Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles believes that the lack of southern representation on the College Football Playoff committee led to Baylor and the Big 12 being overlooked during the selection process, the coach told ESPN.com after Baylor's win this weekend.
The Bears were left out of the College Football Playoff when the final rankings were released on Sunday. As the No. 5 team, Baylor was the first team excluded.
"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."
Baylor finished the season with an 11-1 record; however, as committee chairman Jeff Long indicated on Sunday, the fact that the Big 12 did not have a conference championship game "ultimately hurt the conference."
Baylor and the 11-1 TCU Horned Frogs, who Baylor defeated earlier in the year, 61-58, finished the season as conference co-champions. Briles acknowledged that that status hurt both teams' chances of making the playoff.
"I hate it for the Big 12," said Briles. "I think the Big 12 is a great conference...I think the way the format played out, the waters got muddied a couple of weeks ago with saying we'd be presented as co-champs. I think that hurt the cause for both of us, quite honestly."
Briles believes that things would have been different had there been members of the 12-person committee familiar with southern college football, and he pointed toward the departure of Archie Manning from the committee in October as a source of southern underrepresentation.
"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."
Briles and the No. 5 Bears will face the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans of the Big Ten in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, at 12:30 pm ET on ESPN.
- Jack Jorgensen