While there was a great deal of disappointment in Waco when the Baylor Bears lost their first game of the season two weeks ago against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Art Briles‘ squad still has plenty to play for this season. At No. 9 in the BCS standings and a strong 10-1 record heading into their season finale against the Texas Longhorns, Baylor is still very much in play for a BCS bowl this postseason.
The Bears are in the mix for one of two BCS bowl games this postseason but will need some help to reach either of them. First things first, they have to beat Texas. That win will put them at 11-1 on the season and in position to slide into an open spot in the BCS if it comes available. The two most likely destinations for Baylor this season in the BCS are the Fiesta Bowl or the Sugar Bowl, but neither is a lock without some outside help from other teams.
To get to the Fiesta Bowl, the path is pretty simple. If Baylor beats Texas and Oklahoma State loses to the Oklahoma Sooners, the Bears will win the Big 12 title and head to the desert for the Fiesta Bowl. There, they will likely play the Northern Illinois Huskies if they win the MAC Championship and qualify for a BCS bid or the Central Florida Knights as the champion of the AAC. This would be the preferred landing spot for the Bears since it would be accompanied by their first ever Big 12 title.
But if Oklahoma State wins at Bedlam, Baylor still has an opportunity to sneak in as an at-large BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl. To get there, Baylor will need to beat Texas and then have NIU lose the MAC title game to prevent them from grabbing one of the available at-large bids. Baylor would also need the Florida State Seminoles and Ohio State Buckeyes to avoid upsets in the ACC and Big Ten title games to avoid one of the top two teams in the current BCS standings falling out of the BCS National Championship and snagging an at-large bid instead.
If that scenario plays out, Baylor would likely be the highest ranked at-large available for the Sugar Bowl selection committee and would play the winner of the SEC title game or the Alabama Crimson Tide if the SEC champion finds their way into the BCS National Championship. It’s a windy road to get there, but Baylor is still on a path that could take them to a BCS bowl in 2013. Can they stay on track and get the help they need to get there?