It’s the Airing of the Grievances, Festivus/Frank Costanza-style.
First of all, I do not at all have a problem with the four teams that were chosen for the college football playoff. It was almost a given that Alabama, Oregon and Florida State were getting in if they won, and they did win. That left one spot open. Baylor handled Kansas State and TCU destroyed a hapless Iowa State team … but Ohio State absolutely decimated Wisconsin. It’s true TCU pulled up late in their 55-3 win over the Cyclones and Baylor took care of business with their 38-27 win over K-State, but neither looked nearly as impressive or as dominating as Ohio State did in that 59-0 Big Ten Championship beat down. It was over in the first quarter, and the same could not be said of the Baylor/K-State game. I believe committee chairman Jeff Long when he said it wasn’t so much what TCU and Baylor did wrong and all about what Ohio State did right. Sort of. On the field the Buckeyes absolutely played their way in. A tip of the cap to you, Brutus, and good luck.
Back to “sort of.” I also believe had the Keystone Cops not been in charge of the Big 12, there is a very good chance the Baylor Bears are playing in the final four instead of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Allow me to explain:
Last summer the Big 12 started its “one true champion” campaign. The logic was every team plays every other team in a 9-game conference schedule, and while there is no conference title game, the fact everyone plays everyone else means a conference title game is moot (grownup words again!). The other power five conferences have that title game, but they don’t play everyone in the conference in one season. The Big 12 does. And with “one true champion” the Big 12 conference would endorse the winner of the conference for the final four, assuming they would be in the hunt, just like the other conferences would endorse their champion. And in the case of tie, they would go to tiebreakers like they did in 2008 to decide the Big 12 South Champion. Bottom line: one true champion. That was the mindset going into the season and through the season … But then it all changed.
As it looked more and more like TCU and Baylor were each headed to 11-1 records with each making a case for a playoff spot, the Big 12 conference inexplicably reversed themselves and commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced if TCU and Baylor finished tied, they’d be co-champions. Co-champions. So let me get this straight: The mantra you spent marketing and ad dollars to create and promote — one true champion, highlighted by the commercial with all the football coaches morphing into one another INCLUDING AN EDITED VERSION WITH THE INTERIM COACH AT KANSAS AFTER CHARLIE WEIS WAS FIRED — is now over? Just like that, it’s done. Never mind you were still running those commercials during games after that announcement. Now all of the sudden we will have co-champions. Why? Why?
There are lots of possible reason why: Baylor’s strength of schedule was very poor out of conference and the Big 12 office could have thought they would be passed over, so why not offer the committee a TCU alternative as a co-champion? Or maybe it was a money grab, hoping to get both “co-champions” into the final four. Maybe it was fear of alienating one team or the other, or maybe it was something else entirely. I don’t know and I don’t really care to be honest. What I do care about is that it was an idiotic decision to have co-champions. Whatever the logic behind it, the act was just plain dumb. Co-Champions? Does anyone believe that’s actually a thing? Do you remember the snickers Texas got 12 or so years ago when they gave themselves Big 12 South Co-Champions rings when they didn’t play for the Big 12 Title? Or when Oklahoma State did the same thing? It’s ridiculous. “Co-Champions” don’t exist. Go to any playground in the country, heck go to my front yard, and see how kids handle ties. Does everyone win? Absolutely not. They figure out a way to break the tie. Big 12 basketball will have co-champions, but who gets the No.1 seed in the conference tournament? The team that won the tiebreaker. It’s ridiculous in so many ways. Two trophy presentations in one day? Absurd. We’ve gone from one true champion into the laughable one or two champions.
And it isn’t just me that thinks that. Selection committee chair Jeff Long said as much, saying they were offered up co-champions. In the end, Ohio State might have gotten in regardless of what the Big 12 did. Long said that Ohio State’s 13th game, the championship, weighed heavily on the committee’s decision and that was a big factor in getting them in. Bob Bowlsby went to the media afterwards saying he was told the committee wouldn’t use the lack of a championship game against the Big 12. What about the lack of a Big 12 Champion? You think that was a factor at all? What about Baylor coach Art Briles blasting you at your second trophy ceremony of the day on national TV for the lack of support? We looked ridiculous nationally and my guess is the committee wanted no part of us, and I don’t blame them.
