Art Briles: Committee ties 'an issue'

ByMax Olson ESPN logo
Monday, December 8, 2014

WACO, Texas -- After being left out of the College Football Playoff, Baylorcoach Art Briles expressed fears Sunday that the Big 12 and its region were not fairly represented on the inaugural playoff committee.

Two hours after the No. 5 Bears were not selected for the playoff, Briles laid out his frustration with the playoff process and his belief that both his conference and state did not have a voice in the selection.

"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," Briles said. "I'll say that. I'm not sure if there's a connection on there that is that familiar with the Big 12 Conference. To me, that's an issue."

Briles knew the vote on putting Ohio Statein the No. 4 slot ahead of Baylor and TCUwould be a close call, and he said he won't "moan and whine" about the outcome. But his disappointment was hard to hide during a 10-minute news conference.

"I hate it for the Big 12," Briles said. "I think the Big 12 is a great conference. I don't think there's any doubt that it's certainly one of the stronger leagues in America. I think the way the format played out, the waters got muddied a couple weeks ago with saying we'd be presented as co-champs. I think that hurt the cause for both of us, quite honestly."

TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose Frogs fell from No. 3 to No. 6 in the final ranking, said there was only one way for his team to have made it into the playoff.

"It's one of those things if you didn't want to be disappointed, you need to be undefeated," Patterson said. "It's the only way you can control your own destiny and we didn't do that."

Briles directed his criticism away from the Big 12 and toward the playoff committee on Sunday. Two members of the committee -- West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck and former Nebraska coach/AD Tom Osborne -- have Big 12 ties, but Briles doesn't believe their representation is sufficient.

"We're all humans. When I die, they're not going to bury me in Maryland. They're going to bury me in Texas," Briles said. "When those people die, they're not going to bring them down here and lay their body to rest. They're going to lay them to rest wherever they 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 'em. 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 is Condoleezza Rice. She was born in Alabama."

During a Sunday morning appearance on "SportsCenter," Briles suggested ex-coaches R.C. Slocum, Mack Brownor Spike Dykes would be more qualified to evaluate programs in the state and region. He argued that Archie Manning stepping down from the committee in October because of health reasons might have ultimately hurt Baylor's chances.

"When Archie Manning went off, I said we're in trouble," Briles said. "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."

Despite being snubbed for the playoff, Briles insisted he's "very, very excited" to face No. 8 Michigan Statein the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 1. He scoffed at the suggestion that his Baylor team won't be motivated for the game after missing out on the playoff.

After losing to UCF in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last season, Briles said his players had better care about this one.

"That's not an issue at all. Our guys want to play, they want to win, they want to represent," he said. "We can win 12 games, finish as a top-five team. For our seniors and our program, it's a huge, huge game."

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