Tramel: College football predictions & a possible 6-way tie in the Big 12
In all my deep dives into the Big 12 Championship Game scenarios, I never offered up this possibility.
A six-way tie for second place.
Here’s how it works. If OU loses out, to Baylor and West Virginia, and OSU loses out, to TCU and Baylor, the Bedlam rivals would each be 5-4. Also at 5-4 would be TCU.
If Iowa State beats West Virginia, the Mountaineers would be 5-4, too, with that victory over the Sooners.
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That leaves Texas and Kansas State. If the Wildcats beat UT, and the Longhorns beat Kansas, suddenly Texas and K-State are 5-4, also.
This scenario does not require something crazy, like Kansas winning.
In fact, it requires few upsets and maybe just one major upset -- Baylor over OU.
OSU-TCU, OSU-Baylor, OU-West Virginia all figure to be competitive and interesting games.
So a six-way tie at 5-4 in the conference is possible, and here’s how you determine the tiebreaker.
Head-to-head: Against each other, OU, Kansas State and West Virginia would be 3-2, while OSU, Texas and TCU would be 2-3. So the Cowboys, Longhorns and Horned Frogs are eliminated. And once we’re down to three teams, their record against each other would be OU 0-2, K-State 1-1 and West Virginia 2-0.
The Mountaineers would play Iowa State in Arlington for the Big 12 title.
Two weeks ago, Texas Tech kicked a last-second field goal to beat Baylor. Under the six-way tie scenario, Baylor finishes 4-5 in the league. If the Bears had won that game against Tech, they would be alive to finish 5-4 and make it a seven-way tie.
The year is crazy. Let’s get to the predictions:
Baylor at Oklahoma: Sooners 34-24. The Bears are playing better, but no six-way tie is in the cards.
Oklahoma State at TCU: Cowboys 27-25. This will be a battle royale. Can OSU run the ball? Will OSU have the patience to try to run the ball?
West Virginia at Iowa State: Cyclones 26-21. If the Mountaineers pull the upset, all kinds of tiebreakers could come into play for the Arlington participants.
Texas at Kansas State: Longhorns 28-26. Do the Texas players want to play? We’re going to find out.
Kansas at Texas Tech: Red Raiders 38-24. Tech can finish 3-6 and perhaps ahead of Baylor for eighth place. That would be a consolation prize.
Texas A&M at Auburn: Aggies 24-17. The last best chance for A&M to lose. Sure would open some passing lanes in the playoff rankings if the Ags would fall.
Arkansas at Missouri: Tigers 30-20. I wonder how Columbia, Missouri, is holding up? Used to go all the time but haven’t been there in 10 years.
Florida at Tennessee: Gators 42-19. The Peyton Manning days are long away and far ago.
Alabama at LSU: Crimson Tide 47-7. CBS is showing this in primetime. CBS is stuck in a time warp.
South Carolina at Kentucky: Wildcats 23-20. These disappointing teams have combined for five wins.
Vanderbilt at Georgia: Bulldogs 55-7. Georgia’s second straight game against an opponent that has fired its coach. South Carolina (Will Muschamp) last week, Vandy (Derek Mason) this week.
Nebraska at Purdue: Cornhuskers 27-17. Nebraska once was where Ohio State is today. A bedrock national power, decade after decade. Now, Nebraska is where Purdue is. A middling Big Ten program.
Ohio State at Michigan State: Buckeyes 55-14. Ohio State desperately needs to play. The Buckeyes have gotten in only four of their six games scheduled so far.
Iowa at Illinois: Hawkeyes 31-10. Iowa is playing better after opening with narrow losses to Purdue and Northwestern.
Penn State at Rutgers: Scarlet Knights 31-24. Penn State is favored -- and that’s as it should be. Not because of the brand name, but because the Nittanys have played all three common opponents tougher than has Rutgers. Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan. I’m still picking Rutgers.
Indiana at Wisconsin: Badgers 33-18. IU’s breakout season could be ruined by the knee injury to quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Boston College at Virginia: Cavaliers 26-16. If BC can win, it’s a heck of a season. With a win, the Eagles finish 6-4 in the ACC and no worse than sixth in the 15-team league. That’s like fourth place in a 10-team conference. Not bad.
Syracuse at Notre Dame: Fighting Irish 38-10. The Orange is headed for last place in the 15-team league. That’s like 15th place in a 15-team league. Not good.
Miami at Duke: Hurricanes 35-13. Miami has played twice since October 24, and the ‘Canes’ last three wins have been by a total of nine points.
Clemson at Virginia Tech: Tigers 56-14. Notre Dame permanently in the ACC wouldn’t be a bad deal. At least Clemson would have some competition.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina State: Wolfpack 42-23. N.C. State has a decent team. Probably going to finish fourth in the ACC.
