will be left out of the College Football Playoff again this season?
Through two weeks of rankings, Baylor has been the highest ranked Big 12 team at sixth in back-to-back weeks. Meanwhile they were jumped in the rankings by Iowa; who moved up four spots after beating a 4-5 Indiana team. For their part, Baylor went on the road last Thursday and beat a motivated Kansas State team. It’s hard to see how beating Indiana is significantly better than beating Kansas State, but committee chairman Jeff Long made it clear, Baylor has yet to prove themselves to the committee.
TCU and Oklahoma State off the Big 12’s top-tier round-robin November on Saturday, and the Cowboys controlled the entire game. Their win however, was only rewarded with a six spot jump up the rankings to eighth. On the flip side, the committee dropped TCU seven spots from eighth to 15th; which says they’re all but eliminated from the race.
The message is loud and it’s clear: The committee doesn’t think a whole lot of the Big 12 Conference.
With Baylor and Oklahoma State still undefeated there’s the possibility that one of the teams will come through unscathed. The Sooners could also have a chance at the Playoff if they make it through with just their one loss since it came earlier in the season. If one of the remaining contenders is able to navigate the tricky schedule ahead, that team should have the strength of schedule, and enough quality wins, to jump over the teams ahead of them in the rankings. At least on paper.
Not only are the top teams in the Big 12 playing one another, but the mid and lower level teams haven’t called it quits. With their rough early-season gauntlet behind them, the mid-level schools should get their seasons turned around, which will help the three contenders strength of schedule. This improvement in strength of schedule will greatly improve the Big 12’s chances of getting a team into the playoffs.
ESPN’s College Gameday is headed to Waco this week to highlight the Sooner’s trip into the Baylor Bear’s fancy new den, and the attention comes none too soon. It can’t be overstated just how valuable it is to the conference to have meaningful games that people have to pay attention to, especially the committee members.
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