Following its victory over Iowa State on Saturday afternoon, TCU wondered if it did enough to make it into the four-team field in the first-ever College Football Playoff.
On Saturday night, Baylor wondered the same. The only difference between the two? After moving past No. 9 Kansas State, 38-27, in Waco, the Bears were able to tout 61-58 -- the score of their head-to-head victory over the Horned Frogs on Oct. 11 -- loud and proud as they celebrated their second straight Big 12 title.
Quarterback Bryce Petty continued his strong play down the stretch, throwing for 412 yards with a touchdown and interception while jump-starting the Baylor offense with big plays in every quarter. Petty had a hot hand from the start, leading an 81-yard touchdown drive in the first 95 seconds of the game to set the tone the rest of the night.
Petty's favorite target was, not surprisingly, veteran Antwan Goodley, who caught a 58-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that just about put away the game for the Bears. He was the team's leading receiver with 116 yards and formed a dangerous duo with Clay Fuller (19 yards a catch) that the Wildcats secondary couldn't contain.
Just as impressively, the Baylor defense came alive on the big stage as well. Star defensive end Shawn Oakman, one of the top NFL prospects on the team, recorded a sack and another tackle for loss, but his impact went beyond the numbers. Teaming with mammoth defensive tackle Andrew Billings, the Bears were constantly applying pressure on an overwhelmed Kansas State team. Linebacker and team captain Bryce Hager also came up big in his final game at McLane Stadium, recording 12 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters had his moments and nearly rallied the team as time was ticking off in the fourth quarter. He threw for 300 yards, two touchdowns and an interception but was generally doing what he could to get the offense going, considering the team wasn't unable to lean on its rushing attack.
Wideout Tyler Lockett continued to impress scouts who looked on, catching 14 passes for 158 yards and a score -- all after suffering a rolled ankle early in the game. With his touchdown catch in the middle of the fourth, Lockett passed his father, Kevin, in the Kansas State record books and set a school career record for receiving scores.
Amid a joyous on-field ceremony in which the crowd loudly chanted, "One True Champion" -- a nod to the conference's marketing slogan -- Baylor made history as it captured back-to-back conference titles for the first time ever. All that awaits is a decision by the selection committee on whether the win was enough to get the Bears into the College Football Playoff.
With the regular season in the books, Baylor stated its case that it belongs.