Tramel: Lots of interesting Big 12 football title game options, including Bedlam II
The Big 12 football race has been fun and complicated -- it’s always complicated when losses pile and favorites fall.
Barring upsets, the most likely matchup for Arlington is OU vs. the Texas-Iowa State winner. But the schedule still holds all kinds of possibilities. Here are three that hold particular intrigue:
1. Despite what I wrote late Saturday night, a Bedlam rematch is possible. Here’s how. If OU and OSU win out to finish 7-2, and Iowa State beats Texas but loses to West Virginia, there would be a three-way for first place. And each of the tied teams would be 1-1 against the other tied teams.
So the next tiebreaker would be record against the fourth-place team. Under that scenario, Texas would be the fourth-place team, provided it defeats Kansas and Kansas State. OU would get the first Arlington spot, since it beat the Longhorns. And OSU would get the next spot, since it beat Iowa State.
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An even more unlikely scenario -- OU and OSU win out, Iowa State loses to West Virginia and Texas, and Kansas State beats Texas. Then you’ve got Bedlam II without needing tiebreakers.
2. West Virginia has navigated a 4-3 Big 12 record, but the Mountaineers finish with what appears to be the Big 12’s two best teams: OU in Morgantown on Saturday, at Iowa State the following Saturday.
When thinking about West Virginia’s tough finishing holes, we tend to think of the Mountaineers falling. But what if WVU can pull an upset? What if WVU is getting better and actually wins both games?
If West Virginia can knock off both OU and Iowa State, the Big 12 race gets really interesting. So interesting, that OSU is back in contention.
If West Virginia wins out and OSU wins out, the Cowboys would be in the Big 12 title game, likely against the Texas-Iowa State winner.
3. A six-way tie for first place is possible. Here’s what is required. Iowa State loses to both Texas and West Virginia. OU loses to West Virginia. Texas loses to Kansas State. OSU loses to either TCU, Texas Tech or Baylor. Kansas, TCU, Tech and Baylor lose all their other games.
Then there’s a six-way tie at 6-3 with Iowa State, OU, OSU, Texas, West Virginia and Kansas State. And making it to Arlington would be … OSU and Texas.
The Cowboys and Longhorns would join West Virginia as having 3-2 records against the other tied teams, and since UT beat both WVU and OSU, the Longhorns would advance. And since OSU beat WVU, the Cowboys would advance.
Here are the rankings for this week:
1. Iowa State (6-2, 6-1): Why the Cyclones over the Sooners? Well, they’ve played the exact same Big 12 schedule other than OU has played Texas and Iowa State hasn’t, and Iowa State has played Baylor and OU hasn’t. So OU’s conference has been tougher (Texas), but the Cyclones are a game ahead. And the Cyclones beat OU. And while, yes, the Sooners looked great in a Bedlam rout, the Cyclones looked even more dominant in a 45-0 thrashing of K-State.
2. Oklahoma (6-2, 5-2): Each of the Sooners’ first three Big 12 games went down to the wire. The last four have been won by a combined score of 198-66.
3. Texas (5-2, 4-2): ABC got a heck of a game for 11 a.m. Black Friday, with Iowa State coming to Austin.
4. Oklahoma State (5-2, 4-2): Only four Big 12 teams have losing records. The Cowboys get to play three of them down the stretch.
5. West Virginia (5-3, 4-3): The Mountaineers have to be kicking themselves for losing in Lubbock, else they’d be in a tie for second place.
6. Kansas State (4-4, 4-3): The Wildcats seemed out of gas in being blown out at Ames.
7. TCU (3-4, 3-4): The Horned Frogs must beat OSU (and Kansas) to have a winning conference record.
8. Texas Tech (3-5, 2-5): Who will quarterback the Red Raiders in Stillwater, Henri Colombi or Alan Bowman?
9. Baylor (1-5, 1-5): The Bears are flirting with their second one-win finish in the last four seasons.
10. Kansas (0-7, 0-6): The Jayhawks are flirting with their second no-win finish in the last six seasons.