Week 9

Texas 35, Baylor 34: What Does It All Mean For The College Football Playoff?

Texas stunned Baylor 35-34 to all but ruin the Big 12’s College Football Playoff hopes. What does it all mean?

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Texas 35, Baylor 34: What Does It All Mean To The College Football Playoff?

Big picture, that’s it for the Big 12 and the College Football Playoff. No, having a conference championship game wouldn’t matter at this point – the conference just isn’t good enough. With West Virginia losing to Oklahoma State – and badly – and Texas now beating Baylor, that’s it. An 11-1 Big 12 champ almost certainly won’t get in, and Oklahoma isn’t making it at 10-2.

This means it’s on for the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC champions, and it knocks out another option in the way of a possible 11-1 Michigan – if it loses to Ohio State – or an 11-1 Louisville.

And there’s the Baylor defense we all know and love. It failed in the clutch, it gave up big play after big play to Shane Buechele and the passing attack, and it got rolled over by D’Onta Foreman and a brilliant 250-yard, two-score day on 32 carries. The offense failed to close in the fourth quarter, but it did enough to win. The D let the Bears down.

But that Baylor offense ran all over the Longhorn defense. And that’s going to be the killer for the Bears. The passing game did what it was supposed to do against the awful Texas secondary, and the ground game rumbled with Terence Williams coming up with 180 yards and a score and Seth Russell – even he came up with a very interesting final drive – running for 138 yards and a touchdown, to go along with 226 passing yards and two scores. But the O couldn’t come up with more than a field goal in the fourth and left the door open.

So now how hot is the seat under Charlie Strong? It’s fine for the moment, but it’s still going to take a whole lot of work to get by the Texas Tech passing game last week and West Virginia the week after. But now a bowl game appears possible, and while that might not be enough to save Strong’s gig, there are enough positives to think that maybe the program is really, really close to turning the corner. Finally.

Baylor can still take the Big 12 title by winning out, but with road games at Oklahoma and West Virginia still to play, and nasty home dates with TCU, Kansas State and Texas Tech, this was one it couldn’t give away.