College Sports

College Confidential: Baylor making its move

Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Carlos Mendez sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at star-telegram.com:

No. 5 TCU (9-1) and No. 7 Baylor (8-1) find themselves on the fringes of the College Football Playoff’s projected four-team bracket heading into Saturday’s games. Are the two teams ranked in their proper order, based on playoff worthiness?

Jimmy: Yes. At this point, TCU still has a more impressive body of work this season. But the gap shrinks each week. If Baylor posts a dominant win Saturday over Oklahoma State, it might be time to reconsider the pecking order.

Carlos: Yeah, they are, but that’s not to say Baylor isn’t playoff-worthy. The way the Bears are playing right now, they’d give anybody a game. If they stay on a roll against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and K-State, they’re going to put real pressure on TCU and the committee.

Both TCU and Baylor need to win their remaining games to maximize their playoff hopes. Which team is more likely to pull that off?

Jimmy: Baylor. The Bears do not have a road game remaining on their schedule, and the offense seems to be gaining strength in recent weeks. TCU has struggled in its last two road wins (West Virginia, Kansas) and faces an improving Texas team in Austin on Thanksgiving night. That’s no easy task.

Carlos: If you’d rather have to win two games than three, then you like TCU’s chances. But TCU’s got to play in one more unfriendly environment than Baylor does, and against a better defense than anything Baylor will see the rest of the way. Tough call.

Based on conference tie-ins, there is a chance that Texas (6-5) and Texas A&M (7-4) could meet Dec. 29 in the Houston Bowl. Would you favor resuming that series in a second-tier bowl or continuing the cold war between two rivals that have not played since 2011?

Jimmy: Pair them together and make them play. It’s time to get past the ruffled feathers of the realignment era. Having it happen in a Texas-based bowl makes it that much better.

Carlos: Let’s keep the cold war going. It’s a storyline for the ages — they go years without meeting until suddenly, some year down the road, they’re in a national semifinal against each other — and we could say we saw it.

With the dismissal of Florida’s Will Muschamp, we have the first high-profile coaching vacancy of the off-season. When the coaching carousel stops spinning in January, which head football coach from a Texas or Big 12 school is most likely to have a different address in 2015?

Jimmy: I’m not sure anyone is leaving. But if I had to pick someone who might, my guess would be Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy. I believe Bob Stoops is staying at Oklahoma, no matter how many vacancies surface at other power programs.

Carlos: I don’t think anybody’s gotten themselves fired around here, but boy, Kliff Kingsbury’s come close. That’s one disappointing year up in Lubbock. Maybe the new quarterback can play.

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