Leave it to the Big 12 to have the least certainty about which teams will play in its conference championship on December 2nd. Hopefully, college football’s Week 13 will clarify a three-way tie between Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State. Only Texas controls its destiny, though.
Let’s dive into the Big 12 Championship scenarios and what each team needs to clinch their appearance in Arlington.
Big 12 Championship Clinching Scenarios
The race to make the Big 12 Championship could be simple, but it might become extremely convoluted in typical conference fashion. Texas, 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12, just needs to win to be in. However, a loss opens the door for pure chaos.
MORE: Big 12 Standings
Of course, if everyone wins, the Big 12 might have some further clarifications on its confusing tiebreaker rules. The rule on a tiebreaker says, “Head-to-head (best cumulative win percentage in games among the tied teams). If not, every tied team has played each other, go to step two.” Well, that’s not helpful when these teams haven’t played each other.
The conference issued a slight clarification that favors the Cowboys, but we might get more later if it’s not clear after Week 13.
The Texas Longhorns‘ path to the championship game can be as easy as winning against Texas Tech on Friday night. The Longhorns have limped to the end of the season due to inconsistent play and injuries across its offense, and the Red Raiders are feisty enough to give Texas all they can handle.
If Texas can’t hold home field and loses, they can finish second in the Big 12 if Oklahoma State loses to BYU. If Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State lose, Texas finishes first. Finally, if Texas loses and the Cowboys, Sooners, and Wildcats win, then Texas is out.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have the inside track to face Texas in the title game. Winning against BYU at home Saturday afternoon would lock in their place, barring a change of interpretation of the rules by the conference. BYU has lost four straight games, so Oklahoma State is expected to handle business.
Oklahoma State would finish first in the conference with a win and a Texas and Oklahoma loss, or a Cowboys and Sooners win and a Texas and Kansas State loss.
The Cowboys would settle into second in the following circumstances:
- Oklahoma State and Texas win
- Oklahoma State and Oklahoma lose, and Texas win
- Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma lose
The Big 12’s clarification hurt the Oklahoma Sooners more than any other team. Oklahoma must win and receive help, but not as much help as Kansas State. They can finish first with a win, and Texas and Oklahoma State lose.
However, Oklahoma’s path to second place and a title game bid has two routes:
- Oklahoma and Texas win, and Oklahoma State lose
- Oklahoma and Oklahoma State win, and Texas and Kansas State lose
Kansas State Wildcats
The Kansas State Wildcats have the most capped upside and needs the most help to reach the title game. They host Iowa State on Saturday night and will be the last team in the conference, kicking off in Week 13. They’ll know their fate by the time the game begins.
At 8-3 overall, Kansas State obviously needs a win to finish second. They cannot finish first in the Big 12. Here are the two scenarios they can finish second:
- Kansas State win, Oklahoma and Oklahoma lose
- Kansas State and Oklahoma win, and Oklahoma State and Texas lose