Baylor was the odd team out in the first-ever College Football Playoff, finishing at No. 5 despite a 11-1 record and a Big 12 conference title.
After the top four came out and Baylor got snubbed, coach Art Briles said the playoff committee has a bias against teams in the “south part of the United States” in a lengthy press conference speech.
“When I die, they’re not going to bury me in Maryland,” he said. “They’re going to bury me in Texas.”
The entire speech, which is fantastic (h/t George Schroeder):
“My opinion, since people are asking, I think the committee needs to be a little more regionalized with people that are associated with the south part of the United States, I’ll say that. I’m not sure there’s a connection on there that’s that familiar with the Big 12 conference. To me, that’s an issue.
“We’re all humans. When I die, they’re not going to bury me in Maryland. They’re going to bury me in Texas. When those people die, they’re not going to bring them down and lay their body to rest. They’re going to lay them to rest up there where they have lived all their lives and teams they follow and teams they know. You want to ask me about a team in this part of the United States, I can tell you about them. I can tell you their weaknesses and their strengths. OK? They need to have somebody on there that knows the teams in this part of the nation.
“The only person born in the south on that committee in Condoleezza Rice. She was born in Alabama. When Archie Manning went off, I said we’re in trouble. I know Archie, he’s a friend. He understands football down here. When he went off that committee, we were in trouble. We need a voice. We need a voice.”
You can’t help but love his passion, but Briles’ claim of a northern bias doesn’t hold up. In addition to Rice, the athletic directors of Arkansas and Clemson were on the 12-person committee. So was Oliver Luck, the athletic director of Big 12 conference member West Virginia.
It was Baylor’s weak non-conference schedule that did them in, not a conspiracy against the South. Briles’ broader point — that the committee has an obligation to know everything about every team so that preexisting biases don’t factor into the decision — is valid, but he obscured it by focusing on the regional demographics of the committee.
Here’s the video. The good part starts at the 10:05 mark:
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