Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma State football: Now what are the odds of the Cowboys making the Big Bowl?

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 26, 2013 at 9:50 am •  Published: November 26, 2013

Oklahoma State wide receiver Jhajuan Seales (81) celebrates his touchdown against Baylor with teammate Jeremy Smith (31) in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Oklahoma State won 49-17. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State wide receiver Jhajuan Seales (81) celebrates his touchdown against Baylor with teammate Jeremy Smith (31) in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Oklahoma State won 49-17. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

I had a couple of interesting emails in recent days, concerning my odds calculations of OSU reaching the Big Bowl. Last week, I estimated that OSU’s chances of reaching the Big Bowl at 200,000-to-1. Those odds are a lot better after OSU took apart Baylor 49-17 Saturday night. But more on that later.

Email No. 1: “Does the Joklahoman drug test ?? The odds of oSu  getting to the Big Bowl and all that jibberish reminds me of something some preschooler would write. Seriously do you ever read what you write ?? I am embarrassed for you !!”

The guy didn’t sign his name, which is not unusual but tells you much of what you need to know.

Anyway, Monday, I got an email from a fellow who did sign his name but in the subject line wrote: “crackpot email.” The email said this: “Hey Mr. Tramel — I know this is crazy, but a man can dream. Is there any scenario in which the OKstate Cowboys would play Ohio State in a BCS bowl?  It would be an absolute dream match-up. And those of us around these parts have no doubt OkState would win or otherwise give’em all they could handle. I know I know — Big Ten plays Pac-12 in Rose, I get it, but dang, think about it. OSU vs. OSU. The 3rd best undefeated team playing the best one-loss team. Alabama and Florida State in the national championship game leaves Ohio State looking for the next best team and after Auburn and Mizzou get another loss … if OKstate ends up playing Fresno State or Northern Illinois, I’m gonna puke.”

Well, get your heave pan. I think it’s going to happen.

If OSU beats OU, the Cowboys are going to the Fiesta Bowl. And no way do I see anyone but Fresno State, Northern Illinois or the American champ (Central Florida, Louisville or Cincinnati) playing in the Fiesta. If OSU loses to OU, the Cowboys fall out of the BCS lineup. If Ohio State wins the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are going to the Rose Bowl or the Big Bowl. If Ohio State loses to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and finishes 12-1, the Buckeyes would be scooped up by the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl.

So the only way we can get an OSU-TOSU matchup — they want to be called THE Ohio State University, I’m more than willing to cooperate — is in the Big Bowl. And I don’t think that’s possible.

For OSU to make the Big Bowl, I think the Cowboys need Ohio State to lose. For this reason. I think the SEC champion is going to make the Big Bowl, unless it’s Ohio State-Florida State.

Here’s why. If Alabama wins out, Bama is in. If Auburn beats Bama on Saturday, then wins the SEC title game, Auburn would finish ahead of OSU no doubt about it. So what if Missouri or South Carolina wins the SEC? Let’s take Missouri. If Mizzou beats Texas A&M on Saturday, then Bama or Auburn in the SEC title game, Missouri would finish ahead of OSU. If Missouri loses to A&M, then South Carolina wins the SEC East and goes to Atlanta for the SEC title game. South Carolina plays Clemson on Saturday. The Gamecocks already have two defeats; if they lose to Clemson, then win the SEC, they likely wouldn’t jump an 11-1 OSU team. But the problem with that is, if the Gamecocks lose to Clemson, OSU won’t jump Clemson. The Tigers are No. 4 right now, and they would have just beaten the No. 10-ranked team on the road.

So for OSU to make the Big Bowl, I think the Cowboys have to play an SEC team. How does that happen?

* OSU must beat OU.

* Florida State has to lose to either Florida or the ACC Atlantic Division winner, which most likely will be Duke but could be Virginia Tech or even one of the lesserweights.

* Ohio State has to lose to Michigan or Michigan State.

* Clemson has to lose to South Carolina.

Then the SEC will take care of it self.

And that’s it. Not a terribly long list, but what’s on the list is a longshot. So what are the odds?

First, I’d give OSU about a 65 percent chance of winning Bedlam. That’s healthy respect for a team that figures to be favored by 8-9 points.

I’d give Florida State about a 90 percent chance of beating both Florida and Duke/whoever, which makes an 81 percent chance the Seminoles sweep.

I’d give Ohio State about a 65 percent chance of beating both Michigan and Michigan State. That means the Buckeyes have a 43 percent chance of sweeping both.

I’d give South Carolina a 55 percent chance of beating Clemson. The Gamecocks are favored, playing at home.

So there you have it. Multiply .65 times .19 times .57 times .55.  That’s 0.0387. Basically a one-in-25 chance that OSU makes the Big Bowl.

Not bloody likely. But not impossible.

It just won’t be against Ohio State.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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