After a series of disappointing seasons, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been one of the biggest surprises in the Big 12, if not all of college football. They beat Baylor by two touchdowns, and their only losses were to Alabama and Oklahoma, both of which were ranked in the top four when the games were played.
No. 20 West Virginia (6-2, 4-1) has won six of seven since losing to the Tide, 33-23, in their season-opener.
“Playing those kinds of games allows a team like ours to realize, ‘Whoa, we can play with some of the best teams in the country,’” West Virginia athletic director and College Football Playoff committee member Oliver Luck said on The MoJo Show. “So I think one of the good things that’s happening (is it’s) really good to see an emphasis across the board on strength of schedule and see these really good out-of-conference match-ups in September. I’m excited about that as a college football fan.”
Brian Jones, however, feels the Big 12 has not gotten the respect it deserves this season – even though it has five teams in the top 20 of the inaugural playoff rankings, including two in the top 10.
“I think the Big 12 is an excellent conference,” Luck said. “Obviously, there’s only 10 members and that may be a little bit of the source of the criticism from other conferences that have 14 or 12 as you have out (on) the West Coast. But I think it’s a great conference.”
It’s also worth noting that it’s still only October.
“There’s so much more football to be played,” Luck said. “There’s some great match-ups this week, great match-ups next week – in both the Big 12 as well as in many of the other conferences. I’m not sure that I’ve heard a lot of disrespect for the Big 12. My sense is people say it’s a deep conference because everybody plays everybody. As we say, there’s one true champion.”
The Big 12, of course, is the one power conference without an official conference championship game. Luck doesn’t know if that will help or hurt the Big 12 when it’s time to pick the final four teams for the playoff.
“That title game may help or hurt a school,” he said. “It’s very difficult to say. It’s one of those unknowns. But this year, the committee will sort it out as they will for the next 11 years. But it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty whether it’s a positive or not.”
In other football news, Luck, as you might expect, has thoroughly enjoyed watching his son, Andrew, play in the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback, 25, leads the NFL in passing yards (2,731) and touchdowns (22).
“I’ve had a marvelous time on Sundays – or in some cases, Mondays – watching him play,” Luck said. “Like probably everybody around the country, I’m just as much of an NFL fan as I am a college football fan, so it’s fun to watch. He’s having a solid season. I’m just thankful that he’s healthy and playing well.”