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Tramel: After win at Kansas State, OSU stays No. 1 in Big 12 football power rankings

The Big 12 football race became a little clearer Saturday -- but not by much.

Texas’ victory over West Virginia kept the Longhorns in the race and virtually eliminated the Mountaineers. 

OSU’s survival of Kansas State kept the Cowboys ahead of the posse and dropped the Wildcats into shaky territory.

Iowa State’s comeback over Baylor kept the Cyclones in first place.

The top two teams advance to the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, and it’s quite possible a tiebreaker will be needed.

Head-to-head is, of course, the first tiebreaker. But after that comes how the tied teams fared against the next-highest team in the standings. Some examples:

* If OU, Iowa State and OSU finish in a three-way tie for first at 7-2, the tiebreaker would be how they fared against the fourth-place team. Ties for fourth would be determined first.

If it’s Texas, OU and Iowa State would advance, if Iowa State beats Texas (since OSU lost to Texas). If it’s Texas, OU and OSU would advance, if Iowa State beats Kansas State (since only OU would have beaten Texas, letting the Sooners advance, leaving OSU’s victory over ISU as the next tiebreaker).

If it’s Kansas State at fourth, it’s OSU and Iowa State (since OU lost to K-State). Doesn’t matter who pins the second loss on ISU, since if ISU loses to Texas, OSU and ISU would advance out of the three-way tie because of their victories over KSU. If KSU is fourth and has beaten ISU, the Cyclones and Cowboys would advance, OSU because of its victory over K-State and Iowa State because after OSU advances out of the three-way tie, the Cyclones’ victory over the Sooners would be the tiebreaker.

A quite possible scenario is a four-way tie at 7-2. If Texas and OU win out, and there are no other upsets, the Longhorns, Sooners, OSU and KSU-ISU winner all would be tied at 7-2.

In that scenario, OU and Texas would advance, because each would be 2-1 against the tied teams.

It’s all enough to make your head explode, and it won’t find clarity this Saturday -- the only Big 12 games are TCU at West Virginia and Baylor at Texas Tech.

Here are the rankings for this week:

1. Oklahoma State (5-1, 4-1): Give OSU credit. The Cowboys have played all the contenders except OU and are in a virtual tie for the lead. There’s something to be said for that.

2. Iowa State (5-2, 5-1): The Cyclones still have two tough games remaining -- hosting K-State and at Texas.

3. Oklahoma (5-2, 4-2): The Sooners probably are playing better than any team in the league, with four straight victories and only one of them close.

4. Texas (5-2, 4-2): The Longhorns are living on the edge. Five of their six games went to the wire, and they still have games against KSU and ISU remaining.

5. Kansas State (4-3, 4-2): The Wildcats are a tough crew; they came within a whisker of being tied with Iowa State for the Big 12 lead.

6. TCU (3-3, 3-3): The Horned Frogs are getting better, and their next two games are against West Virginia and Kansas. 

7. West Virginia (4-3, 3-3): The Mountaineers lost at Texas 17-13 Saturday. Here’s how games are lost. On WVU’s final three drives, it had first-and-goal from the Longhorn 9-yard line, first down at the Texas 25 and first down at the Texas 17. The Mountaineers got three total points out of those trips, twice misfiring on 4th-and-1 passes.

8. Texas Tech (2-5, 1-5): The Red Raider defense is starting to sink.

9. Baylor (1-4, 1-4): The Bears showed a lot of fire in scaring Iowa State, before losing 38-31.

10. Kansas (0-7, 0-6): There’s always next decade.

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Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›