Nov 04, 2015 12:03 PM EST
Whether the Big 12 being left out of last season's College Football Playoff (CFP) was their own doing or not, it does not appear as if that will happen again.
But while the Big 12 is taking a step forward, the Pac-12 is taking a step back. When the CFP committee released its first ranking of the season, the Pac-12 had no teams in the Top 10 and only three in the Top 25.
Stanford (11) and Utah (12) represent the highest ranked Pac-12 teams in the poll and are currently the favorites to play for the conference title game. While Stanford is 6-0 in conference play, they have a loss to an unranked opponent on their record, though to a Northwestern team currently ranked 21st overall.
Once a Top Five AP team, Utah also has a loss to an unranked team, a 42-24 drubbing at the hands of USC. Even if both teams won out, they do not have strength of schedule on their side, though Stanford has the opportunity to punctuate their regular season against Notre Dame (5).
Utah is not even as fortunate and have a home game against a UCLA team currently ranked 23rd with two losses. Meanwhile, the Big 12 has three undefeated teams and one team with just one loss.
Those teams (Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma) have strength of schedule on their side, so going undefeated in the Big 12 and (hopefully) being named the conference's "One True Champion" could well guarantee a CFP berth.
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