How Baylor Could Still End Up in a BCS Game Despite Embarrassing Loss

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2013

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 23:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears watches the big screen as Tyler Patmon #26 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys returns a fumble for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Despite Saturday night's blowout loss to Oklahoma State, the Baylor Bears' dreams of reaching a BCS bowl are still well within reach. 

The Cowboys, Bears and Texas Longhorns are all tied atop the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma State holds the head-to-head advantage over both teams, so Baylor will need to win the conference outright to get an automatic berth into the Fiesta Bowl. 

In order to earn the Big 12's automatic BCS berth, Baylor just needs to win out and have Oklahoma upset Oklahoma State.

With either Fresno State or Northern Illinois likely to earn an automatic berth due to BCS tie-in rules, along with the Big 12's down year—only three ranked teams in the Week 13 BCS standings—the Big 12 will not get a second team into the BCS by way of an at-large bid. Baylor will almost undoubtedly need to win the Big 12 to earn a BCS berth.

Big 12 Standings
Oklahoma State7-110-1
Kansas State4-46-5
Texas Tech4-47-4
West Virginia2-64-7
Iowa State1-72-9

Baylor plays Texas in its season finale, so the Bears can knockout the Longhorns from contention themselves. But they'll need help in knocking Oklahoma State out of the race. 

Remaining Schedule for Big 12 Title Contenders
WeekOklahoma StateBaylorTexas
Week 14--@ TCUvs. Texas Tech
Week 15vs. Oklahomavs. Texas@ Baylor

That's where Bedlam comes in. 

The Cowboys finish off the year with their biggest rivalry game, a matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners in Stillwater on Dec. 7. Oklahoma is fresh off an impressive 41-31 victory over Kansas State on the road, a game that saw Bob Stoops become the winningest coach in Sooners' history. 

With Oklahoma playing some of its best ball of the year, plus the intensity of this rivalry, which has been split over the last two seasons, it certainly is not out of the realm of possibility for the Sooners to storm into Boone Pickens Stadium and steal a game from the Cowboys. 

The biggest challenge going forward for Baylor is finding a way to move on mentally from this tough loss. Ironically, Art Briles probably needs to take a page from Mike Gundy's book to do so.

Oklahoma State had an awful day on Sept. 28, when the Cowboys fell on the road to the lowly West Virginia Mountaineers. Since that game, Oklahoma State has won seven games in a row, six of them by double digits. 

If the Bears let one bad night in Stillwater define their season, their BCS hopes will die. But this team has to realize that their hopes at representing the Big 12 in the Fiesta Bowl are far from dead. The Bears will need help from Oklahoma. But if they can take care of TCU and Texas, they'll be oh-so-close to earning the school's first ever BCS berth.