Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorting Out the Big 12 Mess

My mailbox is about to explode. All these questions about the Big 12. With three Big 12 South teams in the top five of the latest BCS standings, it seems inevitable that somebody from that trio will play in the BCS championship game. And there is conceivably a way to get there without the bother of being in the Big 12 championship game.

Should Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma end up in a three-way tie, with 11-1 records and each losing to one another, the Big 12 South representative in the conference championship game will be determined by tiebreaker No. 5 - the highest-ranked team in the penultimate BCS standings. Now, this is a terrible method to settle things - really not much better than a coin flip - but that's the way it goes.

So here's the team-by-team scenarios of how Texas Tech, Texas and Oklahoma might get there:

Texas Tech: At No. 2, the road for the Red Raiders is the most straightforward. Win three more wins, a spot in Miami will be waiting. The toughest one will be the Nov. 22 visit to Norman, and with both teams having a bye week to get ready for that one, it shapes up to be our next Game of the Year. Now, what if Tech loses to No. 5 Oklahoma? Sorry, then the Raiders are pretty much done. A loss, this late in the season, likely will drop them to No. 5 or 6, and most likely shut out of the Big 12 title game and definitely the BCS title game.

Texas: For now, the Longhorns have a slight edge over Oklahoma by virtue of their head-to-head win in Dallas and superior computer rankings. But all that can change if OU beats Texas Tech. An Oklahoma win most likely would force tiebreaker No. 5 to be invoked and Texas might get vaulted over by the Sooners. Now, Texas has a shot of going to the BCS title game without going to the Big 12 title game - if Texas Tech beats OU but loses to Missouri, it's possible the Longhorns can get up to No. 2 and earn a date with the SEC champion.

Oklahoma: The Sooners must beat Texas Tech - and not forget about Oklahoma State the week after - to have any chance of staying in this discussion. A win over second-ranked and unbeaten Red Raiders might push OU ahead of Texas in the human polls. As it is, OU is barely ahead in the coaches poll and slightly behind in the Harris poll. And though the Sooners are currently behind Texas in every computer ranking, a win over Texas Tech more than likely will slingshot them past Texas for good. A scenario also exists for OU to miss the Big 12 title game but make it to the BCS title game - should Oklahoma lose the tiebreaker to the Longhorns, who then drop their rematch against Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

Let's do a matrix, and this is what it might look like involving these three teams: (assuming they each win their remaining regular-season games):

1. Texas Tech beats Oklahoma

  • TT beats Missouri for Big 12 title: Texas Tech in BCS title game; Texas in BCS bowl

  • Missouri beats TT for Big 12 title: USC in BCS title game; Missouri, Texas in BCS bowls

2. Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, then beats Oklahoma State

  • OU beats Missouri for Big 12 title: OU in BCS title game; Texas in BCS bowl

  • Texas beats Missouri for Big 12 title: Texas in BCS title game; OU in BCS bowl

  • Missouri beats OU for Big 12 title: Texas in BCS title game; Missouri in BCS bowl

  • Missouri beats Texas for Big 12 title: OU in BCS title game; Missouri in BCS bowl

3. Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, then loses to Oklahoma State

  • TT beats Missouri for Big 12 title: USC in BCS title game; TT, Texas in BCS bowls

  • Missouri beats TT for Big 12 title: Texas in BCS title game; Missouri in BCS bowl

We'll discuss the SEC, USC, potential bowl matchups and the unbiased relative merits of each of the one-loss teams and Utah later this week as well. Yes, there's lots to talk about.

6 comments:

dethwing said...

If OU should beat Tech, but lose to Missouri in the big 12 title game, shouldn't the rep be Texas Tech, based on the head to head win over Texas? What makes you think voters will go with the Horns over the Raiders?

SteveHolt8472 said...

If Tech loses to OU, they will likely drop to 5 in the BCS standings. Texas will still be 3. OU would then probably be 2. If OU beats OSU, and then loses to Missouri, Texas would then be the number 2 team. Texas Tech would then be 4. And after the SEC championship, Tech would move up to 3. So in this scenario, the last BCS standings would probably be the following:

1) SEC Champion
2) Texas
3) Texas Tech
4) USC
5) Utah
6) Oklahoma
7) Loser of SEC Championship

SteveHolt8472 said...

I guess I should add that Missouri might be ranked ahead of OU or the SEC runner-up, especially if that happened to be Florida. A 2-loss Florida would drop further than a 1-loss Alabama. ...Not that that's particularly interesting or important.

Jams said...

Can't wait to read the "unbiased relative merits" post. Crank it out soon, please.

Anonymous said...

If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech and then loses to OSU then Texas Tech will play for the Big XII Champ but Texas will be the number two team and will play in the BCS Champ game, USC will not jump Texas and play for the Champ

SteveHolt8472 said...

Here's a curious, yet highly unlikely scenario: If two Big XII south teams finish the season ranked 1 and 2 in the final BCS standings, and Missouri wins the the Big XII championship game, then Missouri would not go to a BCS bowl. Even if Missouri also somehow finished the season ranked 3rd or 4th in the BCS standings, the "a maximum of two teams from any one conference" clause reigns supreme. ...at least according to BCS administrator Bill Hancock.

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