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Mailbag: How Many Big 12 Teams Can Afford 1 Loss And Still Make The Playoffs?

We now have a mailbag! Does the media favor certain teams? Big 12 expansion hypothetical, and who with 1-loss from the Big 12 could make the College Football Playoff?


Introducing the Big 12 mailbag! Ask us anything you want (preferably about Big 12 football), and we will do our best to answer it! If you have a question for next week’s mailbag, send it to @the_LGG on Twitter and you might just see the question pop up here.

Does media brand loyalty hurt college football?

Yes. I think that was made apparent last season more than ever. It used to be something that everyone knew was happening, but it wasn’t blatant and in your face. Last year it was blatant, in your face. The College Football Playoff committee is influenced by the media. They are influenced by what ESPN is saying and by the Coaches and AP Poll. Last season everyone had their minds made up on who they wanted in the college football playoff. If something happened on the field that challenged that, the narrative changed to support who the media and the committee wanted.

For the first two seasons of the College football Playoff it was all about winning your conference and the 13th data point. That weighed heavily in the committee’s decision-making. When Baylor and TCU split the Big 12, we heard all about the 13th data point and how important that was to the committee. Even though both Baylor and TCU were far ahead of Ohio State in overall strength of schedule even with the Big Ten Championship game factored in, the Buckeyes jumped them because of the “13th data point”.

Then, last year the narrative made an abrupt change when Ohio State didn’t win the Big Ten. They not only didn’t win the conference, they didn’t win their division within the conference and didn’t even play in the conference championship game. Yet somehow, the Buckeyes not only edged out other conference champions, they edged out the Big Ten champion, Penn State. A team they lost to!

Simply put, the reality of college athletics today is that with all the money involved, the narrative will change to fit what is best for the big dogs and the language used, like “find the best four teams” and “every game matters”, is just ambiguous enough to let it. Because “best” is a relative term in the eye of the beholder and what matters more, losses or wins? Well that will change based what side of the argument the logo is on. Or, do you believe we would have heard about “quality losses” if it was Alabama that had lost to Iowa State and Oklahoma State that had lost to LSU? No, if those two 2011 teams has swapped resume’s all we would have heard about is the number of Top 25 wins Alabama had and the quarterbacks they had beat.

The College Football Playoff was sold to the public as leveling the playing field, when all it did was ax the computers and inject more ambiguity into the equation.

Was there enough in week one to get a feel for the teams in the Big 12?

Yes and no. Does that clear it up? Joking aside, we haven’t seen enough from teams where depth or consistency is a concern. TCU played well, but let’s be honest, they weren’t really tested. We will know much more about the Horned Frogs in a couple of days. Same with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Week one, for all but a few big games, is mostly about just not failing the test. Win, win big, and it is what was supposed to happen. However, should you fail like Baylor and Texas, then we learn a lot. We learned, as we suspected, Baylor isn’t going to be any good this year. They were straight up beat by Liberty. As in Liberty lined up across from them and beat them. They didn’t get lucky, they were the better team. Even if that wasn’t peak Baylor, and I sure hope it wasn’t, we know enough that they aren’t going to win many games.

Same thing with Texas. Week one pretty much confirmed that they are a below average team this year like we thought they may be. I know the hype train was rolling, but if you were paying attention there was cause for concern heading into the season, and we saw that in week one. Now, losing to Maryland showed that maybe things are a little worse than we thought, but if they limit the stupid mistakes they should finish in about the middle of the conference.

You can have one former Big 12 member back and one Group of 5 member, who you got?

The former Big 12 team I would like back is easy. Give me Nebraska. The mutual admiration and rivalry between the Huskers and the Sooners helped define the conference. Who I don’t want back is Texas A&M. The Aggies and the Longhorns are oil and water, and it’s just never going to be a healthy working relationship between the two. If they want to go be mediocre somewhere else, then so be it. They are the SEC’s problem now. Good riddance.

The Group of 5 team is a little harder to pick, but I’ll go with Houston. Like A&M, they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder, but ultimately they understand their size and what moving up to the Big 12 would mean for them. If Texas helped pave the way, which is the only way it’s happening, then I believe the two could get along just fine. Houston also fits the Big 12 mold better than any other G5 team and checks off all the right boxes for expansion consideration. The only draw back is the effect it would have on recruiting in the region.

Unfortunately, when the Big 12 considered expansion last year, there just wasn’t a good partner to come with Houston, and ESPN and FOX pressured the Big 12 into foregoing expansion, because they believed it would hurt their bottom line.

How Many Big 12 Teams Can Afford 1 Loss And Still Make The Playoffs?

All of them. The round-robin Big 12 schedule, along with the new Big 12 Championship game, guarantees that a 1-loss Big 12 champion would have a ridiculous strength of schedule. The Big 12 is trying to put the CFB Playoff Committee in a position where denying the conference would be so blatantly biased that it would blow up the whole model. I mentioned how the narrative changes based on who the committee wants. Well, the Big 12 is trying to take away all the excuses.

Will it be enough? I don’t know, but it’s clear that the Big 12 is disadvantaged, because its members are being forced to run a gauntlet that no other P5 team is running: everybody plays number 1, number 2, number 3 and so on, Everybody schedules a  non-conference Power 5 game and now there is the best on best championship game. Nobody else comes close to that, and there are still some that think it’s not enough.

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