FanPost

Dr. Saturday Explains Why He Thinks OU Wins 3-Way Tiebreak

Matt shot me an email with a full response on why he's projecting OU the winner of a three-way tiebreak.

These are the scenarios and results as I see them, and none of them work for Texas:

If Texas Tech wins out, it will be ranked ahead of Texas. Obviously.

If Oklahoma wins out, it will be ranked ahead of Texas. I think this is just as obvious. Voters have been waffling on OU and Texas for a month even with UT's head-to-head advantage. If Oklahoma wins two in a row against 10-0 Texas Tech and 9-2 Oklahoma State, pretty much everything I know about human pollsters says the Sooners will move ahead of UT. Head-to-head won't save Texas here, nor should it. This is what frustrated me so much about Kirk Bohls' outrage against the polls last week: It completely ignored the fact that OU, Texas and Texas Tech can all be 1-1 against each other by this Sunday. By logical necessity, somebody has to be ranked ahead of a team it lost to. Oklahoma will have the dreaded "momentum" of two straight big wins and, for good measure, the two best non-conference wins (over TCU and Cincinnati), which more than makes up for the added value of Texas' win over Missouri. Almost all of OU's games, especially since losing to Texas, have been over in the first half, often the first quarter. And that's assuming voters even remember anything beyond the last flickers of light on ESPN's highlights of the week. If it beats Tech and OSU back-to-back, Oklahoma's going to get that vote.

If Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, then loses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech will go to the Big 12 Championship. We're back to the two-way tie between the Horns and Raiders, and it doesn't matter what the polls think: Tech has the head-to-head advantage, and if it goes to the championship and beats Missouri, it's going to get the mythical championship bid. The only realistic scenario, mathematically speaking, under which Texas makes the Big 12 Championship is if Baylor beats Texas Tech, which is not realistic, realistically speaking. Texas A&M is just as likely to beat Texas again, anyway, if we're taking off to that magical, hypothetical planet.

So Texas is really down to rooting for Missouri in the Big 12 Championship, and that's not a wild hope, despite the Tigers' awful performance in Austin. But even then, there's the backlash that comes with being an at-large vagabond rather than a conference champion; if Texas Tech beats Oklahoma and goes to the championship at 12-0, only to lose to Missouri, voters will still have to square ranking an 11-1 Texas team ahead of a 12-1 Texas Tech team that beat the Horns. And there's still a potential groundswell for USC if the Big 12 gets convoluted enough (I would say Utah, too, if the Utes hammer BYU, but we're being realistic, not fair).

So it's not impossible for Texas, especially if Missouri beats OU or Tech for the conference championship. But I don't think the Horns can get there barring a miracle by Baylor, so the national championship is unlikely, and obviously out of their hands.

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