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Big 12 playoff scenarios

The only thing in TCU's or Baylor's way might be the schedule

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Real live Kansas State football is less than 34 days away now. We mark the occasion with not one but two updates from the Cat of the Brackets: #35 linebacker Will Davis, who occupied the mike slot last year to middling results, and #34 running back Alex Barnes, who lacks for neither speed nor supreme self-confidence.

Jon Morse's 2015 Preseason Conditioning feature rolls on, and this time, Jon previews the Frontier and Central States conferences and takes Mike Leach and his 64-team playoff idea to task.

TCU and Baylor are popular picks to win the Big 12 this year, and while the odds are mostly in their favor, the playoff potential for either team is less clear.

First, there is the scheduling issue. Baylor's non-conference schedule is among the softest in the Power 5 (Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports). However, Baylor makes up for it with a nightmare gauntlet in November, featuring games at Kansas State, Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, and finally, at TCU in a game that is already being touted as the de facto Big 12 title game. So the playoff committee may be willing to give Baylor a pass on the non-conference schedule, if--as Forde suggests for Alabama--the playoff committee should "look at the schedule in its entirety and hush."

Second, TCU may have its own scheduling problem. The Horned Frogs are off on the last weekend of the season, meaning that the Big 12 is missing out on a chance to make a statement while the putative SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 candidates take the field on championship weekend (Jake Trotter, ESPN).

Last year, Ohio State's 59-0 beatdown of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game effectively erased the Buckeyes' early season loss to Virginia Tech. This year, events could play out in the same way, especially if the single-game suspensions of Joey Bosa and Jalin Marshall results in another loss to the Hokies (Brian Hamilton,

Finally, here's a bit of non-playoff content: the POP pass is here to stay (Steven Godfrey, SB Nation).