Saturday, November 29, 2008

Now It's In The Hands of the Voters

The expected result may not have been achieved in the expected ways — but it's been achieved, nevertheless.

A three-way tie between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech exists at the top of the Big 12 South standings. One of those teams must play Big 12 North champion Missouri next week for the conference title — even though Missouri didn't cover itself with glory in its loss to Kansas earlier today and will deserve to be the underdog in the championship game.

Of the three, Texas' performance against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night was probably along the lines of what most viewers expected to see — a 49-9 blowout.

But then fans almost saw something they didn't expect — Baylor came close to upsetting Tech in Lubbock. The Red Raiders won, 35-28, but, as I pointed out on this blog last week, it's been nearly 20 years since Baylor beat Tech in Lubbock. Tech may have been a bit complacent.

The Red Raiders, perhaps still in a daze after being hammered by OU last week, stumbled around and fell behind by two touchdowns. Thanks to a second-half rally, Texas Tech prevailed and grabbed a share of the Big 12 South title.

And the Red Raiders would be making preparations for the conference championship game at this very minute if OU hadn't managed to beat Oklahoma State, 61-41, in Stillwater tonight.

But the Sooners won that game, so each team is 7-1, and conference rules require that the tie will be broken by the BCS rankings. The team that is ranked highest in the BCS will win the division and advance to face Missouri next week.

We'll find out how that shakes down tomorrow. In the BCS rankings before Thanksgiving, Texas held a slim lead over OU. But, as I mentioned earlier in this blog, I expect Oklahoma to get more credit in the computer rankings for beating Oklahoma State than Texas will get from beating Texas A&M.

It's hard to tell what kind of influence the scores of the final regular-season games will have on the polls, but my guess is that Oklahoma will slip past Texas and go on to play Missouri next weekend.

I must say that I don't particularly care for this wrinkle. When the BCS was created, the objective was to select only the #1 and #2 teams for the national championship. It was never intended to be used as a tiebreaker for a conference championship.

The BCS now seems to be exceeding its intended authority.

The BCS rankings are calculated by including the rankings in the coaches' poll — which means that, if the BCS rankings are used to break a three-way tie for a conference or divisional title, coaches from around the country are playing roles in deciding the winners in conferences other than their own.

That simply doesn't seem right to me.

But that's the rule that's in place in the Big 12 this season. So that's how the tie will be broken.

What about next season? Do you support the status quo?

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