OU's path to Big 12 title

OU is out of the Big 12 championship picture..or is it?

“We are going to go into every game as hard as we can, like we do every game,” Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson said. “Sometimes you lose them. No one wants to lose but we are fine and we are going to come out there hard. We are going to play hard this weekend. I would say our mindset is to dominate the rest of these five games.”

“You always have hope.” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Our deal is always with the conference first and team have won the conference with two losses. Our job is just to win this week. Who knows what will happen at the end of it? No one would have anticipated what happened a year ago. You just have to try to keep improving at every opportunity you can.”

It has been talked about like crazy the last week. With how wide open and top-heavy the Big 12 conference is, does Oklahoma have a realistic shot?

Not to win the conference outright, but what about a five-way tie of teams all going 7-2 in conference play? Sounds ridiculous until you start breaking down the schedule.

Purely assuming the top five teams (TCU, Kansas State, Baylor, OU, West Virginia) take care of business against the bottom half, the quintet could find itself where everybody has two wins against each other and two losses.

How to “win” the Big 12 (with a five-way tie)

OU: wins vs. West Virginia (already happened), Baylor; losses to TCU (already happened), Kansas State (already happened)

Baylor: wins vs. TCU (already happened) and Kansas State; losses to West Virginia (already happened), OU

TCU: wins against OU (already happened) and Kansas State; losses to Baylor (already happened), West Virginia

West Virginia: wins against Baylor (already happened) and TCU; losses to OU (already happened), Kansas State

Kansas State: wins against OU (already happened), West Virginia; losses to Baylor, TCU

Two conference losses would give West Virginia and Kansas State both three losses overall as each lost to an SEC team in nonconference action. But it’s with the Wildcats where the biggest leap is being made since Bill Snyder’s group is the only team without a Big 12 loss right now.

So it would feel like you could toss them out if those hypotheticals happen, leaving the Sooners, Horned Frogs and Bears. But if it were to happen the way this article is suggesting, nobody has the upper hand.

OU lost to TCU, who lost to Baylor, but then who the Sooners would have beaten. Baylor beat TCU but would have lost to TCU. TCU beat OU but has lost to Baylor.

In the days of yesteryear, one loss meant you were out of the hunt for the national championship. As time goes on, it’s becoming clear two losses won’t even be the death knell for certain teams. And two losses in this year’s Big 12 certainly isn’t something to be ashamed about.

Too early to say whether or not a two-loss Big 12 team could somehow make its way into the four-team playoff, but it’s not out of the question. And with this being the first year of the playoff, all bets are off in terms of what the committee is going to value the most down the stretch.

But for everybody believing OU players are just saying the right things about still having something to play for, there’s definitely kernels of truth in their statements.


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