Stacey Mickles

Will Four-Team Playoff Hurt The Big 12?

Created on May. 27, 2014 6:59 AM EST

Now that the college football minds have decided to go to a four-team playoff to decide the national champion, the question on most Big 12 fans' minds is whether it will help or hurt the conference.

Conventional wisdom says it should help. Two Big 12 teams, Oklahoma and Baylor, both played in BCS bowls last season, indicating the conference still is regarded among college football experts.

The problem for the Big 12 may come with selecting a representative for the playoff. The SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC all have championship games. The winner of those games likely will get strong consideration for the four-team playoff.

That will hurt the Big 12, especially against a one-loss team from a better conference. A team with a close loss against a quality opponent that went on to win its conference may edge a one-loss Oklahoma or Baylor. As fans may recall, that scenario played out a few years ago with Oklahoma State and Alabama. Both teams had one loss and pollsters picked the Tide over the Cowboys because Bama's loss was against a good LSU team and Oklahoma State lost to a bad Iowa State team, which killed its chances despite blowing out Oklahoma the following week.

That's been the conference's problem; it produces good teams with bad loses. Kansas State was in contention for a national championship a couple of years ago until it had a bad loss to unranked Baylor. You can't make a case for making it to the playoffs with a loss to a disregarded team. 

The best way to ensure a Big 12 team makes the playoff is to go undefeated. If a team like an Oklahoma goes undefeated, it will almost guarantee it will be in the playoffs.

OU head coach Bob Stoops says he isn't too concerned about the format, but he hopes that strength of schedule will make a difference. 

“I don’t know how you get away from that,” Stoops said. “There’s no way around it. I don’t care who you have. If you have a human — I don’t care if it’s coaches; I don’t care if it’s reporters; I don’t care who it is — everybody has either a bias or an allegiance to something, or is influenced by something. Or someone they answer to.”

More likely than not, an undefeated Big 12 champion will jump ahead of an ACC or Big Ten champion because of the conference's reputation.

The key for the Big 12 is to win big, look impressive doing it and go undefeated. Leave no doubt in the committee's mind who is the best in the country because at this point, there is no room for mistakes.

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