The Big 12 is again in big trouble

TCU is probably out of the playoff already. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

TCU is probably out of the playoff already. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

If you’re the Big 12 — which technically contains 10 schools, which is part of the problem — you’re terrified. You have four teams ranked in the Top 25 by the College Football Playoff committee. Two of those are unbeaten. The Big 12’s highest-ranked team is Baylor at No. 6. Ahead of the Bears are one-loss Alabama, one-loss Notre Dame and unbeaten Iowa, the schedule of which has been the subject of much derision.

Roughly a month remains before the final rankings will be released, and much can/will change. As of now, this much seems not just clear but blatant: The committee has teed up the Big 12 for another massive disappointment. Even an undefeated Big 12 champ mightn’t make the field of four ahead of 12-1 SEC champ Alabama or 11-1 Notre Dame, which has a huge game against No. 7 Stanford remaining.

The Big 12’s schedule has been weird to the nth power. Before last weekend, none of the Big 12’s biggest four — Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and TCU — had played anybody of note. (Unless you count Tennessee, which is 5-4.) The conference’s first significant in-house game came Saturday. Oklahoma State routed TCU 49-29, but the unbeaten Cowboys were only No. 8 in the rankings released Tuesday.

The Big 12 learned last December that the committee values championships taken on the field. The inaugural playoff included four teams that had conference title games. It omitted Baylor and TCU, which the Big 12 declared co-champions, even though TCU had beaten Baylor. (The Big 12 has no championship game because it lacks the required 12 teams.) Even if Baylor or Oklahoma State finishes unbeaten, it won’t have won a championship game.

Baylor’s remaining schedule includes Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and TCU, with the latter two games on the road. Besides Baylor, Oklahoma State will play Oklahoma. If the Cowboys beat Baylor and lose to Oklahoma, the Big 12 will again be positioned to be barred from the playoff.

As for the field itself, three teams seem set, or as set as teams can be with a month remaining: If Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama win out, they’ll be in. If Notre Dame wins out, it’ll be, too. If Stanford beats Notre Dame and wins the Pac-12, the Cardinal will make it.

And the Big 12 will kick and scream and, just maybe, reassess its scheduling. Baylor’s non-conference games were against SMU, Lamar and Rice. Oklahoma State’s were against Central Michigan, Central Arkansas and Texas San Antonio. (At least TCU played Minnesota and Oklahoma played the Vols.)

One note, though: Clemson figures to meet North Carolina in the ACC title game. The Heels have quietly become a hot item, if that’s possible. They weren’t ranked by committee last week, and they’re No. 23 after beating Duke 66-31. (That opening loss to South Carolina, which has been revealed as a terrible team, still smarts.) But the Heels can score, and they do have Gene Chizik running their defense, and Chizik does have two national championships, including one at Texas as a defensive coordinator, in his figurative pocket.

Put it this way: The SEC championship figures to be Alabama-Florida, and I give the Gators no chance. If the ACC title tilt is Clemson-Carolina, I give the Heels a puncher’s chance.

Reader Comments 0

58 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Increase the playoffs to 8 teams instead of the present 4. Too many good teams are going to get left out. The Big 12 is not going to get much respect unless they have a championship game. Not playing a 13th game is like having another loss (or a loss) on their schedule.


Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg

What is the minimum number of teams needed for two divisions and thus a Championship game. Is the number twelve? Just add Houston and Memphis to the conference and get to the magic number twelve.If a undefeated B1G 12 team gets shut out of the playoff again this year, they had better look into expanding or disbanding and going their separate ways.

GTBob
GTBob

@Buschleaguer It is currently 12 but there is a proposed rule change that will be voted on later this year that will allow conferences to structure divisions however they like (or not have divisions at all) and hold a conference championship game no matter how many members they have.

Either way, I don't think it will matter. The Big 12 isn't getting in until Texas and Oklahoma become powerhouses again. The committee favors power factory status over anything else.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Buck -- Congrats on the Season thus far. I want y'all at full throttle for the rematch. JT & Cordelle Rousey playing! I can't wait to see Cordelle crying by games end---Tebow Style! 

