Apologies for going dark this weekend; traveling has kept me from a computer until just now. I've yet to see Saturday's victory over Baylor. Solid enough win, though--certainly good enough to keep the BCS dreams alive. Especially now that the single biggest hurdle--a Penn State loss--has been cleared.
Below I've got your full breakdown of Texas various post-season scenarios. They're better than you might think.
THE ROAD TO MIAMI
There are multiple ways this can happen for Texas, all of which we can break down by what Texas Tech does in the coming weeks. At this point, it's more likely than not that a Big 12 team is going to the title game. All scenarios below assume Texas beating Kansas and Aggie. Beyond that, here's how it breaks down for the Longhorns:
IF TEXAS TECH BEATS OKLAHOMA AND BAYLOR
The Red Raiders win the Big 12 South. Can Texas still get to Miami? It's possible in two different scenarios:
Scenario 1: Tech loses Big 12 Title Game. Could the Red Raiders really be jumped by Texas in this scenario? With wins over Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State? I'm not so sure, but it's possible if Tech gets blown out by the North representative. Human voters would have to decide whether the Red Raiders are the Big 12 South's best team or if they--not Texas--were the undefeated team in the South because this year's game was in Lubbock. I wouldn't count on this scenario, but it'd be interesting and close.
Scenario 2: Tech wins Big 12 Title Game. I'm not so sure this isn't the more likely path for Texas, the story unfolding as so:
- Texas beats KU and A&M handily.
- Tech looks terrific running the table to 13-0.
- Florida loses to FSU before beating Bama. (Or Bama is upset in an ugly game before beating Florida.)
- Human voters decide the Big 12 was the nation's best conference, bar none.
- Human voters think about the classic in Lubbock and decide a rematch isn't something that must be avoided.
IF TECH LOSES TO OKLAHOMA
Scenario 1: Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders win the Big 12 South, winning the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Longhorns. At this point, Texas just roots for the North Division champ to win the Big 12 Title game. If it happens, Texas is the one-loss team still standing in the Big 12 and goes to Miami, barring a huge swell of human voting for USC that overcomes their computer problems. Not likely. Texas would be Miami-bound.
Scenario 2: Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State. Now things get really complicated. The Longhorns, Red Raiders, and Sooners finish in a three-way tie in the South, pushing the tie-breaker down to step 5: BCS Standings. AW thinks the narrative would be "Oklahoma hasn't lost since October, most recently beat Tech, and should be the Big 12 South title game participant." That's certainly one possible narrative, but I'm not so sure the most likely. Here's how I see the debate unfolding:
- Best win? Tech got their big win over Texas at home. Oklahoma got their big win over Tech at home. Texas got their big win over Oklahoma... on a neutral field.
- The loss? Texas and Texas Tech dropped one on the road. Oklahoma dropped theirs on a neutral field.
- Oklahoma has some recent BCS history working against it.
- Texas Tech has some "gimmick"/no precedent history working against it.
The humans would have the final say, but Texas has at least as good an opportunity as would Tech and OU. More on this scenario if the Sooners win next week.
One more thing to consider: What if Oklahoma/Tech wins the tie-break, goes to the Big 12 title game, and loses? Texas or Texas Tech/OU slides up. I wouldn't bet against the Horns.
OTHER BCS BOWLS
THE ROSE/SUGAR/ORANGE BOWL
I actually think these are all out of play, barring serious chaos in the Big 12 down the stretch. I think it's Miami, Fiesta Bowl (discussed below), or Cotton Bowl, at this point.
The reason? For Texas to get an at-large selection in the Rose, Orange, or Sugar, it would necessarily mean the Fiesta Bowl spot is taken by the Big 12 North Champ and no Big 12 team is headed to Miami. That's not likely without some chaos.
THE FIESTA BOWL
The Fiesta Bowl scenarios I can imagine for Texas all come about if the Red Raiders or Sooners play for the Big 12 title game, then win, earning a national title berth. The Fiesta would have an at-large big to use replacing their team lost to Miami and could select Texas.
If it's the Longhorns who play in Kansas City--a win sends them to Miami. A loss sends the North Division champ to Tempe, while Texas drops to the Cotton or Holiday Bowl.
For fun, here's a easy-to-follow table predicting the result of various scenarios, assuming (1) Texas wins out and (2) Misses the Big 12 Title Game.
|GM 1||GM 2||B12 TITLE||TEXAS BOWL|
|TECH||OU (W)||BU (W)||WIN||Fiesta|
|TECH||OU (L)||BU (W)||WIN||Fiesta|
|TECH||OU (W)||BU (W)||LOSS||Miami|
|TECH||OU (L)||BU (W)||LOSS||Miami|
|OU||TECH (W)||OSU (W)||WIN||Fiesta|
|OU||TECH (W)||OSU (L)||LOSS||Miami|
That's three ways Texas can get to Miami without playing in Kansas City. Now toss in that Texas could win the South tie-breaker under numerous scenarios, and you can see why I'm not ruling out anything at this point.