WACO, Texas - Blame is 75 percent of the fun of sports, and in places such as Waco and Fort Worth no one is receiving more faux love than Bob Bowlsby. The Big 12 commissioner is the reason neither TCU nor Baylor is in the college football playoff.
It's not on Bowlsby. It's on TCU. It's on Baylor.
As expected/feared, the top two teams in the Big 12 did not receive an invite to the first ever "Final Four". Instead, both teams will carry the distinction of "The First Two Out", which are not likely to be printed into T-shirts and hats.
As expected, the "playoffs" - i.e. BCS plus 2 - are:
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes in the Sugar Bowl.
No. 2 Oregon Ducks vs. No. 3 Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl.
In the very end, for some reason, the College Football Playoff selection committee finally moved Baylor ahead of TCU. It only took seven weeks.
No. 5 Baylor
No. 6 TCU
And - who cares? Baylor is not celebrating this "achievement". Why did the committee wait until its final poll to factor in the Bears' 61-58 win against TCU back on Oct. 11? Because the committee does whatever it wants, and no PR firm or amount or lobbying from the Big 12 boss was ever going to change anything.
Immediately after Baylor's win against Kansas State on Saturday night in Waco, Baylor coach Art Briles took Bowlsby to task for not presenting his team as the team to present to the committee. Briles was fighting for his team, and while his tact was not ideal, he did what he had to do.
What Briles, and TCU head coach Gary Patterson, and both fan bases need to accept is that it didn't matter. The committee was always going to do whatever it wanted, and the moment it could justify a bigger, power school over TCU or Baylor they were going to do it.
The committee did not care about co-champions. The committee wanted to hear anybody but TCU or Baylor.
Yes - had the Big 12's two best teams been Texas or Oklahoma the conversation would have changed.
TCU and Baylor have done so much, and still have an enormous perception problem. You hear those names, and it's just different than hearing "Oregon", "Ohio State", "Texas", "Florida State".
Despite Briles' lobbying and the considerable success these two teams have had in the past five years, they are not considered equal to Oregon, Alabama, or Ohio State. It may be shortsighted, and stupid, yet it is not plausible to examine this Final Four bracket and think otherwise.
The irony is TCU was thrilled to leave the Mountain West Conference for the Big 12 because it no longer had to be perfect to qualify for a big bowl. Now the Horned Frogs know perfection is the only way to go.
Baylor needs to be perfect, too.
It's not fair. It's not right. And it's not Bowlsby's fault.
Now Baylor and TCU know what they need to do: Not lose.
Now Bowlsby knows what his conference needs to do: Have Texas or Oklahoma as the teams to "present".
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