Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

November 19, 2012

Big 12 could see 4-way tie for BCS berth

If college football fans think the BCS picture got all shook up with those losses by Kansas State and Oregon, they might want to look at the potential chaos in the Big 12.

Kansas State could still win the league, but the Wildcats’ 52-24 loss at Baylor on Saturday set up the possibility for a four-way tie. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas could all sit at 7-2 at the end of the regular season Dec. 1.

If that happens, all would get a trophy declaring their Big 12 championship. But there would have to be some tiebreaker work done to determine who would get the league’s BCS berth in the Fiesta Bowl, if not in the championship game.

For the quartet to finish 7-2, the 16th-ranked Longhorns would have to beat TCU and then win at Kansas State, while No. 21 Oklahoma State would have to win the Bedlam game in Norman, Okla., and prevail at Baylor. Also, the No. 13 Sooners would have to win at TCU.

Head-to-head records would then decide which school gets a BCS berth.

Just last week, Kansas State had a clear path to the national title game, ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings. The Wildcats dropped five spots to sixth in the rankings after losing to a Baylor team still trying to become bowl eligible.

There’s also a possibility for a three-way tie similar to 2008 when Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas each finished 7-1 in Big 12 and 11-1 in regular season. This year it could be the Wildcats, Longhorns or Sooners in a three-way tie, or the Wildcats, Longhorns and Cowboys.

All the math becomes moot if Kansas State beats Texas to close the regular season.

With that, the only team that could match K-State’s 8-1 conference record would be Oklahoma, which lost to the Wildcats in the Big 12 opener Sept. 22. In that case, the Wildcats would get the Big 12’s BCS berth.

The Longhorns play on Thanksgiving against a Horned Frogs team that’s 3-1 on the road in conference play.

“All of our focus will be on TCU,” Longhorns coach Mack Brown said Monday. “This is a very important game for us and key game for us to finish strong.”

Should the Sooners come out on top in their last two games, their fans would then be in the awkward position of pulling for the Longhorns to win at Kansas State.

“We’re not there yet,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said of the odd scenario.

Kansas State has two weeks to prepare to host the Longhorns, who Wildcats coach Bill Snyder called a “tremendously talented” team. The break will be welcome to his players and their bodies.

But, “feeling sorry” for themselves isn’t an option for his players, he said, and there is a downside, he said.

“That’s two weeks having to live with the loss in Waco,” Snyder said.

Dana Holgorsen, whose West Virginia team has lost five straight, said the tight finish comes in a league that’s as strong as he’s seen it. He knows the Big 12 well, having spent eight years at Texas Tech with former coach Mike Leach and a season as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

“It’s been an eye-opener for a lot of people” who are Mountaineers fans, he said. “It’s just an incredibly strong conference.”

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