WACO, Texas - Art Briles should not be faulted for lobbying for his team. The fault is that he waited so long to do it.
The head coach of the Baylor men's football team waited until the final week of the season before he took to the "whistle stop" tour to openly complain, whine and moan about the college football playoff committee, and the randomness of its criteria to rank teams.
This week, Briles went to the national airwaves to make his case that Baylor should be ranked ahead of TCU because of the Bears' 61-58 win earlier this season. And immediately after Baylor defeated Kansas State 38-27 on Saturday night in Waco, Briles made a point of essentially showing up the commissioner of the Big 12, Bob Bowlsby.
For a league that built itself around "One True Champion", Briles is irate that the Big 12 boss is now hiding behind the college football playoff committee to decide which one is which, Baylor or TCU.
"I'm not obligated to him," Briles said in the press conference after the game. "I'm obligated to Baylor University and my football team. They need to be obligated to us because we're helping the Big 12's image in the nation."
And Bowlsby is not obligated to Briles. He has to deal with those committee members, and he is not about to set up a precedent that could damage his league in the future.
For the record: TCU is the better football team.
In Briles' eyes, the Big 12's reluctance to say Baylor is the champ and present them to the committee as its best team not only hurts his team, but this league. Not sure I buy that, but he has to make this case. This is his team, his school, and he must fight for both.
On Saturday night, Briles fiercely fought for his team like he was a lawyer. He even offered some case to defend BU's non-conference schedule about the challenges of playing Buffalo (not the Bills) on the road. He made the case that if you took the names of the teams off a board, his team's resume would compare to any.
The committee is going to do whatever it wants, regardless of what a one true champion says. SEC boss Mike Slive made sure of that when he successfully lobbied that a playoff team did not have to win its conference title.
Do not blame Briles for complaining, or making his case. He has to. TCU head coach Gary Patterson has been doing it for weeks, only he was a tad more subtle. They all do it.
The only complaint is that Briles should have been complaining weeks ago.
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