This Big 12 baseball regular season has been called many things.
Surprising, with newcomer West Virginia staying in the championship hunt after being pegged in the preseason — unanimously — for the basement.
Alarming, with perennial power Texas instead alone in last, without a single conference series win.
Disappointing, as the Big 12 overall has slipped from national prominence.
Soon, by late afternoon Sunday, this Big 12 season could take on another label: historic.
Kansas State sits on the doorstep of the regular-season championship, needing one win to clinch at least a tie for the conference title. The Wildcats would become the first team from Kansas to win a Big 12 championship.
Only Oklahoma, and perhaps Oklahoma State, stand in the 'Cats' way entering a final Big 12 weekend that has the league's top four teams involved in major series that will impact not only their conference finish, but their postseason potential.
The Sooners visit K-State, needing a series sweep to claim the championship for themselves. The Cowboys are at home to face West Virginia, which can claim a share of the title by sweeping OSU while the Wildcats go 1-2.
Under any scenario, the Lone Star State stranglehold on the Big 12 championship will end. In the history of the league, Nebraska is the only non-Texas school to finish atop the regular-season standings.
The Cowboys can't win the championship, yet can finish as high as second … or as low as seventh, in a worst-case scenario.
Clearly, there's much still to sort out.
“We need to take care of what we can take care of,” said OSU third baseman Robbie Rea.
Lately, the Cowboys have been doing just that, taking three straight Big 12 series and winning 12 of their last 15 overall to rise from beyond 100 to No. 34 in the RPI, strengthening their case for an NCAA Tournament bid.
“They've been gritty,” said OSU coach Josh Holliday. “We haven't always been perfect and we haven't always been pretty. But boy they have competed hard. That's all we've asked of them.
“We knew we'd grow as time went on and as we got better and more skilled and healthy. I'm really proud of these guys.”
The Sooners haven't played as sharp, losing 12 of their last 22 and dropping two straight Big 12 series. Still, the conference championship is within their grasp. And with Dillon Overton back in the rotation after missing two weeks with an arm injury, OU's pitching strength is again in play.
Down to No. 45 in the RPI, the Sooners may need to reinforce their résumé to gain an NCAA Tournament spot.
“With our arms and our team and our toughness, I think we could go a long way,” said Sooners coach Sunny Golloway.
And not just the Sooners, Golloway said. With K-State, OU and OSU all in the rankings and a high-stakes Big 12 Tournament coming up next week, the Big 12 is making a late rebound toward relevance.
“Everyone wants to talk about how our league is down,” Golloway said, “but don't be surprised if somebody is in Omaha at the end of the road.”