Baylor smarting from College Football Playoff snub

The Baylor Bears finished the regular season as Co-Big 12 Champions.

Jerome Miron/Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor’s played nice for the past three weeks since it happened. The Bears have talked a lot about themselves and Michigan State and not much about the biggest story in the Big 12 this season. 

It’s only natural that at some point, the Bears’ disdain for their playoff snub would seep out from underneath trite platitudes repeated at bowl sites everywhere. 

"I guess the TCU game didn’t matter to most people and it was evident right off the bat," Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said Sunday. "Then the other thing, when you’ve got two Big 12 teams that are No. 3 and No. 6 and none of them get in, that’s motivation when you feel that our conference we played week in and week out isn’t good enough to get in the top four. 

"It pisses us off." 

Thursday’s game against Michigan State, Petty said, isn’t about revenge against the committee or making a pointless statement that Baylor truly belonged in this year’s playoff, but a win might mean a little something for future Baylor teams that find themselves in the same position as the 2014 squad. 

"(It’s about) the name on the front and the name on the back," Petty said. "That’s what we’re going to do, go show that we are a national power."

True national power Ohio State, owner of seven national titles and seven Heisman trophies, earned the No. 4 spot ahead of the Bears, spawning theories that if the name on the front of Baylor’s jersey had read "Texas" or "Sooners," the playoff committee’s top four would have looked different. 

"Most definitely. If we had a bigger name like that, I feel like those guys would have been in quick, but being Baylor, we’ve been making a name for ourselves in the last couple years and have to try to remain at the top," receiver Antwan Goodley said. "I kind of already knew what the committee thought about Baylor. I knew they probably would not put us in the playoffs. I’d say half of that is on us, but we can’t control that." 

Baylor’s 14-point loss at West Virginia a week after beating TCU 61-58 provided the kindling for a fiery debate that raged through the final week of the season. Baylor passed TCU in the final College Football Playoff poll, but the consolation prize didn’t satisfy much after being denied the grand prize of a spot in the top four. 

In 2014, Baylor joined Oklahoma as the only Big 12 teams to win consecutive Big 12 titles.

"We’re not scrubby little Baylor anymore," Bears offensive lineman Spencer Drango said. 

They’re not, but they’re still a long, long way from being truly considered a national power. That’s not to say it’s impossible. 

Before Steve Spurrier’s arrival at Florida in 1990, the Gators had zero conference titles and zero national titles. They’ve won the SEC seven times and the national championship thrice in 25 years and cemented their status as one of college football’s blueblooded programs. 

Art Briles’ second Big 12 title gave him as many as Bill Snyder and Mack Brown had at Kansas State and Baylor and the Bears’ rapid growth has them on track to win another before long. 

"This isn’t the Baylor from 10 years ago. Hopefully, sooner or later, people will and accept us for our play on the field and not who we were back in the day," Petty said. "Teams change. You’ve got to adapt and understand some people don’t want it that way. Some people want the big money schools and that’s fine. But we’re going to go out here and play football and we’re going to be dang good at it. That’s our motivation."