Peachs
Peachs

This is a public relation contest not a football reality.  What I picked up last year watching the bowl games is TCU or Baylor could have beaten Alabama or FSU but were not allowed to compete, probably because the SEC through the press and other resources had lobbied their way into the final four, FSU was undefeated and got in begrudgingly, and probably cheating the Big 12 of a real shot at a championship. My question is when does the NCAA become responsible for not doing it right as opposed to a conference putting two teams on the field that could have beaten Ohio State?  Your job is to support the SEC, more Georgia, you took another shot at South Carolina, I get that, but why do any thinking final four judge listen to all this propaganda and not see with their on eyes what is the best four teams?

TOJacket
TOJacket

ACC, ACC, ACC!!!!!!...............2 of the top 4............say what?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket 

Too bad the Irish are too greedy to share the money with their affiliates in the ACC. Notre Dame treats the ACC like a friend without  benefits relationship. I guess NBC money  trumps Raycom (ACC) money.

7576DAWG
7576DAWG

The Big - 12 is getting exactly what they deserve. When Texas was on top they called all the shots. Texas arrogance ran off Texas A&m , Missouri , and Nebraska. Instead of dividing the total revenue of the Big -12 with all members , Texas got way too much because they set themselves up as the GOD'S of College Football. I applaud the teams that left and laugh at the Big - 12 when the oil bust brought Texas down to Earth. I applaud the rest of College Football for not caring  that Texas has become a non factor . I applaud the Great Texas Recruits who see Texas as they really are and have made Texas A&M , Baylor and T.C.U. relevant as top 20 teams. I would like to see the SEC expand to 16 teams and add Baylor and Oklahoma if they will come. I would like to see T.C.U added to the Pac-12 and for the Big -12 and Texas to fade away because they deserve each other.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@7576DAWG PAC 12 supposedly won't take religious schools, rumor is that is why they took Colorado instead of BYU.

GTBob
GTBob

Why would a UGA fan care about what conference GT is in?

GTBob
GTBob

Texas makes more money than any other athletic program in college sports. They aren't going away.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Birmingham__Jacket @7576DAWG  Tech would never pay the exit fee to leave the ACC. Teams are getting stronger in the ACC and that does not bode well for Tech's future. PJ only recruits players to suit his offense. Even if they got rid of PJ it would take a new coach 4-5 years to rebuild the team.

GTBob
GTBob

@TideDawg Tech would never leave the ACC unless it was falling apart. No team is leaving the ACC any time soon because of the Grant of Rights.

MarkAgain
MarkAgain

College Football is a scam! It's all about a big name school or a big name coach that plays a pansy arse schedule. Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State...geez. But, that's the way the powers to be want it. Keeps the fan bases excited with teams that wouldnt finish in the top half of the SEC. SCAM=college football! only sport where the League champs Don't have to play the other league champs to see who the real Champion is. Let her street and the media decide...

OH:IO
OH:IO

No question the Big Ten has proved a deeper conference than most expected this season. Ohio State and Michigan State were expected to be very good, Wisconsin about where it is, but never would I have predicted seeing Iowa in the Top 10, Michigan in the Top 15 and Northwestern in the Top 25 in November. The bottom tier of the conference -- Purdue, Maryland, Rutgers, Minnesota -- is most responsible for dragging down the conference’s overall reputation, but have you seen this year’s SEC East? Not even the staunchest SEC apologist could argue that division is any better than the Big Ten West.


-Mandel Fox Sports


Too funny


SEC! SEC! LEAST



Go ahead, wherever you "staunchest apologists" are. 


tampa? tampa? Bueller?


Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO

Ride those B1G west coattails Bucky! I hope we have some SEC East vs B1G east bowl matchups again this year. Maybe a Carolina /Purdue Match up in the Kohler Toilet Bowl. Kentucky/Indiana in the No it's Football Not Basketball Bowl. Vandy/Rutgers in the I Did Not Know they had a Bowl in Newark ..Tennessee/Minnesota in the SPAM / Mystery Meats  Bowl sponsored by Hormel. and the best for last UGa vs MIchigan in the Taxslayer Bowl, wait a minute I think that is actually a real Bowl game.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@OH:IO

The B1G is the best conference in college football without a doubt.  But I would still maintain the Big 12 is better than the ACC.  

buellerbuellerbueller
buellerbuellerbueller

@OH:IO What this article is trying to say is that the Big 10 has learned how to recruit in the southeast??

