Big 12

Kellis Robinett’s Big 12 report: Baylor or TCU?

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) is forced out of bounds short of the goal line by Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard (4) during the first quarter in Waco on Oct. 11.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) is forced out of bounds short of the goal line by Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard (4) during the first quarter in Waco on Oct. 11. MCT

The 13-member selection committee that will ultimately pick four teams to play in college football’s first playoff will face a complicated question if Baylor and TCU remain tied atop the Big 12 standings.

No. 5 TCU is coming off a dominant 41-20 victory over Kansas State and is sure to move up in the playoff rankings Tuesday. With a nonconference victory over Minnesota and a 5-1 conference record, the Horned Frogs have the best resume in the Big 12. And with a soft closing schedule – Kansas, Texas and Iowa State – they appear on their way to at least a share of the league championship.

But is that enough to outweigh a 61-58 loss to No. 6 Baylor? The Bears hurt themselves by scheduling nonconference games against Northwestern State, SMU and Buffalo, and by losing to West Virginia 41-27. Yet, they also just obliterated Oklahoma in the stadium where Bob Stoops rarely loses and own a head-to-head victory against TCU. If Baylor closes with wins over Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State, it will likely tie TCU for a conference title. (K-State also has one conference loss, but a second loss, to Auburn, likely keeps it out of the playoff picture.)

So much for the Big 12’s “One True Champion” slogan.

If there is only room for one of them in the playoff, who advances? Glad I don’t have to answer.

Some will say the head-to-head result should push Baylor past TCU. Others will argue TCU has a better overall body of work. Some will say they both deserve inclusion. Others will argue they should both be left out.

If Baylor and TCU both finish the season with one loss, conference tiebreakers would favor the Bears. But Bill Hancock, executive director for the playoff, told Fox Sports writer Stewart Mandel on Sunday that may not be relevant.

“Anytime there are co-champions and there is no championship game, the committee will consider them both champions,” Hancock told Mandel.

That could make the debate even more challenging.

Perhaps the discussion is moot. No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 4 Alabama play on Saturday. No. 3 Oregon and No. 2 Florida State will both have to play in conference championship games. Chaos could push those teams out and both Baylor and TCU in. Or they could be left fighting for fifth. It’s too early to tell.

But if the fourth spot comes down to TCU vs. Baylor, all eyes will be on the committee’s selection.

Bowen OK with fan celebration

Kansas fans did something unusual Saturday by tearing down the goalposts after a win over last-place Iowa State. The celebration was discussed across social media throughout the weekend, with some blessing the scene and others criticizing it.

Interim coach Clint Bowen saw both sides of the argument, saying, “We want to get to a point where winning games is expected.”

On the other hand.…

“For someone to feel good about Kansas football for a day,” Bowen said. “There's nothing wrong with that.”

Quote of the week

"I just wanted to make sure the right guys grabbed me, because the wrong ones would have dropped me." -- Texas coach Charlie Strong on his crowd-surfing celebration Saturday.

Power rankings

1. TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12): With a soft closing schedule, the Horned Frogs are in position for a playoff push.

2. Baylor (8-1, 5-1): Winning at Oklahoma is a brutal task, but the Bears made it look easy.

3. Kansas State (7-2, 5-1): K-State can clinch at least a share of the league title with three more victories.

4. Texas (5-5, 4-3): Longhorns are improving. Don’t count them totally out against TCU on Thanksgiving.

5. Oklahoma (6-3, 3-3): Sooners are unranked for the first time since 2009.

6. West Virginia (6-4, 4-3): Things only get tougher for the Mountaineers with K-State up next.

7. Oklahoma State (5-4, 3-3): Can become bowl eligible with a victory over Texas.

8. Texas Tech (3-6, 1-5): Bye week came at a good time for struggling Red Raiders.

9. Kansas (3-6, 1-5): The Jayhawks simply play better when Mark Mangino is in Lawrence.

10. Iowa State (2-7, 0-6): Paul Rhoads could be in trouble if Iowa State falls to Kansas.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kellisrobinett.

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