College Confidential: Does Baylor or Texas A&M have a shot at national title game?

Posted Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Stefan Stevenson sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at star-telegram.com.

TCU could change the tone of its season Saturday with an upset of No. 21 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. Can the Horned Frogs make it happen on the road?

Jimmy: They’ll need to be sharper on offense than they have been at any point this season. But that’s not out the question. This OSU team has shown more flaws than expected for a team chosen as the preseason favorite in the Big 12 media poll.

Stefan: With the way the offense has performed, a win Saturday would be more shocking than the Frogs beating Texas on Thanksgiving a year ago. Trevone Boykin will at some point this season have a game that reminds people how athletically gifted he is. A year ago, he played his least effective game in Stillwater. If he’s going to show those flashes of brilliance again, Saturday against OSU would be the time to do it.

Texas stunned Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, making embattled coach Mack Brown a more popular figure this week in Austin. Should Mack still be shown the door at the end of the season if the Longhorns win the Big 12 title?

Jimmy: If the Longhorns win it outright, with a 10-2 record and a nine-game sweep of their Big 12 opponents, I think the postseason option reverts back to Mack’s wishes, not the agenda of the new athletic director. If Texas shares the title or fails to earn a ring, I think the call rests with the new AD and other school officials.

Stefan: If Texas doesn’t lose again no way should Brown be forced out. He may want to retire anyway with his longtime AD leaving in August. Winning the Big 12 after such a tough start would be a cool way for him to say goodbye. But if he still wants to coach, I think Texas would be horrible firing him if he wins the league.

Organizers of the College Football Playoff have announced their 13-member selection committee for next season. If the playoff system were in place this year, which of the three Texas schools currently in the Top 25 (Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech) would be most competitive in a four-team playoff bracket?

Jimmy: Texas A&M is best-positioned, at No. 7 in the AP poll, to qualify for this hypothetical opportunity. But I’m not sure the Aggies’ defense is good enough to run the table and win a four-team playoff. Baylor probably is better-equipped defensively to pull it off. And I’d hate to face either of those offenses in a one-and-done situation. Tech would bring the most intriguing defense to the mix but lacks the offensive firepower to keep pace with elite teams, in my estimation.

Stefan: I think you nailed it, Jimmy. I wouldn’t want to play either the Aggies or Bears in a playoff game, especially if I only had one week to prepare for those offenses. I’m not as sold on Tech at the moment. I think they’ll lose three league games before it’s over. That’s still a heck of a first season for likely Big 12 Coach of the Year Kliff Kingsbury.

The 2013 season will be the last in college football to decide a national champion without a playoff. Who plays in this year’s BCS National Championship Game and which school with local ties has the best chance to be a surprise participant in January?

Jimmy: It’s hard to go against an Alabama-Oregon finale, based on what we’ve seen through the first half of the season. But under the current system, I like A&M’s chance to wiggle through as a surprise participant in Pasadena, Calif., more than Baylor’s. We’ve seen other SEC schools with one loss in that game. I’m not sure the Bears, even with an undefeated record, will get enough credit for blitzing the Big 12 to earn a spot unless Baylor is the lone 12-0 team still standing.

Stefan: Baylor has some tough tests remaining in the Big 12. Games against Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU will be tough. I don’t think Baylor — or any team in the Big 12 — is going to make it through unscathed.

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