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Big 12 Update: Even after Blowout Loss, OSU Can Still Make Big 12 Championship Game, Here are the Scenarios

Digging into the Big 12’s all-too-confusing tiebreaker rules.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Let’s get confused.

Even after a 45-3 loss to UCF, Oklahoma State can still play for a Big 12 title in Arlington on Dec. 2. Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma also all won this past weekend to stay alive in the race, tied for second with OSU at 5-2 in conference play. All four need to win out and have fate take their side.

Texas is still on top and the Longhorns will stay there as long as they keep winning. For West Virginia and Kansas, a third loss for both of them this week erased their Big 12 title chances.

A chaotic week in the Big 12 is ultimately what caused this mess, especially OSU’s fiasco. But Texas Tech also upset Kansas, which is now down to its third-string quarterback because of injury. OU and ISU didn’t have any issues on Saturday so still have legitimate conference championship aspirations after OSU and KU’s losses.

With that brief update, let’s look at the situations that either put the Cowboys in Arlington or at home the first weekend of December. Below are Big 12 results from this past weekend, standings and details about any thinkable Big 12 title race scenario.

Week 11 Results

UCF 45, No. 15 Oklahoma State 3

Texas Tech 16, No. 16 Kansas 13

No. 25 Kansas State 59, Baylor 25

No. 17 Oklahoma 59, West Virginia 20

Cincinnati 24, Houston 14

No. 7 Texas 29, TCU 26

Iowa State 45, BYU 13

Big 12 Standings

Big 12 Record Overall Record
Texas 6-1 9-1
Oklahoma State 5-2 7-3
Oklahoma 5-2 8-2
Iowa State 5-2 6-4
Kansas State 5-2 7-3
West Virginia 4-3 6-4
Texas Tech 4-3 5-5
Kansas 4-3 7-3
TCU 2-5 4-6
Houston 2-5 4-6
Baylor 2-5 3-7
BYU 2-5 5-5
UCF 2-5 5-5
Cincinnati 1-6 3-7

Big 12 Championship Game Race Scenarios

None of the following really matters if OSU doesn’t win the next two games at Houston and against BYU for Senior Day. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they have the easiest remaining schedule of those tied for second.

Nothing is impossible, but if OSU loses another, that would require all of OU, ISU and K-State to also lose again. And even then a trip to Arlington wouldn’t be guaranteed.

Here’s what’s left for those teams.

OSU: at Houston, vs. BYU

OU: at BYU, vs. TCU

ISU: vs. Texas, at K-State

K-State: at KU, vs. ISU

It’s pretty tough sledding for ISU and K-State. The scenario of the Cyclones losing to Texas, then beating K-State would actually be the perfect plan for OSU. That would leave only OU (if the Sooners won out), and the Cowboys have the head-to-head tiebreaker over OU, which actually matters in a two-way tie.

But things get frustrating if either K-State or ISU wins out and creates a three-way tie, especially if it’s the Wildcats.

Marshall and Sellout Crowd’s Berry Tramel were all kinds of confused Saturday night in the FBC Mortgage Stadium press box trying to figure this situation out. Then The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright dove into it more on Sunday.

According to Wright, if the regular season ends in a three-way tie between OSU, OU and K-State, a Big 12 official confirmed to him that OSU’s head-to-head wins over both teams actually wouldn’t matter because OU and K-State didn’t play each other. It would then come down to the three teams’ record against the highest finishing team in conference standings that all three played, which would include ISU (would hurt OSU), KU (would hurt OU) and UCF (also hurts OSU). Advantage: K-State, it seems.

So this situation is more likely to hurt the Cowboys and leave them on the outside looking in. And, yes, I also agree that’s absurd considering OSU beat both teams, proving the Pokes earned to be there over both teams. Why does it matter which team of the three is second and third best? The next option, according to Big 12 procedures, would be “combined win percentage in conference games of conference opponents (ie, strength of conference schedule).” So who knows which team emerges from that.

The option of ISU, which beat OSU, winning out along with OU might actually be better. This would just be a never-ending triangle of who’s better. ISU beat OSU but OSU beat OU but OU beat ISU. I believe this would go back to that last situation, but possibly work out in the Cowboys’ favor. Those common opponents would be BYU, Cincinnati and Kansas, which in this scenario, all three teams would have beaten two of those teams but only OSU beat KU, which should end with the best conference and overall records.

OU could also lay an egg against BYU or TCU. If that happens, ISU winning out means OSU stays home, while K-State winning out sends the Cowboys to Arlington. If OU loses at 11 a.m. Saturday, then Cowboy fans need to be yelling “Hook ‘Em Horns” that night. Or cheering hard for K-State the last week of the season when the Wildcats host ISU.

But what if Texas loses? We’re not even going to cross that bridge until it happens. The Longhorns have ISU and Texas Tech left on their schedule.

So if after all that you still have no idea on what scenario you want as a Cowboy fan, outside of cheering for the Pokes and still being able to hate OU, you want Texas to beat ISU and the Cyclones recovering by beating K-State the last week of the season. Or even OU and ISU winning out, but that one still isn’t 100%. If those don’t happen, OSU needs fate on its side.

If, for some reason, you’d like to look at scenarios on your own, you can find the Big 12’s tiebreaker procedures here.

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