Texas again in the mix for Big 12 title, BCS bid

Ronald Martinez

The loss by the Wildcats on Saturday night opened the door for the Longhorns to become conference champions.

When junior wide receiver Mike Davis said after the Kansas game that he thought Texas was good enough to play in a BCS game, he was met with a great deal of skepticism, especially from Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls.

And the sentiment expressed by Bohls was probably shared by most of the Texas fanbase at that point.

Fast forward three weeks and it doesn't look so impossible.

The loss to Oklahoma seemed to derail a handful of trajectories, the most important of which was the ascent of Texas back to being a top-15 team after the 2010 debacle and house cleaning that followed.

With the Holiday Bowl appearance last season, Mack Brown and his team put themselves in a position to repeat a pattern that started in 2003. The Longhorns played in the Holiday Bowl that season, a BCS game the next, and then the national championship, a pattern that repeated starting in 2007.

Prior to the season, the narrative was that a more experienced Texas team in the second season under the coordinators that were hired in 2010 would compete for a BCS bid on the way to competing for a national championship next season.

After righting the ship in the last several weeks, that BCS bid is now back on the table, even if the program has a long way to go before becoming a serious national championship contender.

Texas got a big assist in their quest for that bid and a Big 12 title when Kansas State lost to Baylor on Saturday night, paving the way for the Longhorns to win the conference and earn the automatic BCS bid.

Unfortunately, West Virginia didn't oblige by pulling out the win over Oklahoma, so the Sooners would still need to lose to Oklahoma State or TCU to make it happen, but the Longhorns would win the Big 12 with two victories to close the season and that loss by Oklahoma to Oklahoma State.

The Horned Frogs don't seem like a great candidate to take down OU, but what are the odds that Oklahoma State can take down Oklahoma? They certainly look better than they did several weeks ago. Freshman quarterback Wes Lunt hasn't followed up well on his strong start, so former third-stringer Clint Chelf is now the starter, but the team has benefited from a boost provided by the return of JW Walsh, who filled in well for Lunt when he was injured earlier in the season before going down with his own injury.

The team also has some confidence entering the rivalry after winning for the first time last year since 2007. More importantly, the Oklahoma run defense is reeling after giving up almost 350 yards on the ground to Tavon Austin, who wasn't even a running back prior to Saturday night. On the season, Oklahoma State is 12th in the country in yards per rush.

Of course, for the Longhorns to come home with a third Big 12 title under Mack Brown, they need to take care of business to end of the season, including pulling out a victory over Kansas State for the first time since 2003.

Pulling out those two victories just looks a lot more possible now than it did a few short weeks ago.

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