By Trey Gregory
A lot has changed for Baylor and the Big 12 in the past week as far as national rankings go.
Baylor moved from two to four in the AP Top 25, Oklahoma State moved from 10 to five and TCU dropped from three to 13. Baylor was also snubbed in the first College Football Playoff Committee’s ranking, coming in at six.
Baylor fans were rightfully upset that the playoff committee didn’t rank them higher; the Bears earned a higher spot in the rankings than what they were given. I do, however, agree with the drop in the AP rankings and I hope it is a wakeup call to the team.
To be frank, Baylor played bad against an unranked Kansas State team. The Wildcats are well coached, but are not a good team. Jarrett Stidham played great in his first start, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the defense couldn’t stop an abysmal KState offense and the run game was nonexistent.
Baylor simply had no answer for Kansas State’s rushing attack which allowed the Wildcats to control the time of possession and almost tie the game with a fourth quarter rally.
Baylor seems to do this. They show up for big games but seemingly sleep on teams they’re supposed to beat and don’t always put their best foot forward.
The playoff committee sent a clear message to Baylor; there is zero room for error. Not only does Baylor need to win out, but they need to win big against teams they’re supposed to beat handily.
This season is playoffs or bust to me. A third Big 12 title is nothing to snub your nose at, but Baylor has already proved they’re capable of wining the Big 12. Now it’s time to prove Baylor can beat the best teams in the nation, especially those who reside outside their conference.
Baylor wont get a chance to prove they’re one of the best teams in the nation if they have another game like they did on Thursday. Wins against Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State will make a huge statement, but they also need to play a great game against Texas for their last chance to prove they deserve a playoff spot. This team simply can’t just show up, sneak by with a win and expect to be in the playoffs.
I don’t want people to think I’m being overly negative about this team though. If I sound disappointed, it’s because I truly believe this is the best team I’ve ever seen Baylor field. They’re better than they played against Kansas State and I want them to play to their full potential every week.
I also hope that another week will help Andrew Billings get healthy. Baylor’s inability to stop the run on Thursday just proves how valuable Billings is to the team when he’s healthy. Baylor may have one of the best offenses in the nation, but they need their defense to make plays too.
The good news is that they should have plenty of motivation to finish the season strong. There are the obvious rankings, but Oklahoma State also made a statement that no team is safe in the Big 12 when they manhandled TCU on Saturday. The Bears should be on full alert the rest of the season and ready to prove all the doubters wrong.