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Does Baylor still have a shot to make the 2021 College Football Playoff?

Heading into the Big 12 Championship, Baylor’s on the outside looking in for a trip to the CFB post-season. Could the Bears still be in line for a spot?

Baylor Bears head coach Dave Aranda celebrates a missed Kansas State Wildcats field goal during the fourth quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Update 3:35 p.m. With a goal line stand that will never be forgotten, the Baylor Bears claim the Big 12 Championship 21-16. But they didn’t exactly look like one of the best four teams in America while doing so.

Baylor will need help from teams like Cincinnati, Iowa, and Alabama to have any chance of playing in the College Football Playoff.


The Baylor Bears need more than just a win in the Big 12 Championship Game to make the College Football Playoff: They need plenty of help. We find a way forward for the Bears below.

Baylor’s path to the 2021 CFP

When you enter Championship Weekend as the No. 9 team in the rankings with two losses this season, you’re going to need plenty of help to reach the promised land. But here are the best-case scenarios for the Bears:

  • If No. 1 Georgia destroys No. 3 Alabama in the SEC Championship
  • If No. 13 Iowa beats No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten Championship
  • If No. 21 Houston beats No. 4 Cincinnati in the American Conference Championship

With regard to Georgia, the more immolation of the Crimson Tide, the better. A close loss by Bama would still have them ahead of a Big 12 Champion Baylor. To pass Nick Saban’s bunch, they need to get blown off the field in Atlanta.

The same with Iowa, who will need to blow a hole in 10.5-point favorite Michigan. There are scenarios where Michigan can lose the Big Ten Championship Game and still be in the Playoff themselves. But not if they get paved by the Hawkeyes.

Cincinnati is a 10.5-point favorite as well, but if Houston could just find a way to win by any margin, it seems likely Baylor could blow past the weak schedule of the Bearcats.

And that’s before Notre Dame, Ohio State and Ole Miss are factored in: All sitting in between Baylor and the Playoff, but all also sitting at home this weekend without a game to play.

So can you devise a scenario where Baylor advances? Sure! Georgia beats Bama 45-0, Iowa runs it up 38-7 on Michigan, and Houston hangs a 42-38 win on Cincinnati. Add that to Baylor rolling Oklahoma State 42-10 despite not playing starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon, and you can see the path.

But it’s a very, very slim path for sure. The Bears are 6-point underdog to Oklahoma State at DraftKings Sportsbook.