Bob Bowlsby isn’t doing much to endear himself, either. He came out earlier in the week and said he would have voted for TCU, and this on the heels of his comments about the Longhorn Network being a “boulder in the road.” I thought the commissioner and the conference were supposed to have the schools’ collective back? It doesn’t seem that way. Say what you want about Art Briles voting Texas fifth in 2008 and helping keep the Longhorns out of the Big 12 Title Game, but it sure seems like the Big 12 is going out of its way not to endorse Baylor. I understand TCU being angry as well, but the other four teams won their conference outright and deserved to be there more. That stings, but that’s the way it goes. It sure would have been nice if the Big 12 got behind its outright conference champion as well.
So where do we go from here? Bowlsby has now said the Big 12 will reconsider how it crowns a champion, meaning they will go back and do what they said they were going to do all along before changing their mind midstream this fall. They have submitted a waiver to the NCAA to allow a championship game with only 10 teams. If the selection committee is going to use this as a gauge (and it did), then the Big 12 needs to be granted a championship game ASAP. And if that waiver passes, do us all a favor and actually play the championship game and don’t waffle on it. I could see the waiver passing immediately if the Big 12 agrees to expand. That means two more teams, at least, joining the conference. Which two? If it’s me I call Central Florida right now. It’s a big school and a destination road trip for everyone in the conference. It opens the door to Florida for recruiting — kids can stay home and play in the Big 12, or go to a Big 12 school and still play in Florida — and Central Florida gets in front of Texas kids. The Aggies let the SEC into Texas, so let’s return the favor and take the Big 12 into the heart of Florida. That still leaves a spot open. Who gets it? I don’t really know, and I don’t know how divisions would work. The schools in Texas and Oklahoma being a division of six, and the two in Kansas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Central Florida make five. We need a sixth. South Florida? BYU? Someone east, like Cincinnati? There is no clear-cut favorite that I see outside of UCF. Let’s assume, for now, the 10-team league has a championship game. How do we decide that? Geography? Another way? No way, just take the top two at the end of the year? Things to work out.
But, please, let’s work them out. We look ridiculous right now.
Advocare 2014 Texas Bowl
TEXAS vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Monday, December 29th
NRG Stadium (Houston)
The Backs and Horns will get it on down in Houston. This is going to be fun. I hope you all can make it. My man Brian has ticket information for you:
– Seats start as low as $35
– A limited number of suites remain- call 832/667-2160 to secure yours
– 62,000 seats have already been sold, don’t wait- 832/667-2390
– For more details on the game click here.
– For more details on tickets click here.
I will be there, so come find me!
Big 12 Bowl Games
We will get into this in the coming weeks, but seven teams from the Big 12 are bowling, thanks to whatever-in-the-world ou was thinking about at the end of the Bedlam game. One word for that: hilarious.
Liberty Bowl- Memphis- 12/29
WEST VIRGINIA (7-5) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (7-5) 1 pm ESPN
Russell Athletic Bowl- Orlando- 12/29
oklahoma (8-4) vs. No.16 Clemson Tigers (9-3) 4:30 pm ESPN
Texas Bowl- Houston- 12/29
TEXAS (6-6) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (6-6) 8 pm ESPN
Peach Bowl- Atlanta- 12/31
No.6 TCU (11-1) vs. No.9 Ole Miss (9-3) 11:30 am ESPN
Cotton Bowl- Arlington- 01/01
No.5 BAYLOR (11-1) vs. No.8 Michigan State (10-2) 11:30 am ESPN
Alamo Bowl- San Antonio- 01/02
No.11 KANSAS STATE (9-3) vs. No.14 UCLA (9-3) 5:45 pm ESPN
Cactus Bowl- Tempe- 01/02
OKLAHOMA STATE (6-6) vs. Washington Huskies (8-5) 9:15 pm ESPN