The Big 12 might not get a team into the College Football Playoff this year, but the race to make the conference‘s championship game is as tight as it has been in years.
The heated competition for those two coveted spots has created a confusing mess of tie breakers and crazy scenarios, so we are here to clear it all up for you (hopefully)!
The current standings look like this:
Iowa State – 7-1
Oklahoma – 5-2
Oklahoma State – 5-2
Texas – 4-3
West Virginia – 4-3
What Each Team Needs:
Iowa State: If Iowa State beats West Virginia at home in Ames on Saturday, they book their spot in the Big 12 Championship game no matter what else happens. They’ve likely punched their ticket already. ESPN FPI gives the Cyclones a 99 percent chance to play in the championship game.
The only scenario that doesn’t see the Cyclones make their first Big 12 title game appearance would be for them to lose to WVU, OU and OSU to win out and for Texas to lose to Kansas State and Kansas.
This would create a three way tie at the top between ISU, OU, and OSU. With all of these teams sporting a 1-1 record against each other, the tiebreaker would fall to their record against the next team in descending order in the conference standings.
That scenario would create a two-way tie between WVU and Kansas State, in which WVU would have the upper hand thanks to their head to head matchup. With WVU in possession of fourth place, Iowa State’s loss to them would keep them out of the Big 12 title game because both OU and OSU beat them previously.
While possible, this is unlikely. But hey, it’s 2020.
Oklahoma: Win out their final games at home against Baylor and in Morgantown against West Virginia. As simple as that. Things get much more complicated and difficult for the Sooners if they pick up another loss.
It would require games being cancelled for a two-loss Sooners team to not wind up in Arlington.
OU owns the tie breakers with both OSU and Texas so if it finds itself tied with one or both of those teams by the end of the year, it will advance to the title game. OU also wins a four-way tie at 6-3 between itself, Texas, OSU, and West Virginia even if the Mountaineers beat them.
If Oklahoma loses one of its next two games, it would need OSU to lose as well to find their way to the title game.
Oklahoma State: Win out by defeating both TCU and Baylor on the road. That’s the first step. The Cowboys would then need the Sooners to lose once more and they would make it to Arlington.
Another path for OSU, even if they lose one of those games, would require West Virginia to win out against OU and Iowa State. That would create a three-way tie for second place, with each of OU, OSU and WVU 1-1 against the other two. The next tiebreaker would be how they fared against first-place Iowa State. OSU and West Virginia would have both defeated the Cyclones, sending the Cowboys to Arlington with a victory over the Mountaineers in hand.
Additionally, if somehow the conference winds up in a five-way tie for second place between OU, Texas, West Virginia, and Kansas State at 5-4 the Cowboys would advance as the only team to have defeated Iowa State from that group.
Texas: The Longhorn’s loss to Iowa State effectively eliminated them from title game contention, but never say never. Texas would need to win out, OU to lose the rest of its games, and for OSU to lose at least one more. This would put them into a tie with Oklahoma State, in which Texas would hold the upper hand thanks to their victory over the Cowboys earlier in the year.
West Virginia: There remains only one way for WVU to make the title game. To start, the Mountaineers must win out. They would then need Oklahoma State to lose all of their remaining games and for Texas to lose at least one more. This would put them in a two way tie with Oklahoma for second, which they would win if they are able to beat the Sooners.
The Big 12 Championship Game will be played on December 19th at 11 a.m. in Arlington, Texas.