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Baylor Remains +700 Longshot to Qualify for College Football Playoff; Oklahoma (+310) Still Big 12 Favorites

McLane Stadium at Baylor
McLane Stadium at Baylor University has yet to witness a loss this season, but the Bears remain longshots to make the College Football Playoff. Photo by Djyueng (Wiki Commons).
  • The Baylor Bears needed 3 OT to beat the TCU Horned Frogs (29-23) and stay undefeated in Week 11
  • Baylor is still a +700 longshot to qualify for the College Football Playoff, while one-loss Oklahoma is at +310
  • The Bears host the Sooners in a Big-12 showdown this Saturday at 7:30 PM ET (Nov. 16)

The Baylor Bears (9-0, 6-0 in Big 12, No. 12 CFP) needed three overtimes to beat the TCU Horned Frogs, 29-23, in Week 11 to stay undefeated.

Matt Rhule’s never-say-die team, which has led a charmed existence in 2019, are the Big 12’s lone unbeaten. But the Bears are still a +700 longshot to qualify for the College Football Playoff, while the Oklahoma Sooners (8-1, 5-1 Big 12, No. 9 CFP) are at +310 to make the four-team field.

The top-two teams in the Big 12 will meet in Waco on Saturday, Nov. 16, in a virtual CFP elimination game.

Odds to Make/Miss College Football Playoff

Team Odds to Make CFP Odds to Miss CFP
Alabama +220 -260
Baylor +700 -1000
Clemson -650 +500
Georgia +180 -220
LSU -800 +600
Minnesota +600 -800
Ohio State -500 +400
Oklahoma +310 -370
Oregon +290 -350
Utah +600 -800

Odds as of Nov. 12.

There are only ten teams still on the board in the Four-Team Playoff odds. LSU, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama have the shortest odds to be selected for the College Football Playoff.

Conversely, the likes of Minnesota (fresh off that statement win over Penn State), Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and that pesky Baylor are the longshots.

Should the Bears be better than +700? After all, they’re one of only five undefeated teams left in the nation.

Charmed Life

The short answer is no. While Baylor joins Ohio State, LSU, Clemson, and Minnesota among the remaining unbeatens, each of those programs owns at least one win over a ranked opponent. Not so for the Bears. They’ve gotten fat against inferior competition.

And they’ve done so with their fair share of luck. Along with Week 11’s miraculous three-overtime win, Baylor needed a last-second field goal to beat Iowa State 23-21 in Week 5 and were the beneficiaries of an overtime officiating error (which the conference later admitted to) in a 33-30 Week 7 double-overtime victory over Texas Tech.

It’s true that you can only play the schedule you’ve been given. But you don’t have to play it so close. Very little about Baylor’s on-field product suggests it’s an elite team.

Everything In Front of Them

Of course, Baylor can earn that elusive win over a ranked opponent this Saturday if it knocks off Oklahoma on the banks of the Brazos. The Sooners are the four-time defending conference champions and were ranked No. 5 before being stunned by Kansas State, 48-41, in Week 9. Baylor last beat OU in 2014 (when the program won its second of two consecutive Big 12 titles) and is 3-25 against the Sooners all-time.

The huge Week 12 tilt is followed by a home game against Texas the following week. The Longhorns have been up-and-down in 2019, but are still the Longhorns. The Bears’ last win over UT also came in 2014.

Baylor closes out the 2019 slate in Lawrence against Kansas. While not super daunting, I just don’t see Baylor winning out. Its offensive struggles are no joke. The Bears only mustered 294 total yards against TCU — with 90 of those coming in three overtimes!

What if?

But what if they do win out? What if Rhule’s bunch finishes 13-0 with two wins over Oklahoma (its likely Big 12 Championship Game opponent)?  Would the CFP Selection Committee bypass an undefeated Baylor in favor of a one-loss Alabama, Oregon or Utah?

Potentially.

Here’s the doomsday scenario for Baylor. Georgia finishes as the 12-1 SEC champion; LSU finishes as the 12-1 SEC runner-up;  Ohio State and Clemson go undefeated in the Big Ten and ACC, respectively. If that happens, even a 13-0 Baylor is likely to be on the outside looking in.

Save your money and fade the Bears making the CFP.

Pick: No (-1000)

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