Who's the Best Bet for a Big 12 Playoff Team?
If you're a Big 12 college football fan, you want to see your favorite team validate the strength of the conference by getting into the college football playoff. This season has been an interesting one for the conference, and, while a playoff run isn't assured, it could still happen.
The Current Top Big 12 Teams
Right now, Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma holds the best Big 12 record, with a 4-0 conference standing. However, they are currently 5-2 overall after suffering a rocky 1-2 start. Though a game behind in the conference at 3-0 each, Baylor and West Virginia are 6-0 overall and more highly ranked in the FBS poll than Oklahoma.
Other potential players in the playoff run include Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and TCU, who are all 2-2 in the conference and 4-3 overall. While they are on the outer edges of the playoff race, a streak of good wins against powerful opponents and a collapse from a few key teams could send them there.
Where the Best Teams Are Currently Ranked
Currently, no Big 12 team is located in the top four and only two are in the top 10, according to the AP poll. Oklahoma sits at 16, which is about where its hovered ever since jumping into the rankings. West Virginia has been sitting at around number 10 for the last few weeks, while Baylor rests the highest at number eight.
For Big 12 fans, these rankings are very frustrating, especially when teams with losses (such as Ohio State) are ranked higher than their undefeated teams. This is especially true for Baylor, who has the same exact record as the top four teams. But it is important to remember that strength of schedule and reputation are also considered in the polls.
How They Could Get into the Top Four
Getting into the college playoffs requires getting ranked in the top four at the end of the season, a situation that is voted upon by a selection committee based on the strength of schedule, results in games where teams directly played each other, and results against opponents they have shared.
For any of these Big 12 teams to make it there, a few things are going to have to happen. One of the top teams (No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Clemson, and No. 4 Washington) are going to have to lose to a weaker opponent or to one of the Big 12 teams. As none of the Big 12 teams currently face any of the top four teams, the latter option isn't available.
The best bet here is to hope for Baylor to sweep out the rest of their season, beating tough teams like Oklahoma and West Virginia and hope that Ohio State beats Michigan in their season finale. A perfect Baylor team would likely sneak past Louisville and Washington into the top four this way, although an Alabama or Clemson loss would likely drop them out of the top four as well.