The newest BCS rankings are out, and after downing Oklahoma State 61-41 in Stillwater on Saturday, Oklahoma has jumped Texas into the #2 spot in the rankings. That means the Sooners win the three-way tie for the Big-12 South Division title between themselves, Texas, and Texas Tech, and it’s OU who will meet Missouri next Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium for the conference championship.
I have to approach this topic delicately to avoid making a lot of enemies out of a lot of local Longhorn fans I currently call friends.
Let me start by saying that I think the system stinks. Texas has a legitimate complaint in being left out, and I don’t blame them a bit for feeling their team was wronged. But in light of that, I’ll say this: If the tables were turned in some other season and Texas won the tie-break after losing to OU in October, there wouldn’t be a Longhorn fan alive making any apologies or conceding any injustice in the outcome. So OU fans shouldn’t be apologetic either.
Compelling arguments can be made for both teams, and at the end of the day, the South Division champ was determined by subjective means. There’s no way that’s the correct way to determine a division champion within a conference. (It’s not really the correct way to determine a national champion either, but that’s another topic for another day.)
My problem with the Texas argument is that it steps outside the boundaries of logic. The battle cry of Horn fans everywhere the past week has been “45-35”, and that would actually be relevant if we were actually talking about a TWO-way tie. But we aren’t. It’s a THREE-way tie, and that means head-to-head scores get thrown out. Those are the rules. I didn’t make the rules, and Texas supporters don’t have the authority to change the rules on the fly just because the rules aren’t convenient to their cause.
The suggestion by Texas supporters that it’s somehow still “really a two-way tie” because Tech removed itself from the discussion by losing to OU in blowout fashion also spits in the face of logic. What Texas supporters (and Kirk Herbstreit, and Mark May, and every other woefully misguided ESPN employee) are basically saying when they make this argument is that Tech would still be in the discussion if OU had only beaten the Red Raiders by a touchdown, and it would then be viewed as a “true” three-way tie. So that line of thinking essentially penalizes Oklahoma for playing as well as it did in its win over Tech. If somebody can tell me how that makes sense (hint: you can’t, because it doesn’t), I’m all ears.
As I see it, in a three-way tie with head-to-head thrown out, the overall body of work for the entire season by each team has to be what a voter considers (and in the end, it looks like most of them did). Breaking it down:
Oklahoma has four wins over teams currently ranked in the BCS top-15 (Big-East champ & BCS bowl-bound Cincinatti, TCU, Tech, and OSU), with one of those wins coming on the road .
Texas has three wins over teams currently ranked in the BCS top-20 (Oklahoma, Missouri, and OSU), with none of those wins coming on the road.
Tech has two wins over teams currently ranked in the BCS top-20 (Texas and OSU) with neither coming on the road.
So it’s pretty clear which team owns the most accomplished season resume of the three – the one with the most wins over ranked teams, and the only road victory over a ranked team. I’m not saying that’s the best way to break the tie between them, but it’s a lot closer to logical than clinging to the head-to-head score between TWO of the teams involved in a THREE way tie.
I’m not trying to be a rah-rah guy for Oklahoma or rub salt in the emotional wounds of Texas fans. I’m just trying to inject some logic and common sense into this argument – two things most members of the national media have done a remarkable job of ignoring over the past week. So again – before you start flooding me with hate mail – I think the system stinks, and the two teams left out certainly have cause to feel slighted. Honestly, the whole thing gives me a headache.