Crazy Big 12 Race Just Got More Complicated

Most conference races have seen leaders emerge. But in the always-zany Big 12, the possibility of a four-way tie atop the league standings isn't just possible, it's not that far-fetched.

Twenty-four seconds. That's all the game time left when Landry Jones fired to Kenny Stills to stave off a potential Big 12 loss to West Virginia, potentially saving the Big 12 from madness and mayhem atop the standings, at least for another week. No three-way co-champs this year for the conference, and no repeat of 2008's hectic battle at the top.

But here's the thing: if Texas wins out, and if Oklahoma State wins out, now the Big 12 could have a four-way tie atop the conference … without too much finagling.

Here's the situation:

* Kansas State has one Big 12 loss. The Wildcats host Texas in two weeks.

* Oklahoma has one Big 12 loss. The Sooners host Oklahoma State for Bedlam this week.

* Texas has two losses. But one of the Longhorns' remaining games includes the above trip to Kansas State.

* Oklahoma State has two conference losses. But the Cowboys also have that game coming against one of the conference's two one-loss teams in the Sooners.

Of course, there are two simple endings to the above conflict. First, either Kansas State or Oklahoma could win the rest of their games, while the other loses. That would give either sole possession of the Big 12 championship, the only way that feat can be accomplished. And if both teams win out, they would share the title, with Kansas State getting the BCS auto bid by virtue of its victory over the Sooners earlier this year.

But what happens if the above mayhem — the one with four conference champions — plays out? The Longhorns would get the league's BCS auto bid. Texas and Kansas State would each have 2-1 records against the co-champions, separating them from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at 1-2. At that point, the fact that Texas beat Kansas State would separate the Longhorns from the pack.

Too head-spinning? Blame Jones. If his pass fell awry, just three teams could have tied for the Big 12 title.

Horns Digest Top Stories