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WACO, Texas – No. 5 Baylor did what it had to do to keep alive its chance for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Bryce Petty and company grabbed a share of a second consecutive Big 12 title.
Up next for the Bears is wait and see.
Petty threw for 412 yards, Johnny Jefferson had two touchdown runs and Baylor beat No. 9 Kansas State 38-27 on Saturday night.
Baylor (11-1, 8-1, No. 6 CFP) and TCU (11-1, 8-1, No. 3 CFP) tied for the top spot in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs were ranked higher in the most recent committee poll, but they lost to the Bears 61-58 on Oct. 11.
"There's one true champion and it's the Baylor Bears," coach Art Briles screamed to the celebratory crowd after the victory over the Wildcats.
The Bears became the only team with consecutive Big 12 titles other than Oklahoma from 2006-08. They are a sure thing for one of the top six New Year's bowls, but the new four-team playoff appears to be a long shot.
"We're going to play in January regardless," Petty said. "Obviously we want to be contending for a national championship."
TCU has won seven in a row since its loss at Baylor. The Frogs, who beat Kansas State (9-3, 7-2) by 21 points last month, earned their share of the Big 12 title with a 55-3 win over Iowa State on Saturday.
Petty completed 34 of 40 passes with a touchdown and an interception a week after getting knocked out of the Bears' last game with a concussion.
Not medically cleared to play until Friday, Petty showed no ill effects of the concussion. He put his head down and plunged in for a 1-yard TD run only 1:35 in, capping an opening 81-yard drive that put Baylor ahead to stay.
While Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby presented Baylor its championship trophy — after giving one to TCU about 90 miles away more than seven hours earlier — Florida State was wrapping up its win in the ACC championship game. A few minutes after that, Ohio State wrapped up the Big 12 title. Those are the two teams between TCU and Baylor in the playoff rankings.
Baylor fans booed the commissioner, voicing their displeasure of having to share a title even with the head-to-head victory in a league whose slogan is "One True Champion."
The Big 12 is the only of the power-five conferences without a championship game, but the 10-team league has a round-robin schedule and is the only one in which everybody plays each other during the regular season.
For the fourth year in a row since the Big 12 went to 10 teams, the title wasn't decided until finishing the regular season on the first weekend in December when other leagues play championship games.
And for the second year in a row, the Bears won at home in a finale, this time in their new campus stadium on the banks of the Brazos River after beating Texas 30-7 last year at Floyd Casey Stadium to earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
Jake Waters was 22 of 27 for 300 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas State, which was trying for its second Big 12 title in three years. Tyler Lockett, already the Wildcats career leader for receptions and yards, had 14 catches for 158 yards with an 8-yard TD that was the 27th of his career — breaking a tie with his father, Kevin, for the most in school history.
The Wildcats had to share their 2012 championship because of a miserable night their last visit to Waco two years ago. They were 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings before a 52-24 loss.
Antwan Goodley had nine catches for 116 yards as Baylor won its 16th consecutive home game, matching Alabama for the longest current streak. The Bears are 6-0 in their new stadium even after scoring few than 45 points there for the first time.