There are two things that have been common for life in the Big 12 for half a decade now, Oklahoma winning the conference championship and fans fearing that life in the Big 12 isn’t good enough to qualify for the College Football Playoff. In 2020 it only took one week of conference play for the latter of those two to take place. Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State dropping season openers to the Sun Belt sent fans into a social media frenzy with proclamations that a Big 12 champion wouldn’t qualify this year.
Of course we’ve heard that over and over for several years now. Despite Oklahoma making CFP semifinal appearances in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the belief that a watered down Big 12 will doom the conference champion still exists. By the way, has anyone checked on the depth of the ACC recently? Clemson is a perennial CFP participant in a conference that includes the likes of Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Pitt, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. That’s not necessarily a collection of college football powers and yet no one is questioning the integrity of the ACC.
Evidence shows that an undefeated, or one loss, Big 12 champion will qualify for the College Football Playoff once again. There’s no way around it. Especially in the era of COVID-19.
Yes, the Big 10 is once again a player in all of this. The conference announced this week that it is starting up competition next month. That won’t change the percentages for the Big 12 though. In fact, there’s a better chance that the Big 10 is disqualified by its own guidelines than it hinders a Big 12 champion from going to the playoffs.
In my opinion we hit the panic button way too early this year. Oklahoma and Texas both looked very strong in their openers, and Oklahoma State is expected to be a contender as well. That’s all you need! Yes, 2020 has been a crazy year and college football has brought us some sense of normalcy. That includes fans freaking out about the conference not being strong enough to place a champion in the playoff. Even with the failed flex by the Big 10, the sheep mentality of the Pac 12, and the uncertainty of positive test and contact tracing there’s one truth that remains, the Big 12 champion has an inside track to the College Football Playoff.
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