I took yesterday off to decompress and watch a little college football, but now I'm back!
The Big News:
Baylor is officially out of the 2015 College Football Playoff picture, and the Oklahoma Sooners are your Big 12 Champions. Those are two things we know for sure. A third is that those same Oklahoma Sooners will, in all likelihood, represent the Big 12 in the Playoff. We can play all kinds of "what if" games with Baylor's 2015 season, but the bottom line is that we were unable to win our third-straight Big 12 Championship. OU did.
With the conclusion of ~99% of the regular season, we're now reached championship week with the championship games of the SEC, ACC, B1G, and Pac 12, as well as Black Sunday, the day when coaches who were good enough to represent their schools yesterday suddenly aren't anymore. Already, we've seen Georgia's Mark Richt lose his job in a somewhat surprising move while Les Miles will apparently keep his after rumors had him all but out.
As far as I can tell, there are basically two options for Baylor in this bowl season. I say "basically" because how the bowls would choose between a potential #3 (in the conference) TCU team and a potential #4 Baylor isn't entirely clear. But let's break it down based on what will happen based on the outcome of the Baylor-Texas game this Saturday, and assuming Oklahoma makes the CFB Playoff.
If Baylor Wins vs. Texas:
As I understand things, we're going to the Sugar Bowl to play either Ole Miss or Florida (depending on who is ranked higher in the final CFB Playoff rankings). It's also possible we could play Alabama if Alabama loses to Florida in the SEC Championship Game. Here's the operating assumptions:
- If Baylor beats Texas, the Big 12 will have a three-way tie for second place in the conference.
- Big 12 tiebreakers say that in such a tie, the combined point differential of the three tied teams (as between each other) is used to eliminate the lowest team. That would be TCU.
- Then, the two-way tie-breaker (Head-to-Head) has Baylor prevailing over Oklahoma State.
So, by virtue of our win over Oklahoma State, Baylor gets #2 in the Conference and the Sugar Bowl bid. This has been confirmed by numerous sportswriters and the Sugar Bowl's twitter account, but I don't know that the Big 12 will say anything until they have to next week.
If Baylor Loses vs. Texas:
We fall to #4 in the Conference rankings behind OSU and TCU, and we will likely be headed to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida on December 29. I say "likely" because it's possible that the Alamo Bowl could take Baylor over TCU, though that is doubtful.
If we make the Russell Athletic Bowl, our opponent will be either an ACC team or Notre Dame (because they're aligned with the ACC in bowl games now). That means whoever loses the UNC-Clemson ACC Championship Game or Notre Dame.
My Guess: All-State Sugar Bowl vs. Ole Miss on January 1, 2016.
Of course, all of this assumes Oklahoma makes the CFB Playoff. If they don't, things get really, really hairy.
The College Football Playoff
With our bowl scenarios out of the way, it's time to talk about the Playoff itself, which has further coalesced into a pretty easy priority list:
- If Clemson Wins vs. UNC: They're in.
- If Alabama Wins vs. Florida: They're in.
- Oklahoma is (almost definitely) in already.
- Whoever wins of Iowa/Michigan State is in.
That's pretty much it. Stanford beating Notre Dame last night means the Fighting Irish are out, and Stanford at 10-2 (pending the Pac 12 Championship game vs. USC) will be just on the outside. The latest Bowl Projections from the Mothership have Stanford playing Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Chaos ensues for the above format if either of the following things happens: UNC beats Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, or Florida beats Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. With their loss to South Carolina earlier this year and the fact that they played 2 FCS opponents, an 11-1 ACC Champion UNC is not a lock to make it. An 11-2 Florida team, even as the SEC Champion, is even less so. In either situation, I have to think that in either case, Stanford has the best chance to take advantage considering Ohio State won't have won its division, much less its conference, and Notre Dame will have two losses.
Thoughts on our Game:
- I'm still not ready to talk about this one in-depth simply because I haven't rewatched the game as I typically do, and I don't know what you can take away from a game played in the Serbonian Bog. But I do have general thoughts.
- As I said on Friday night/Saturday morning, I'm disappointed in how the game turned out primarily because we were robbed of the opportunity to see those two teams play in anything resembling normal football conditions. Beyond the injuries that obviously impacted both teams down the stretch, the weather meant that what were the two best offenses in the country basically just stumbled around the field for 3 quarters before a shortened field in overtime changed things up. That's disappointing as a fan of college football, generally.
- I'm also disappointed because, even in light of the above, I thought our defense played extremely well. The defensive line, in particular, continued its strong play from the week before against Oklahoma State, and our much-maligned linebackers did a great job, too. Even in the conditions, the fact that we only allowed 7 offensive points in regulation is quite a feat against Trevone Boykin and his weapons.
- I was afraid going into this game that we might see Chris Johnson take a step back after the OSU game, and he did. A big part of that, if not the majority, is the weather, which rendered what is normally a football into a leather-bound brick, but he also just didn't play well. We need him to bounce back this coming week against Texas to finish things out.
- The biggest problem in the game, however, came from the play-calling. For whatever reason, our intermediate passing and screen game was basically non-existent against TCU. That, combined with terrible footing that made cuts on the outside impossible, made us extremely binary between inside runs and aborted deep passes. It's hindsight speaking, but I just don't feel like our game plan was ready for the conditions in any way.
LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS:
Since we're more than a day away from our game, I'm going with straight general links today:
New bowl projections, now that Oklahoma's already in the College Football Playoff - SBNation.com
It's time to predict who'll play in every bowl game, with only one week to go before Selection Sunday.
Mark Richt fired, and Georgia's top target is Alabama DC Kirby Smart - SBNation.com
After 14 seasons in Athens, it's reportedly over for Mark Richt.
College football rankings: 3 Big Ten teams in top 6 of Coaches Poll - SBNation.com
America's oldest conference suddenly has three of the top six teams in the country.
LSU and Oklahoma highlight enormous Rivalry Week - SBNation.com
Let's review the awesome, unexpected, and meaningful of a dramatic Rivalry Week.
TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS:
Yep, Baylor beats Texas and it's on to the Sugar for the Bears. Likely opponent is Ole Miss. https://t.co/bSKwM4SqS3— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 29, 2015
Playing its third-string quarterback but at home, Baylor opens as a 21-point favorite over Texas (via https://t.co/lCys6kh4A5)— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) November 29, 2015
And that's about it. Have a great Sunday, everyone!