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO You have two teams who haven't even won a conference game yet and we are in November.  The MAC conference is deeper than the Big Mac Conference.

The_Real_KJ
The_Real_KJ

@OH:IO "Deeper than most expected".  That's like saying a retarded kid finally circled the right answer on a multiple-choice calculus test.


I don't know what Mandel is smoking, but Sagarin has the BigTen West ranked 9th out of conference divisions.


But I guess I should be happy people are saying stuff like this; betting against the Browneyes and lolSparty has made me decent money this season.

GTBob
GTBob

The Big 12 is going to be in trouble until its big money programs (Oklahoma and Texas) start running the conference again. There is a reason that Alabama and Notre Dame are ranked ahead of Baylor and Oklahoma St. Its because their names are Alabama and Notre Dame. It has little to do with wins and losses. Alabama has by far the worst loss of anyone in the top 10. No one cares because they are Alabama.

GTBob
GTBob

No offense to your team Willie. They may win out and win it all but by any objective standard, they are well overrated in the current polls. The only thing that propels them is the magical eye test that they always seem to benefit from.

GTBob
GTBob

At this point yes. They haven't done anything to be ranked above some of the teams behind them. They lost to a team that got throttled by Memphis. It wouldn't surprise me if they lost two more games and still made the playoffs.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

@GTBob  Eye Test? We don't benefit from having the best defense in CFB. The best player in CFB.

Peachs
Peachs

@GTBob and there should be some penalty for the show last year.  

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75 Statistically Michigan has a better defense than Alabama and has played a tougher schedule. Maybe they should be in the top 4 also, right?

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

And there's Utah. If the Utes and Stanford make it to the Pac 12 title both at 11-1, the winner, even if it's Utah, is in the playoff. Utah's only loss would be a road game at USC, The REAL one.

maxman2660
maxman2660

everybody is tired of the non-competitive cupcakes that fill scheldules now,only thing they do is pad wins and paychecks for the big schools,and the fans who pay to watch this garbage are the ones who lose out

MikeS777
MikeS777

As a side note, I can't help but think there are power program brokers in CFB grinning ear to ear about this.  I'm pretty sure they would like to see the Big 12 break up for real.  Reducing 5 power conferences to 4 would make this playoff a lot easier on the committee and those that want the brand names at the top.

The Big 12 is hardly on solid ground anyway.  The PAC 12 still wants the Texas schools bad.  You have to think Oklahoma is not happy with where they are.  They flirted with the SEC years ago.  I have to believe if the SEC comes calling, they would answer.  West Virginia would prefer to be in either the SEC or ACC.  The Big 12 was just the only option left for them.  The Big10 would be hovering around as well.

As long as Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma St are at the top instead of Texas and Oklahoma, the door is going to be open for this conference to be left out.  Unless of course someone in the Big 10 decides to show up and beat Urban Meyer, or magically Clemson and FSU decide to suspend half their team which would drop them down to the talent level of the rest of the ACC.   Notre Dame needs to stop winning as well.  Basically the seas have to part haha

Big Wally
Big Wally

@MikeS777 Oklahoma's President or AD recently came out and complained about the conference.  They are regretting staying in the Big 12 and also signing that contract with the Big 12.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

There is a long long way to go before the 4 teams are known.  One week at a time. 


Roll Tide



“What are you doing here? Tell me why you are here. If you are not here to win a national championship, you’re in the wrong place. You boys are special. I don’t want my players to be like other students. I want special people. You can learn a lot on the football field that isn’t taught in the home, the church, or the classroom. There are going to be days when you think you’ve got no more to give and then you’re going to give plenty more. You are going to have pride and class. You are going to be very special. You are going to win the national championship for Alabama.”


Coach Bryant

MikeS777
MikeS777

It's clear the "problem" with the Big 12 is Baylor, TCU, Kansas St., and Oklahoma St. have been at the top of the league for 4 years now.  Ohio St. also has not beaten anyone of note.  The only two teams on their schedule that are ranked are Michigan St. and Michigan (the last two games).  Virginia Tech, like last year, is going to barely be bowl eligible.  Notre Dame's best wins are Navy and Temple.  Granted they played Clemson close, but they still lost and sit above the Big 12 undefeated teams.  Oklahoma St. just drilled an undefeated TCU team, yet sits at #8.

