After the 2014 season, one of several conspiracy theories raised about the Big 12's exclusion from the College Football Playoff had to do with the conference's lack of a December title game.
The committee's chairman, Jeff Long, had said Ohio State's 13th game, a blowout win over Wisconsin, gave it the extra evidence needed to push it ahead of Baylor and TCU, which is different than saying the Big 12 was excluded for its lack of a championship, because how do you top 59-0?
But that fed an inferiority complex that drove certain Big 12 members to publicly call for expansion, and a few months later, we're supposedly a few weeks away from a conference decision on who (if anybody) to add.
So what's gonna be the long-term overreaction if the Big 12 misses the Playoff again this year?
While it'd be easy to say that adding current No. 6 Houston might've solved the whole problem for this year, a conference championship in and of itself wouldn't have done anything about this situation (and might've ended up making it worse, based on history):
For the first time since the conference's inception in 1996, the Big 12 does NOT have a team ranked in the top 15 of the AP football poll.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 18, 2016
Baylor is No. 16. The Bears are 3-0 and have beaten no one in particular, but that's been the case at this point in the season for years now. They're usually ranked higher than this, and it's obvious and fair why they are not so high this time.
Through three weeks, its only other undefeated team is West Virginia, which has only played two games (1-2 Missouri and FCS Youngstown State) and has a tough neutral-siter against BYU this week.
Every other power conference division has at least that many unbeaten teams. The mid-major AAC West and MAC West have more. The whole Big Ten has eight.
The Big 12's problems are pretty simple. Its elite recruiters aren't that elite by Power 5 standards, and its only true recruiting power (Texas) continues to be held back by youth and general turmoil, whether we agree those things should've been solved there by now or not.
Whichever conference misses the Playoff each year will face scrutiny (last year, the Playoff-snubbed Pac-12's nine-game conference schedule inspired some grumbles, despite non-conference games costing it at least as much), but if it's our nation's most skittish conference again, that'll reach new levels.
(The answer to how it'd overreact this time is probably to just add like a dozen teams, which is what we've been calling for all along.)
Here's our RIGHT THIS SECOND Playoff top four. I voted Louisville No. 1.
I did bowl projections for NOT RIGHT THIS SECOND, and I have Louisville in the Playoff.
Spice up the Big Ten West in your life by simply adding a dash of North Dakota State and Western Michigan to its standings.
Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was named a Big Ten player of the week on two different sides of the ball, and he could pull off a third later this year, too.
Various unfortunate Pac-12 headlines: Oregon's lost two offensive contributors for the season, USC's already making a QB change, and UCLA has reached its usual cruising-altitude levels of social media drama.
Louisville's Muhammad Ali-themed entrance on Saturday: good.
Latest Baylor thing: Indicted former player Shawn Oakman is banned after somehow mingling his way near the locker room on Friday.
CROOTIN': Notre Dame adds a four-star named D. Jeter. Extremely Pinstripe Bowl.
Our recruiting expert, Bud Elliott, enjoys a victory lap over the fact that the No. 1 and 2 teams in the polls already happen to be the top two recruiters.
The Shutdown Fullcast says some crap about Week 3 you can listen to.