Western Carolina at North Carolina: Tar Heels 54-7. Too bad there’s not a University of Southern Carolina located in the state of North Carolina. Then Southern Carolina could play South Carolina.
Washington State at Southern Cal: Trojans 38-30. This game was moved from Friday to Sunday. The Trojans need to play. Another cancellation could put them in danger of not being eligible for the Pac-12 title game.
Colorado at Arizona: Buffaloes 31-21. CU remains unbeaten and is getting no love.
Oregon at California: Ducks 38-20. Why is Oregon ranked by the playoff committee and Colorado is not? The Ducks have beaten Stanford, Washington State and UCLA, then lost to Oregon State. CU beat Stanford, UCLA and San Diego State.
Stanford at Washington: Huskies 35-14. UW pulled out a great comeback win over Utah last week.
UCLA at Arizona State: Sun Devils 35-24. Old Dominion, New Mexico State and Connecticut decided not to play this season. Of the rest of Division I-A, the fewest games have been played by Rice (three), Washington State (two), Utah (two) and Arizona State (one).
Oregon State at Utah: Utes 31-28. The Beavers are getting better. I think OSU would have beaten Oregon State back in that now-canceled season opener, but it would have been a good game.
Tulsa at Navy: Golden Hurricane 24-13. Crazy times for TU. Great season, with memorable victories and a national ranking. But all punctuated with COVID cancellations and postponements.
Memphis at Tulane: Tigers 44-32. River City showdown. In better days, you could take a steamboat down the Mississippi to go to this game.
Liberty at Coastal Carolina: Flames 31-24. ESPN’s GameDay will be on hand, and rightfully so, for this mid-major showdown. If Coastal wins, what’s the argument against keeping the Chanticleers out of the top 10? There isn’t one.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Appalachian State: Ragin’ Cajuns 27-24. Another good mid-major showdown, and props to the committee for (belatedly) getting ULL into its rankings.
Troy at South Alabama: Trojans 33-23. I’ve been to Troy. And trust me. It’s in south Alabama.
Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas State: Red Wolves 45-11. A matchup of two programs that once shared a nickname. Indians.
Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern: Owls 20-19. FAU is 5-1 in Charlie Strong’s first season as coach. Solid.
Boise State at Nevada-Las Vegas: Broncos 42-6. The Boise State-San Jose State game last weekend was canceled by COVID, but since they are the only unbeaten teams in the Mountain West, they can meet in the championship game.
Fresno State at Nevada: Bulldogs 31-30. Bummer for Jay Norvell’s Wolf Pack that the San Jose State-Boise State game was called off. Nevada is in third place in the league, at 5-1.
Air Force at Utah State: Falcons 24-23. The Academy can make its season on December 19, when it plays at Army. Air Force has won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy only four times in the last 18 years, after winning it 16 of the previous 21 seasons.
San Jose State at Hawaii: Spartans 29-14. Hawaii knocked Nevada from the unbeaten ranks last week. Maybe the Rainbow Warriors can do the same to San Jose State.
Colorado State at San Diego State: Aztecs 25-16. San Diego State played tough at Colorado.
Wyoming vs. New Mexico at Las Vegas: Cowboys 30-14. Wyoming’s second trip to Vegas in a week. The Cowboys beat Nevada-Las Vegas a week ago, now return, since the Lobos have relocated to Vegas.
Rice at Marshall: Thundering Herd 46-14. Marshall is having a heck of a season. There could be some great mid-major bowl games.
Louisiana Tech at North Texas: Bulldogs 41-22. TCU adding Louisiana Tech to the schedule for December 19 is a cool thing. That’s a good game.
Western Kentucky at Charlotte: 49ers 26-7. Charlotte hasn’t played since Halloween. No games in December. Four games stopped by COVID, including a Tuesday game against Western Kentucky.
Toledo at Northern Illinois: Rockets 41-27. Wasn’t that long ago that the Huskies were in the Orange Bowl. Now Northern Illinois is 0-4.
Bowling Green at Akron: Falcons 27-26. A matchup of 0-4 teams. Bowling Green has been outscored 194-54. Akron has been outscored 189-65.
Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan: Broncos 31-30. Western and Buffalo are the Mid-American’s only unbeaten teams.
Buffalo at Ohio: Bulls 42-30. Buffalo tailback Jaret Patterson became a star with his eight-touchdown performance against Kent State.
Ball State at Central Michigan: Cardinals 28-21. If Ball State wins, it plays Western Michigan for the division title next week.
Last week: 32-11. Season: 310-109.