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All paths to CFP for Baylor begin with victory over Oklahoma

December 2, 2019
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The Baylor Bears shocked the world by finishing 11-1 in the 2019 regular season. This has catapulted the Bears into the discussion of the College Football Playoff with a Big 12 Championship game against top ten Oklahoma this Saturday.

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For the Bears to make it, they will need to beat the Sooners in the Big 12 championship game. In addition, the Bears could need some help from other teams.

“Now, we have an opportunity to play this week and play against a great team in Oklahoma and as I told our guys, let’s not make this about the Big 12 Championship, let’s not make this about the College Football Playoff, let’s not make this about a ranking, let’s not even make this about Oklahoma,” Rhule said.

“Let’s just make it about us, let’s try to go 1-0 this week just like we did all year and see what we do.”

Each path constructed took into account the feasibility of the results and Baylor’s highest chance to move on to the CFP. For example, it would be a plus for Virginia to beat Clemson in any path, but it is highly unlikely. Two big upsets in the same path were avoided.

All of the following probability statistics came from FiveThirtyEight.

Relevant games

  • Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Saturday December 7th, 11am CT, ABC)
    • Oklahoma favored by 8 points
  • Utah vs. Oregon (Friday, December 6th, 7pm CT, ABC)
    • Utah favored by 6 points
  • LSU vs. Georgia (Saturday, December 7th, 3pm CT, CBS)
    • LSU favored by 7.5 points
  • Virginia vs. Clemson (Saturday, December 7th, 6:30pm CT, ABC)
    • Clemson favored by 29 points
  • Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Saturday, December 7th, 7pm CT, FOX)
    • Ohio State favored by 16.5 points

1st Path to the CFP (88% chance Baylor reaches the playoffs)

  • Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • Oregon beats Utah
  • LSU beats Georgia
  • Virginia beats Clemson
  • Ohio State beats Wisconsin

2nd Path to the CFP (85% chance)

  • Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • Oregon beats Utah
  • LSU beats Georgia
  • Clemson beats Virginia
  • Ohio State beats Wisconsin

3rd Path to the CFP (63% chance)

  • Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • Oregon beats Utah
  • Georgia beats LSU
  • Clemson beats Virginia
  • Ohio State beats Wisconsin

4th Path to the CFP (40% chance)

  • Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • Utah beats Oregon
  • LSU beats Georgia
  • Clemson beats Virginia
  • Wisconsin beats Ohio State

5th Path to the CFP (26% chance)

  • Baylor beats Oklahoma
  • Utah beats Oregon
  • LSU beats Georgia
  • Clemson beats Virginia
  • Ohio State beats Wisconsin

Clearly, Baylor fans will need to be rooting mostly for Oregon against Utah and LSU against Georgia. If Baylor fails to beat Oklahoma, they will most likely appear in the Sugar or Alamo Bowl. If LSU beats Georgia, Baylor will have a great shot at making the Sugar Bowl. A Georgia win would most likely lead to a Baylor appearance in the Alamo Bowl.

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All paths to CFP for Baylor begin with victory over Oklahoma

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