Big 12 still has playoff hopes with Baylor, WVU undefeated

The Associated Press - October 27, 2016 9:24 am

With Baylor and West Virginia both undefeated halfway through the season, there could still be playoff hopes for the Big 12 Conference.

The eighth-ranked Bears and 10th-ranked Mountaineers have to keep winning.

While many wrote off the Big 12’s chances for a return to the playoffs after Oklahoma’s two nonconference losses in September, Baylor and West Virginia are among seven teams from Power Five leagues still without a loss before the first College Football Playoff rankings of this season are released next week.

When West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about talking to his players about their 6-0 start, he initially answered, “I can assure you I am not going to respond to a College Football Playoff question.”

Because there is a long way to go, with six more Saturdays of games before the four playoff teams will be determined with the final CFP rankings on Dec. 4.

Those final rankings will come a day after Baylor and West Virginia play in a regular-season finale that could become a de facto Big 12 championship game. It could also determine if one of them gets in the playoff, though there is no guaranteed spot for the winner.

The Big 12 is reinstating its actual title game next season, and that will at least provide league teams a “13th data point” for the playoff selection committee to consider like the other Power Five conferences already have.

When Ohio State won the Big Ten championship game 59-0 two years ago, the Buckeyes ended up the fourth playoff team ahead of Big 12 co-champions Baylor and TCU, and went on to win the national championship.

 

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