What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Now that we have the field for our first four-team college football playoff, we have our first #5 who doesn’t like the system. Not to say I told you so…but I told you so.
Baylor head football coach Art Briles took to the podium after his Bears came up #5 in the final rankings, and he isn’t very happy.
Following Baylor’s 38-27 win over Kansas State on Saturday night, Art Briles took turns pounding his chest in the general direction of both Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and the College Football Playoff selection committee, particularly ex-coaches Tom Osborne, Barry Alvarez and Tyrone Willingham.
“I’m not obligated to (Bowlsby). I’m obligated to Baylor University and our football team,” Briles said after cameras caught him in a tense exchange with Bowlsby on the podium. “And we just happen to be a part of the Big 12. And we happen to be the champion two years in a row. So they need to be obligated to us, because we’re helping the Big 12’s image in the nation.”
First of all, let me say that Art Briles deserves a freight train full of credit for what he has done in Waco. Five years ago, Baylor was the back-water of college football, and the fact that Briles has the Bears at the top of the Big 12 heap, with a Heisman trophy winner and two conference titles, is nothing short of amazing. The man can coach…there’s no debating that. But as you wade through the transcript of his post-playoff snub press conference, it is clear he doesn’t understand what this play-off is really all about.
The first clue is in that comment about the “Big 12’s image in the nation.” Not to take anything away from what Briles as done with Baylor, and certainly not to do that with what Gary Patterson has accomplished at TCU, but Briles needs to understand that to the college football world outside of Big 12 territory, Texas and Oklahoma are the rock stars of this conference. It’s not fair, but the reality is those two old, storied programs are the David Lee Roth of the Big 12, while Baylor and TCU are the Sammy Hagar. Don’t get me wrong, Sammy could rock with the best of them, and we love him as a tequila salesman now, but when people picture classic Van Halen, they see David Lee Roth karate-kicking his way through that “Jump” video.
He then challenged the ex-coaches to view his Bears as they would view their own teams. “Coach (Tom) Osborne, who’s a Hall of Fame coach: If Nebraska had our résumé, would you have them in the final four?” Briles said. “Barry Alvarez with Wisconsin: If Wisconsin had our résumé, would you have them in the final four? Tyrone Willingham. Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame. If they had our résumé, would you vote them in the final four? That would be my case. Look at the résumés and then make a decision.”
It was a valiant effort, but it didn’t work. Baylor passed TCU, but it could not pass Ohio State. The Bears were ranked fifth, and instead of a Sugar Bowl date with No. 1 Alabama, they’ll settle for a Cotton Bowl berth against No. 8 Michigan State.
Speaking after the announcement on Sunday, Briles petitioned that regional bias is what did the Bears in.
Coach Briles, with all due respect…you are talking out of your ass here. “Regional bias” is why you are getting to stay in Texas for you r bowl game. The Cotton Bowl people loved the idea that they were going to get either you or TCU; they know fans of either school will pack that place. They also know you were going to get a pre-exposed B1G Ten team as an opponent, and one that likely won’t travel particularly well.
This is where you have to consider the other side of the coin. The committee picked Ohio State over you not because of regional issues; but because the Buckeyes have a fanbase the size of a small city. Think of it this way, Art. Can you find more Ohio State fans in Texas, or more Baylor fans in Ohio? Ohio State is a gargatuan state school with eleventy bazillion alumni, a large number of whom are dedicated football fans. This is about numbers, Art.
Remember the days 25 years ago when we didn’t have 400 bowl games, and had independents who mattered. This is why Penn State was always either in the Sugar Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl, and which ever bowl didn’t get Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions got Notre Dame.
In a lot of ways, this four-team play-off brings us back to those days. Yeah, there are about 500 bowl games now, but only the two which can get you to a championship game matter now. Briles is pissed he and Baylor were frozen out of those, and maybe he’s got a point. That argument is for another day. The discussion for today is all about is Briles claim about “regional bias” legitimate.
The easy answer is no. It really goes back to the “David Lee Roth” factor. Had Baylor won a league in which Texas and/or Oklahoma mattered on the national landscape, they would have easily been in the football version of the “Final Four.” In other words, Baylor’s exclusion isn’t regional’; it’s practical.
Think about it. If there was a team the committee would love to wash its hands of, that would be Florida State. We all know Florida State is undefeated only because it plays in the ACC, where for the longest time it looked they would face Duke in the conference championship game. We all know the college football world can’t wait to wash it’s hands of Jameis “Crab Legs” Winston . And we all know the NCAA needs to legitimize conferences which have a championship game. Those games are literally a license to print money.
Having said that, let’s go back to the “numbers” thing. Baylor has become a force in the college football world, but there is no way they can match the fanbase of those goddamn Buckeyes. Ohio State can travel a fan base the size of an infantry division, and the town they travel to will feel no less invaded. But rather than bullets and shells, the invading Buckeye army will leave a trail of dollars. The good people in New Orleans are going to bank a ton of Buckeye bucks by having Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl rather than Baylor. Baylor might have an awesome fan base, but there’s about 500 of them.
“My opinion, since people are asking? I think the committee needs to be a little more regionalized with people that are associated with the south part of the United States,” Briles told ESPN.com. “I’ll say that. I’m not sure if there’s a connection on there that is that familiar with the Big 12 Conference. To me, that’s an issue.”
The Big 12 is represented on the committee by West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck, but he’s not exactly a born-and-bred Southerner. Luck was raised in Cleveland and played at West Virginia well before the Mountaineers were rubbing elbows with the likes of Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma.
For his part, Briles had a few names in mind to make the 2015 committee a little more Southern-fried, offering former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, former Texas coach Mack Brown and former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum on SportsCenter as candidates he’d like to be considered.
“When Archie Manning went off, I said we’re in trouble,” Briles said. “I know Archie. He’s a friend. He understands football down here. When he went off that committee, we were in trouble. We need a voice. We need a voice.”
A voice? First of all, this isn’t that stupid-ass show about amateur singers. Even it it were, Blake Shelton is an Oklahoma guy who wouldn’t have been able to help to help you after the Sooners gagged against Oklahoma State. Toby Keith was there, and even if he he lined up the entire Country Music Association, God made Oklahoma to be the rock star of the Big 12. Once they lost to Oklahoma State, the fate of the “champion” of the Big 12 was sealed.
Whether Art Briles wants to understand it or not, the Big 12 just isn’t that big.