The latest rankings could show something is afoot for the playoff selection

Big 12 Report: Did the Big 12 get set up by the selection committee?

The latest college football playoff rankings have me thinking the committee might have a scheme for the Big 12. There are a few elements to this scheme, so let's see what all the elements are to my conspiracy theory.

The Baylor Jump

A victory at home against a disappointing Texas team got Baylor a five spot jump? FIVE SPOTS?

That is crazy! A few weeks ago Oklahoma barely budged when they beat Baylor in Waco but somehow this week the Bears jump five spots because of a victory over the Longhorns? This is one of the wildest moments by this version of the committee so far.

Oklahoma holding steady

The Sooners jumped up two spots with the losses of the Oregon Ducks and Penn State. They trail only the undefeated teams, Georgia, Alabama, and Utah.

It is important to note that while the Sooners moved up, it wasn't on their own virtue, it was two teams losing in front of them. Oklahoma though, has a leg up on Alabama and Utah down the stretch.

They have two ranked opponents left on their schedule with a rivalry game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater and a Big 12 Championship showdown with Baylor. Neither Utah nor Alabama can face a team ranked as high as Baylor or a second ranked team.

Now, obviously if Baylor slips up against Kansas the Big 12 is screwed.

A top ten victory over the Bears would be a great data point that Alabama nor Utah would possess. The committee added the best win among the contenders for the fourth spot to the equation with how they ranked Baylor.

Rewarding attempted tough scheduling

Here are the non-conference games for Oklahoma, Utah, and Alabama.

Oklahoma

vs Houston

vs South Dakota

at UCLA

Utah

@ BYU

vs Northern Illinois

vs Idaho State

Alabama

vs Duke (neutral site)

vs New Mexico State

vs Southern Mississippi

vs Western Carolina

At some point, the committee needs to reward someone who isn't undefeated but scheduled harder than their opponents. Oklahoma scheduled a team that was supposed to compete for the best Group of 5 team mantle in the Houston Cougars. UCLA was supposed to be solid this year under Chip Kelly.

Utah has a built in rivalry game with BYU which isn't a bad team but isn't a good team. The other two games aren't on UCLA or Houston's level. Alabama's non-conference was a joke this season. They didn't leave the South and didn't play a true road game.

The selection committee needs to eventually reward scheduling when records are equal and the conference's are unbalanced.

Oklahoma's case is solid, but they might need help

An easy victory over Oklahoma State and Baylor would go a long way towards the ​Sooners making the playoff yet again.

They need help though. Oregon beating Utah would go a long way to keeping the discussion limited to Alabama or Oklahoma for the final spot in the playoff. Auburn slowing down Alabama and playing them close might help the Sooners too. If backup quarterback Mac Jones struggles, the Crimson Tide could be losing support as one of the top four teams. Also, a Georgia upset of LSU in the SEC championship likely voids Utah, Alabama, and Oklahoma's chances.

Of course, should Auburn upset Alabama, the Sooners would be near locks to make the playoffs.

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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