Time for another set of Big 12 football rankings, and we’re to the point where the standings virtually speak for themselves. Texas and Baylor are the only schools with two games remaining.
And the standings are clear. OSU is No. 1. The Cowboys’ 49-17 dismantling of Baylor on Saturday night returned OSU to where it was in the preseason. Now the Cowboys are Fiesta Bowl found, if they beat OU on Dec. 7.
What happens if OU wins Bedlam? Well, then the Texas-Baylor winner on Dec. 7 would win the Big 12 — provided both the ‘Horns and Bears win this week. Which is no given, since UT hosts Texas Tech and Baylor plays at TCU.
Here are the scenarios if OSU loses Bedlam:
If Baylor beats TCU and Texas, Baylor’s the champ.
If Texas beats Tech and Baylor, Texas is the champ.
If Texas loses to Tech, Baylor loses to TCU and Texas beats Baylor, then OSU wins a three-way tie with Texas and OU. OU would have beaten OSU, OSU would have beaten Texas and Texas would have beaten OU. So the next criteria is games against the next team in the standings. That would be Baylor. OU lost to Baylor, so the Sooners would be eliminated. Next would be Kansas State or Tech. Doesn’t matter which order, since both OSU and Texas beat KSU. But Tech would have beaten Texas. That gives OSU the tiebreaker.
If Texas loses to Tech, Baylor loses to TCU and Baylor beats Texas, then the tiebreaker probably would come down to BCS ranking, and OSU likely would finish ahead. OSU would have lost to West Virginia and Baylor would have lost to TCU. The Frogs and Mountaineers figure to tie at 3-6 in the standings. However, if West Virginia loses to Iowa State on Saturday, TCU would finish ahead of WVU, and Baylor would win the tiebreaker.
But if OSU wins Bedlam, it’s all over but the shouting.
Here are the latest rankings, with the bowl scenarios for each school:
1. OSU (7-1, 10-1): Beat OU, and the Cowboys are headed to the Fiesta Bowl to play Fresno State, Northern Illinois, Central Florida, Louisville or Cincinnati. Lose to OU, and the Cowboys likely would drop to the Cotton Bowl.
2. Baylor (6-1, 9-1): If OSU makes the Fiesta, the Bears are Cotton Bowl bound — unless something opens in the BCS. Which is possible. Clemson is in line for one of the berths, but the Tigers still have to play South Carolina. Or Northern Illinois and Fresno State both could lose, knocking themselves out. Or the Sugar Bowl could decide an 11-1 Baylor, with its high-flying offense, is more marketable than a two-loss Big Ten team. Sugar Bowl reps were at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday night and were actively involved in watching the game. And remember, the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl have become partners, starting next season. The Sugar Bowl is likely to invite the Alabama-Auburn loser.
3. Texas (6-1, 7-3): If the Longhorns don’t make the Fiesta Bowl, which is quite the longshot, then they could fall far. If Texas beats Baylor, or if Baylor makes the BCS, then the Cotton Bowl is a possibility for the ‘Horns, especially since OU was in the Cotton Bowl last year. But otherwise, Texas is headed for the Buffalo Wild Wings in Tempe, Ariz., where Michigan seems the likely opponent. The Alamo isn’t likely, since the ‘Horns were there last year.
4. OU (6-2, 9-2): The Sooners seem headed for the Alamo Bowl, to which they’ve never been. Win or lose in Stillwater, San Antonio seems OU’s destination. If Baylor makes the BCS, then the Cotton conceivably could take OU over Texas. Or if Baylor loses out, coupled with a Texas loss to Texas Tech, then the Cotton could consider the Sooners. And there are longshot scenarios out there that put OU in the Sugar Bowl. But most likely, it’s the Alamo Bowl, where the task is formidable. Probably Stanford or Oregon.
5. Kansas State (4-4, 6-5): KSU probably is headed to the Holiday Bowl, if it beats Kansas on Saturday. The Holiday likely will have a pick between KSU and Texas Tech. If Tech beats Texas to finish 8-4, the Red Raiders would be attractive. But otherwise, KSU probably is the pick. If Baylor makes the BCS, then KSU could move up, either to the Wild Wings Bowl or even the Alamo, should OU make the Cotton.
6. Texas Tech (4-4, 7-4): The Red Raiders would seem to be Houston-bound for the Texas Bowl. If Baylor makes the BCS, then Tech would move up, probably to the Holiday.
7. TCU (2-6, 4-7): No bowl for the Frogs. It will be interesting to see if TCU’s solid defense can come close to matching what OSU’s defense did to Baylor on Saturday night.
8. West Virginia (2-6, 4-7): The Mountaineers’ loss to Kansas will have lasting ramifications. Probably cost WVU a bowl, much extra practice time for a young team, the chance to build momentum off a bad season.
9. Iowa State (1-7, 2-9): Cyclones took out a lot of frustrations on KU.
10. Kansas (1-7, 3-8): Just exactly how do you lose 34-0 to Iowa State?