Baylor really, really wants to be in the College Football Playoff’s final four when that is announced on Sunday, so it has brought in the big guns: A public-relations firm.
Jake Trotter, a Big 12 reporter for ESPN.com, had a string of tweets about the matter on Monday.
Baylor is saying that it, and not TCU, should be in the College Football Playoff should the Bears beat Kansas State and the Horned Frogs beat Iowa State on Saturday. Should that happen, both teams would have identical 11-1 overall records, and 8-1 records in the Big 12, which would consider the teams co-champions because it doesn’t have a conference title game.
The Bears do have one thing in their favor: They beat TCU by three points on Oct. 11. But that isn’t the only thing the College Football Committee considers when looking at similarly strong teams. There’s strength of schedule: TCU’s three nonconference games were against FCS Samford, Minnesota and SMU. Baylor also played SMU, following that season opener up with games against FCS Northwestern State and Buffalo. And there’s also games against common opponents: TCU may have lost to Baylor, but it was able to win at West Virginia, something the Bears can’t say.
The newest College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Tuesday night. TCU was No. 5 in last week’s rankings but seems poised to move into the top four by virtue of its win over Texas and No. 4 Mississippi State’s loss to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. The Bears were ranked No. 7 in last week’s rankings.
Jim Pagels of Forbes has praised Baylor’s move to hire a P.R. firm, saying that by taking computer rankings out of the national-title equation, we’re turning things over entirely to humans who are easily swayed. In other words, the school is just trying to game the system using the established rules. But in the end Baylor’s attempts to get journalists on its side will fall flat, because if the playoff committee is paying attention to what journalists are saying rather than how teams are actually performing on the field, then what’s the point of its existence?