STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor coach Art Briles accepted another Big 12 championship trophy and stated his case that the fifth-ranked Bears should be considered the league’s “One True Champion.”
Now the Bears have to wait and see on what seems like a long shot for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
After Baylor grabbed a share of its second conference title in a row with a 38-27 victory over No. 9 Kansas State on Saturday night, Briles acknowledged having a somewhat brisk conversation with Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the podium in the middle of the field during the trophy presentation.
Despite the much-repeated “One True Champion” slogan for the only power-five conference with a round-robin schedule and no championship game, Bowlsby has publicly said that Baylor and TCU (both 11-1, 8-1 Big 12) will be presented as co-champions to the playoff selection committee even though the Bears beat the Horned Frogs 61-58 on Oct. 11.
“Don’t say one thing and do another, that’s my whole deal,” Briles said. “If they had said from the get-go, co-champs and head-to-head don’t matter. I’m OK with it. … I’m not obligated to him. I’m obligated to Baylor University and this football team.”
While Baylor and TCU tied for the top spot in the conference, the Horned Frogs have been ranked higher in all six weekly playoff rankings — all after the Bears’ home win over TCU. The Frogs were third, three spots ahead of Baylor, heading into the selection committee’s final meeting Sunday.
“There’s so much of this season to be proud of regardless of what happens,” Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said, adding with a smile that he was intrigued by what will happen.
TCU has won seven in a row since its loss at Baylor. The Frogs, who beat Kansas State (9-3, 7-2) by 21 points last month, earned their share of their first Big 12 title with a 55-3 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Petty completed 34 of 40 passes for 412 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his final home game, a week after getting knocked out of the Bears’ last game with a concussion.
Not medically cleared to play until Friday, Petty showed no ill effects of the concussion. The senior put his head down for a 1-yard TD run only 1:35 in, capping an opening 81-yard drive that put Baylor ahead to stay.
“There’s one true champion and it’s the Baylor Bears,” Briles screamed to the celebratory crowd after the victory.
While Bowlsby was presenting Baylor its championship trophy — after giving one to TCU about 90 miles away more than seven hours earlier — Florida State was wrapping up its win in the ACC championship game. A few minutes after that, Ohio State wrapped up the Big Ten title. Those are the two teams between TCU and Baylor in the playoff rankings.
Baylor fans booed the commissioner, voicing their displeasure of having to share a title even with the head-to-head victory.
For the fourth year in a row since the Big 12 went to 10 teams, the title wasn’t decided until finishing the regular season on the first weekend in December when other leagues play championship games.
And for the second year in a row, the Bears won at home in a finale, this time in their new campus stadium on the banks of the Brazos River after beating Texas 30-7 last year at Floyd Casey Stadium to earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
Antwan Goodley had nine catches for 116 yards as Baylor won its 16th consecutive home game, matching Alabama for the longest current streak. The Bears are 6-0 in their new stadium even after scoring few than 45 points there for the first time.
Jake Waters was 22 of 27 for 300 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas State, which was trying for its second Big 12 title in three years. Tyler Lockett, already the Wildcats career leader for receptions and yards, had 14 catches for 158 yards with an 8-yard TD that was the 27th of his career — breaking a tie with his father, Kevin, for the most in school history.
The Wildcats had to share their 2012 championship because of a miserable night their last visit to Waco two years ago. They were 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings before a 52-24 loss.
“It all boiled down to tonight, and we weren’t the team we wanted to be,” said coach Bill Snyder, avoiding the Baylor-TCU debate. “I’m not into that. And I won’t be on the committee, no matter what.”