By Quinne Lowe
Photo courteous of Big 12 Communications
On December 2, 2017 we know that AT&T Stadium in Irving, TX will be hosting the Big 12 Conference Championship Game – the first since 2010 – but with two weeks remaining in the regular season, we still don’t know which two teams will be playing in the game.
With games against the Kansas Jayhawks and the West Virginia Mountaineers remaining on its schedule, one would think that the Oklahoma Sooners would be a shoo-in for one of the slots, maybe so, but is it still too soon for Sooners fans to be making plans to head to North Dallas?
The last two games between the Sooners and the Mountaineers were pretty ugly… and that’s putting it nicely. The point difference in the two victories for Oklahoma was a gaudy 48 points but anything can happen before their November 25th matchup that could change the outlook of that game. What happens if Heisman hopeful quarterback Baker Mayfield suffers a nagging injury this week versus the Jayhawks and that slows down the Sooners offense? What if the Sooners defense remembers what conference it plays in and struggles to stop the potent Mountaineers’ offense – it did allow 52 points against Oklahoma St.
Sure, anything is possible but if you take out the extremes scenarios, it appears to be nothing that will stop Oklahoma from heading to the DFW Metroplex for the championship game.
But this is where it gets interesting… who will the Sooners be playing?
Right now the TCU Horned Frogs have the best shot at the title game rematch, but the Oklahoma St. Cowboys are still holding out hope that an upset happens this weekend or next. West Virginia is holding on by a thread and needs a lot of help – almost too much help to even be considered.
TCU is headed to AT&T stadium if:
It wins out.
Sounds simple enough but because it holds the tie-breaker over both Oklahoma St. and West Virginia, all it has to do win its last two games – at Texas Tech and against Baylor – and the Horned Frogs will have a chance to avenge the disappointing 38-20 loss to the Sooners on November 12th.
TCU may be in trouble if:
Its struggles against Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX continue. TCU has lost its last four of five against the Red Raiders on the road and while Texas Tech may only have two conference wins, the program would relish in knowing that defeating an in-state rival ruined their season.
If the Horned Frogs somehow are upset this Saturday, it would then need for the Cowboys to lose to the Kansas St. Wildcats on this Saturday or the Jayhawks on November 25th.
That sounds like too much to hope for, so the best thing that could happen for TCU is to handle its business against Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma St. is headed to AT&T Stadium if:
The Cowboys win out and TCU somehow stumbles against Texas Tech.
With TCU taking on Texas Tech at 11:00 AM CT, Oklahoma St. will have an idea of its fate before it takes the field against Kansas St. on Saturday. If the Red Raiders are able to jump out to an early lead against TCU the crowd at Boon Pickens Stadium will gladly let the OK St. players know of it and hopefully that will serve as an extra incentive to play well against a tough KSU team.
West Virginia is headed to AT&T Stadium if:
All hell breaks loose!
Because it loses the head-to-head to both other schools, the Mountaineers would not only have to win its last two games, against Texas and at Oklahoma, but TCU and Oklahoma St. would both have to lose at least once. Not owning the tiebreaker against either of the teams ahead of them makes it really hard to conceive a way that the Mountaineers find a way to the title game – despite being the second hottest team in the conference.
These crazy scenarios legitimize why so many fans love college football over the NFL. We are two weeks away from the end of the regular season and teams are still playing meaningful games.
And to think there were some that was against the conference bringing back a championship game; the ratings for many of these games over the final two weeks, as well as the championship game, will prove to be very valuable for the conference.