We saw it in 2011 when Oklahoma St. got left out of the national championship, so we could see a Bama/LSU rematch despite the fact they had beaten more ranked teams than Bama and actually had a conference title.  We saw it last year when Ohio St. came out of a weak Big 10 to skip over Baylor and TCU in the final week.

If it were Oklahoma and Texas at the top of the Big 12 standings, it would have been Alabama left out in 2011 and Ohio St. would have been left out last year.   CFB has always been about brand names, and this playoff is no different.  YOu need a brand name to trump a brand name.  The Big 12 does not have it right now.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

If Oklahoma wins out they should make the playoff, Ohio state lost to Va.Tech last year. So Oklahoma should be able to shake off the Texas loss. Sooners will have to beat Baylor ,TCU and Oklahoma State to run the table, so their strength of schedule should carry them over the ND/Stanford winner.

CasualObserver
CasualObserver

@Buschleaguer Have to disagree on this, at least as far as Oklahoma is concerned.  If Oklahoma State or Baylor runs the table and is unbeaten, then they will be in the mix.  However, Stanford is likely to win the PAC 12 North, so if they beat ND and win the PAC 12 title game, I suspect they are in.  On the other hand if ND runs the table, including Stanford, and Stanford then goes on to win the PAC 12 title, then it is my belief that a one loss ND, with a win over the PAC 12 champ and, at least as of now, two other top 25 teams (Navy and Temple), is far more likely to get into the playoff than a one loss Big 12 champion.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

Mr. Bradley, who you gonna curse like you did the Falcons by declaring they're in the playoffs - or did you just do that to UNC?

slydawg
slydawg

I believe if either Oklahoma State or Baylor run the table, they will cracked the top 4. At this point, wins against either of these schools remaining on their schedule will boost their strength of schedule and profile significantly.

And you can technically throw Oklahoma in that mix too, depending.

But the key is to go undefeated or the Big 12 or 10 or whatever will be out.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Conference should fold, then you would have 4 power conferences and the problem of leaving one of them out is solved.

*Put Texas, TT, Ok, and Ok St. in the PAC 16,

*Put Baylor, and TCU in the SEC,

*Put Kansas and Conn, in the Big 10,

*Put West Va, and ND (fully) into the ACC.

All 4 power conferences then have 16 teams and everyone is equal. Conf. Champ. get to go to the 4 team playoff, unless they are ranked say outside of  the top 15, then you could look at putting in a team from one of the other conferences if they are ranked in top 5 for example.

slydawg
slydawg

Or they (Big 12) can just drop West Virginia, then add Houston, Tulsa, and Boise St.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Big Wally  Notre Dame doesn't want to, and will not, be in ANY conference for football - DUH.

Why do you think they play in the ACC in all other sports BUT football?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Baylor and TCU can't play defense. They'll fit right in.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally Yea, but they score a lot of points.  They can offset the 10 pts a game offenses from the UGA's of the conference. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@Surelyyoujest @Big Wally Yea, I figured out why they didn't want to be in a conference about 30 years ago jerkoff; independence, tv contract, snobs, etc.  They do periodically review their options though.  If they get screwed out of playing for the National Champ. this year (which is a possibility), they may have to reconsider it.  They, like the Big 12 won't be in any conference championship games, and as we saw last year the playoff committee does put a lot of emphasis on  that in their selection criteria.

Big Wally
Big Wally

@slydawg They figure they already have the Houston TV market, so adding them won't add value to conference.  Tulsa - no tv market, and Boise is as far away or further than WV.  That's their problem, there are few other schools that they can add.  If they do expand, I would bet on Memphis, Central Florida, USF or  Cincinnati as possibilties, 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO @Big Wally

Just like most of the B1G can't play at all. Question Bucky, When Iowa loses the B1G championship  game will they fall far enough in the polls for a two loss Sparty to represent the B1G in the Rose Bowl.(And yes Bucky I am assuming your Buckeyes win Out) Not that it is in much doubt they will run the table in the B1G.

slydawg
slydawg

They sort of "lost" the Houston TV market with the exit of Texas A&M. Boise St. makes more sense geographically and time zone-wise, although I agree on distance. Tulsa isn't not a good fit or a need, agree on that. They can just keep West Virginia.