The past two years, the Big 12 has had a legitimate shot at the College Football Playoff. TCU and Baylor in 2014 were two teams that could have made some noise in the playoff but got screwed out of spots, and last season, OU secured the four seed before getting blasted by Clemson. This year? The conference is so busy searching for expansion candidates that they’re forgetting to play football. Some ESPN experts even predicted the Big 12 had the best shot at getting two teams in with TCU and OU both likely candidates. Since I no longer work for FOX Sports and can officially talk bad about the conference, though, let’s break down how the conference shakes out as of right now.
TCU is done. They aren’t coming back from a loss to Arkansas. It’s never a good sign for a pass defense when you let Arkansas, of all teams, throw the ball for a game-tying scoring drive. Baylor looked like absolute shit against SMU. SMU’s defense is so bad, yet Baylor only managed 6 points in the first half and had to count on Ben Hicks’ inability to hit a wide open receiver in the end zone to win the game. Even I had a minuscule amount of hope that SMU could pull it off, and that never happens. OU has already dropped a game to Houston. Oklahoma State let CMU pull off a miracle. Texas? Well, they beat Notre Dame and UTEP. Texas Tech is again utilizing the “who needs defense?” strategy and it’s shockingly not working again. Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, and West Virginia are just in the conference as easy wins for the bigger name schools.
As it stands today, Texas, Oklahoma, and Baylor are the only Big 12 teams ranked. Let’s just ignore Baylor real quick since they will not be ranked by the time the end of the season rolls around. The Big 12’s hopes lie squarely on the shoulders of Oklahoma and Texas. In the years before 2011, that would be fine — but this is 2016. If, and when, Oklahoma loses to Ohio State this weekend, their playoff hopes will officially be dashed. A two-loss team from the Big 12 is not making the playoff, especially considering OU’s only wins against ranked teams at the end of the season would be Texas (assuming they don’t lose to Cal or Oklahoma State) and maybe Baylor.
Texas is kind of a wild card and the Big 12’s only real shot at having an undefeated champion (no offense to Baylor and West Virginia). Are they back, or are they just overrated? They commit a lot of penalties to extend drives. That may cut it against the Miners of UTEP, but that’s not going to get it done against a team like OU. The Big 12 is praying that an 18-year-old freshman QB whose voice just stopped cracking will be its savior. They know that they can only survive if Texas and OU are good. Unfortunately for them, Texas is still too young to go undefeated and OU picked a bad year to schedule Houston. Everyone else in the Big 12 just flat out sucks.
It’s time to fold the Big 12, let the Power 5 conferences take their pick of the good teams like OU and Texas, and just call it a day. Or the Big 12 should just expedite the process and make Houston a part of the conference this year. That’s their only real shot at the playoff.
Am I writing this so early because I did the same thing last year with the SEC and I have money on OU winning the title like I did with the 2015 Bama team? Yes, and I am hoping reverse psychology works again this year..
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