OU is going to need some help to reach the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Sooners currently sit in a three-way tie for second place in the conference. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, it doesn’t control its own destiny to the title game because of losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas. Texas and OSU each control their own destiny to the title game going into the final week. And that means OU is going to need one of them to lose to get in.
Here’s what needs to happen for the Sooners to reach Arlington, assuming OU beats TCU on Friday:
Scenario 1: OSU loses to BYU, Texas beats Texas Tech
This would automatically put OU into the championship game. Currently, the Cowboys have the tiebreakers over the Sooners and Wildcats due to beating both teams this season — thanks to a “clarification” of the tiebreaker rules from the Big 12 last week. But if OSU falls to BYU on Saturday in Stillwater, this would be OU in the title game against Texas, as long as the Longhorns beat Texas Tech. If Texas loses to Texas Tech and Kansas State beats Iowa State in this scenario, OU would be left out for Texas and Kansas State because of a three-way tie.
This feels like Oklahoma’s best shot. OSU has struggled since Bedlam, and BYU will be playing to keep its season alive and reach a bowl game.
Scenario 2: Texas loses Texas Tech, Iowa State beats Kansas State
The second scenario is much harder for OU. Not only do the Sooners need to the Longhorns to lose at home to the Red Raiders, but they would also need the Cyclones to go on the road and beat the Wildcats.
The reason for this is because a Texas loss to Texas Tech would create a four-way tie between Texas, OSU, OU and Kansas State. In this situation, Texas and OSU would get in because not all four teams have played each other, meaning it would go to win percentage against the next highest common opponent, which would be Kansas and Iowa State, which Texas beat both and OSU was 1-1, but also has head-to-head over OU and Kansas State.
But if Texas loses to Texas Tech AND Iowa State beats Kansas State, this would create a three-way tie with OU, OSU and Texas. Since not all three have played and none of them have a 2-0 head-to-head record, the tiebreaker would go to win percentage against the next highest common opponents. That would be Iowa State, who OU and Texas both beat.
That is a lot more complicated than the previous scenario, but who knows, maybe everything breaks Oklahoma’s way on Saturday.
Where OU lands for its bowl game will largely depend on what happens in the Big 12 Championship Game. If the Sooners somehow make the title game and win, they are guaranteed a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Because the Sugar Bowl is one of the College Football Playoff semi-final games, the Big 12’s bid will go to the Fiesta, Cotton, or Peach. But if a Big 12 team makes the CFP — in this case that would be Texas — the Big 12 is not guaranteed a New Year’s Six bid.
That makes it hard for the Sooners to make an NY6 game. Right now, they sit at No. 14 in the CFP rankings and will likely move up to No. 13 due to No. 11 Oregon State’s loss to No. 5 Washington. But for Oklahoma to have a chance at the NY6 bid, it will likely need to jump to No. 11 or No. 10 in the polls. That would mean needing to likely jump two or three of No. 9 Missouri (9-2), No. 10 Louisville (10-1), No. 12 Penn State (9-2) and No. 13 Ole Miss (9-2). So, if you want OU to make a New Year’s Six bowl, cheer against those teams next Saturday.
If OU doesn’t make an NY6, it’s likely headed to the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio against a Pac-12 team. The Alamo Bowl would likely choose the Sooners over OSU and Kansas State. But if it did not, OU could be headed to Orlando in the Pop-Tarts Bowl to face an ACC team. Right now, ESPN projects OU to be in the Alamo Bowl against Utah.
A lot can still happen between now and the bowl selections. But like the Big 12 title game, OU will need some help if it wants to play in a big bowl game.