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Cowboys’ Path to Arlington Grim, Still Possible

Pokes fans should cheer for K-State, West Virginia and Baylor this weekend.



[Pool photo by Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports]

The Cowboys’ Big 12 title hopes are still hanging on.

At 5-2 in conference play, Oklahoma State is in third in the Big 12 because of a head-to-head loss with fellow 5-2 Oklahoma. But the Cowboys still have a chance to get to Arlington despite things looking grim.

If a three-way tie happens at the top of the standings, which teams go to Arlington would depend on which team finishes fourth. Here are the teams in contention to get at least fourth.

Team Big 12 Record Week 14 Week 15
Iowa State 7-1 vs. West Virginia Idle
Oklahoma 5-2 vs. Baylor at West Virginia
Oklahoma State 5-2 at TCU at Baylor
Texas 4-3 at Kansas State at Kansas
West Virginia 4-3 at Iowa State vs. Oklahoma
Kansas State 4-4 vs. Texas Idle
TCU 4-4 vs. Oklahoma State Idle

And here are the Big 12’s tiebreakers, and some scenarios that get OSU to Jerry World.

If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the regular season game between the two tied teams shall prevail.
     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.
            a. When comparing against the remaining teams in the Conference standings any two-way ties will be broken by head-to-head competition before the comparison begins.
            b. If more than a two-way tie exists amongst the remaining teams in the Conference standings, the record against the collective tied teams as a group will be used.
     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 (In the event steps 1-3 cannot break a multi-team tie the prevailing team or teams will be determined by draw at the Conference office). 
In the event tiebreaking procedures are unsuccessful and a draw is necessary in determining any portion of seeding, the following procedures will be used:
            a. The draw will be conducted in public or with media attendance.
            b. Institutions involved in the drawing have the right to have a local representative in attendance at the drawing.
            c. A single slip of paper for each institution (with name or logo) will be placed in a container and will be drawn in order of seeding from highest to lowest.

[Big 12]

It’s important to note these aren’t the only scenarios still possible for OSU. West Virginia could really nuke this thing if the Mountaineers finished the regular season 2-0. This also doesn’t take into account teams not playing all nine games because of COVID, which would also make for madness. But we won’t stress our minds too much about that this week.

The Iowa State Stumble

Kansas State falling to Baylor on Saturday made this a more difficult avenue for the Pokes.

If Iowa State were to overlook West Virginia this weekend and OSU and OU win out, that would make for a three-way tie atop the Big 12 standings at 7-2.

With OSU, ISU and OU all being 1-1 in the “mini round-robin,” that would then move the tiebreaker to those three’s record against the fourth-place team. Unfortunately for OSU, that’s looking more and more like it’ll be Texas, meaning the Cyclones and Sooners would be Big 12 Championship bound.

The Cowboys would need either West Virginia or Kansas State to finish fourth if that three-way tie happened, given that K-State beat OU and West Virginia would beat Iowa State in this hypothetical.

K-State could still do it. The Wildcats would need to upset Texas this weekend, but K-State is trending downward, having lost its past three games.

So, in short, OSU fans should cheer for West Virginia and K-State this weekend, though both are underdogs.

The Oklahoma Crumble

This becomes simple for OSU if the Sooners lose one of their final two games.

If OU fell to Baylor this weekend or West Virginia next weekend, the Cowboys would just need to win out to advance to the Big 12 title game at 7-2.

That’s the simplest scenario to understand, but it doesn’t seem likely. OU hasn’t lost since Oct. 3, meanwhile Baylor is just 2-5 this season.

The most likely way this scenario happens is if OU losses on the road to West Virginia.

This is the second scenario where OSU fans should cheer for the Mountaineers, so que the John Denver.

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