NCAA Football Report (Week 12)

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When the CFP rankings come out there is only one guarantee, there will be endless debate about who should be in and who should be out.

Last year when the final rankings came out there was one conference that saw the most debate among everyone in college football.

The Big 12 is considered one of the Power Five conferences and has a better shot of earning a spot in the playoff than many other conferences in the league.

Yet despite their standing as one of these Power Five conferences they were shut out of the playoff in the first year.

Both Baylor and TCU were one-loss teams in 2014 which put them alongside teams like Alabama, Oregon, and Ohio State.

When the second to last rankings came out TCU was inside the top four and despite a win in their last game of the season they were kicked out of the playoffs in place of Ohio State.

Both teams ended up outside looking in while fans and analysts wondered why that was the case.

The reasoning seemed to be more about their schedules than anything else as the Big 12 is the only Power Five Conference without a championship game.

That doesn’t help when every other major team has an extra week to show what they have to the CFP committee.

Not to mention that Baylor and TCU ended up tied for the Big 12 Championship after both took a loss.

It was tough to decide which team was better as Baylor had beat TCU during the year but they also lost to an unranked team in West Virginia.

Those losses and a weaker schedule kept them out of the playoff and hoping for a better result in 2015.

This year the Big 12 has had a much better showing in the NCAA but that is not necessarily a great thing for the teams.

When the first CFP rankings came out four teams within the top 15 teams as Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma State were all undefeated and Oklahoma only had one loss.

It looked almost inevitable that at least one of these four teams was going to find their way to the top four.

Then the success of the conference as a whole began to weigh on the teams and their playoff hopes began to fade.

The next week TCU took their first loss at the hands of Oklahoma State ending their hopes of a playoff spot.

Then the next week Oklahoma beat Baylor dropping them from the ranks of the undefeated and sinking their hopes of a playoff spot.

This week the Big 12 continued their cannibalization when Baylor beat Oklahoma State ending their winning streak.

There are no longer any undefeated teams in the conference and the playoff hopes for every team are very slim.

Last year no team got into the top four and only two had a one-loss season.football-sidebar

As a result it was believed that the Big 12 champion needed to be undefeated and get some help if they were going to find their way to the playoff.

It is turning out to be a difficult spot for the Big 12 as they can’t seem to win no matter how good they are.

On one hand they have a strong conference, which is what has made the SEC a strong conference, with four ranked teams all with only one loss.

They don’t seem to get much credit for that strong schedule though and instead are being punished for losing games against good teams in their own division.

They will once again be hurt by the lack of a championship game as every team only has one game against each other to prove that they belong.

It might not be enough again this year and the Big 12 will quickly become the example as to why the playoff system doesn’t work.

There is a point to it as well with teams like Alabama taking the week to play Charleston Southern while team in the Big 12 faced their toughest challenges in each other rather than an FCS team.

Yet still Alabama will not see any downgrade of their season after facing teams like CHSO, Middle Tennessee, and Louisiana Monroe and losing to an Ole Miss team that is in and out of the top 15.

Alabama will remain near the top despite a schedule that includes these four weaker opponents and four currently ranked teams, none of which are in the top 10 in the latest CFP rankings.

Still a one-loss Alabama team remains “better” than a one-loss Big 12 team whose schedule only includes two FCS teams and a loss to a top ten team.

The debate will continue and as the new rankings come out things may only get cloudier with rivalry week and championship week right around the corner ready to change everything before the final rankings.

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Key Scores:
#9 Michigan State Spartans 17 – 14 Ohio State Buckeyes #3
– The Buckeyes had been criticized all year for their week schedule in relation to their top four ranking but their schedule got tough this week and the Spartans proved that the defending champions may not belong in the playoff

#10 Baylor Bears 45 – 35 Oklahoma State Cowboys #6
– The Cowboys seemed to be on their way to the Big 12 title as the only team left unbeaten in the conference but the Bears changed that as they took care of the Big 12’s best hope of finding the playoff

#22 Ole Miss Rebels 38 – 17 LSU Tigers #15
– The tigers were on a path to the playoff until they suffered their first loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide and since then they have not been the same team which was shown this week when the Rebels beat them and sealed their fate for the season

#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 19 – 16 Boston College Eagles
– The Fighting Irish held their latest Shamrock Series game at Fenway Park but it did not go the way they had hoped as the Boston College Eagles were able to stick around thanks to five turnovers bringing some doubt to Notre Dame’s place in the rankings

Next Week:
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers (Saturday November 28th; 3:30 pm ET)
– It is rivalry week and although the Tide are clearly the better team this year the Iron Bowl has been one of the most unpredictable rivalry games in the NCAA with strange things happening when Auburn and Alabama face-off

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans (Saturday November 28th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Spartans are riding high from their win over the Buckeyes but they need to re-focus and avoid an upset from their rivals as the Lions hope for nothing more than to shut down the Spartans’ great season and take home the Land Grant Trophy

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Stanford Cardinal (Saturday November 28th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Fighting Irish entered Week 12 as #4 but many don’t believe they belong in the top four with no signature win but their final game of the season gives them the chance as they hope to beat Stanford and take home a signature win and the Legends Trophy

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Saturday November 28th; 8:00 pm ET)
– The Big 12 has been fun this season with so many great teams but it will all come down to this game as the Sooners and Cowboys face-off again in what should be the most appropriately named game of the week as they face-off in 2015’s version of Bedlam

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