Written by The Dark Knight of Sports LaShawn Encarnacion
As Wednesday begins, the college football world is still in shock and awe about how the Big XII conference can once again be left out of the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings. A 1-loss Alabama Crimson Tide team is ahead of Baylor and Oklahoma State who are both undefeated. An independent Notre Dame is undefeated and ahead of these teams from what debated as a power five conference in sports.
But The Dark Knight of Sports saw it coming. On his podcast Monday Night, he predicted the top four 100-percent accurately. Even had Iowa in the first two out, which for most sports experts on ESPN and other mainstream outlets was deemed ludicrous. So how did The Dark Knight of Sports hit the mark while so many others missed it? Its not as complicated as most think.
The first issue the Big XII is having is scheduling their opponents. This has been a on-going issue for most conferences as they have agreements with schools well in advance and the College Football Playoffs are a new edition to the equation. Just two years old and still in the developmental stage, when you have schools on your schedule who are considered “cupcakes” it does leave a bad taste in the selection committee’s mouths as they are evaluating these rankings.
Which leads to the second reason why the Big XII is having issues defending its case for a top four spot, the level of competition throughout the season. The top three teams of the Big XII did not start their meat of the schedule (and by meat meaning ranked competition) until last week in their own conference. Granted they meet up for the rest of the season but to the viewing public AND the selection committee, it comes off as not having played real competition, which is one of the criteria of the new College Football Playoff system.
Another issue is how the Big XII performs during their games. Especially in the case of Baylor, the Big XII is a much high powered offense but with very little defense. With other conferences, especially in the Big Ten and SEC, defense is not only played but coached through and through. Even Notre Dame can have their games where their defense is ahead of their offense. The Big XII is not really known for having strong defenses within its conference. That come playoff time is always taken into consideration for the best possible match ups.
One of the most important reasons that the Big XII will continue to be scrutinized and likely left out of the College Football Playoffs is that the other power conferences have a championship game while the Big XII still is without one. The Conference Championship game puts the two best teams in the conference against each other for the sole right to be called champion. This happened to TCU and Baylor just last year. Both teams were undefeated and BOTH were left out of the College Football Playoffs because there was so much indecisiveness as to which was worthy.
With the exception of TCU, as of today, two teams truly stand a chance of making the playoffs but in order to do so must run the table … on each other. Oklahoma State already took down TCU and out of consideration. Baylor must run the table as well against the Sooners of OU this Saturday and Baylor as well. In the end, there STILL may be no Big XII team in the College Football Playoffs. Only time and the played games during these last weeks of the season will tell.
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