By being a 10-team conference without a championship game, the Big 12 doomed both Baylor and TCU, the co-champions with one loss each, to do some cheap politicking in an attempt to convince the committee each one deserves to be in the college football playoff, but it’s not going to work, and it shouldn’t.
A round robin league system isn’t bad, but while the Big 12 loves talking about a ‘one true champion’ it refrains from having any tiebreakers to determine that exact same quote. TCU have a better SOS – losing their one game by three points to Baylor, winning against a tougher non conference opponent in Minnesota compared to Buffalo. Baylor have their win over TCU, while their loss was to West Virginia, a 7-5 team. The Mountaineers won that game by 14 points.
So what’s more important? Head to head or strength of schedule? In-conference tiebreakers make sense that will use a head to head record above anything else. But the important thing for both teams is what the committee has to say, and they seem to care about Strength of schedule, but there are factors in mind. What? Probably playing for a championship in one game that determines an actual one true champion, without any slogan.
Baylor finished the season with a 38-27 win over a ranked Kansas State team. After the game was over, head coach Art Briles decided to attack the Big 12 commissioner for putting both teams in that situation. Baylor have reportedly hired a PR firm to try and help them win the committee over by things unrelated to football. Maybe part of the advice was attacking conference members through the media to get some attention.
Gary Patterson wasn’t as vocal about the whole situation. In his heart, both he and Briles probably know they’re going to disappointed once the committee’s decision is made public. Both teams had an extraordinary season, and for Baylor this is a second consecutive year of something very special happening, with the program becoming the benchmark for Big 12 success, much more than a one-hit wonder some thought they’d be after RGIII left to the NFL.
But the problem with having a league with more than 100 teams, with each of them playing about 12 or 13 games each season, and only four of them (it was two until this season) getting to play for the trophy? We’re always going to have arguments. Maybe with eight teams things will be simpler: Five P5 champions, one G5 champion and two more at-large bids. But there will be arguments over those at-large bids just as there are about the remaining fourth spot. The committee can’t win, no matter who it chooses. But putting TCU or Baylor in the playoff is an even bigger loss.