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Can Oklahoma State Make the Big 12 Title Game with Two Losses?



We know Oklahoma State cannot lose again if it wants to make the College Football Playoff. Win out and you’re almost assuredly in, but lose any of the next six games and you’re definitely out.

However, I was curious to see whether a 7-2 Oklahoma State team in the Big 12 (currently 3-1) could make it to the Big 12 Championship game in December. I know that’s a long way away (sort of), but with 3-1 West Virginia and 3-1 Oklahoma on the slate over the next two weeks, I figured it was worth looking at right now.

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So obviously if Oklahoma State wins the rest of its Big 12 games, it will play for the Big 12 title no matter what TCU does. But what if, say, it wins them all except for the OU game? What would that look like?

If Oklahoma State loses Bedlam, it almost certainly cannot play for the Big 12 title. In that scenario OSU would have to win the rest of its games to finish 7-2, and it would need TCU to lose three or OU to lose two to jump back ahead of either of those teams to play for the Big 12 title. The reason? It fails in the head-to-head tiebreaker against both.

It could get really weird if you imagine OSU beating OU and OU beating TCU in a few weeks. The cleanest cut for Bob Bowlsby and the Big 12 is probably OU beating OSU because then, barring disaster for TCU and OU, those two will play for the Big 12 in Dallas. All hell breaks loose if TCU, OU and OSU all beat each other and end up as the top three team teams in the conference, especially if they all (or even two of them) have the same overall record.

For example, let’s say Oklahoma State beats WVU and OU and the rest but loses at Iowa State 😐 — And let’s say TCU loses to Texas and OU. Theoretically all three of those teams could end at 7-2 and have beaten each other. And I’m not even factoring in the fact that Iowa State could have beaten OSU and OU and could figure into the race. Heck, TCU could win the league and Iowa State, OU and OSU could finish tied for second at 7-2. Same rules apply to determine who goes to Dallas.

Here are the tiebreakers.

1. The conference records of the three or more teams will be compared against each other in a “mini round-robin” format.

2. The conference records of the three or more teams will be compared against the remaining team(s) in the conference standings from top to bottom.

3. Scoring differential among the tied teams. The team or teams with the lowest difference between points scored and points allowed in games vs. the tied teams is eliminated from consideration.

4. Draw

A draw! Can you imagine?! I hope they let the guy who runs @big12refs pick if it comes to that. If OSU, TCU and OU are all tied, the tiebreaker would go to No. 2, which means it’s important to beat the WVUs, Texas’ and Iowa States of the world, the teams that will be ranked the highest at the end of the season.

Of course if TCU wins the league and OSU, OU and Iowa State are tied for second, No. 2 is not a great tiebreaker for OSU since, you know, it didn’t beat TCU.

Interestingly, if you’re an OSU fan and you have to pick a game to lose in the next two weeks, you would probably pick the WVU game this weekend. WVU still has a pretty tough slate ahead, and Oklahoma State beating OU and giving them two conference losses likely knocks them out (again, unless OSU or TCU loses three conference games).

So if the question is whether Oklahoma State can still play for the Big 12 Championship with two losses, the answer is yes … as long as they’re against the right teams and the tiebreaker falls their way.

A myriad of outcomes is still possible obviously (too many to list out here), and we still have a long road to the end of the Big 12 season. For Oklahoma State, though, the shortest distance between Stillwater and Dallas is paved with Ws, one week at a time.


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