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Defining West Virginia’s Path To the Big 12 Title Game

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Four teams can make the title game, but the Mountaineers have a multitude of ways to reach their first Big 12 Championship

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers set a goal at the start of the season: Win a Big 12 Championship and with two games left on the regular season schedule, that goal is very much attainable. There are three other teams with Big 12 Championship Game aspirations - Iowa St. Cyclones, Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners. We’re going to break down the large amount of scenario’s that we can to help define the last three games of the season.

West Virginia Mountaineers

The easiest path for the Mountaineers is to win out. If the Mountaineers can beat Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater and defeat the Oklahoma Sooners on Black Friday in Morgantown, they will be Big 12 regular season champs and will earn the #1 seed in the Big 12 Championship Game regardless of what happens elsewhere.

Oklahoma Sooners

See above. After the Sooners survived Bedlam they just need to beat the Kansas Jayhawks and the Mountaineers they will earn the #1 seed and their 1 billionth Big 12 title.

Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns need to handle their business against Iowa St and Kansas. If they are able to do so, they will be in a tie for second place with the loser of the OU/WVU showdown. If WVU beats OU, Texas would own the tiebreaker against OU and would be the #2 team. If WVU and Texas end up in a head-to-head tie, WVU owns the tiebreaker with their 42-41 win in Austin.

Iowa St. Cyclones

If the Cyclones win out, beating Texas and Kansas State, they would be in a tie for second with the loser of the OU/WVU showdown. If WVU loses to OU, ISU would own the tiebreaker against WVU and would face the Sooners. If WVU and ISU end up in any head-to-head tie, ISU owns the tiebreaker with their 30-14 beatdown of the ‘Eers in Ames.

Those are the simple scenarios. As you can see, WVU facing OU twice in 8 days is on the table but not guaranteed, based on what happens with Texas-Iowa State on November 17th, but what about a dreaded three-way tie?

Here is the Big 12 Tiebreaking procedure.

If three or more teams are tied, steps 1 through 4 will be followed until a determination is made. If only two teams remain tied after any step, the winner of the regular season game between the two tied teams shall prevail.

1. The Conference records of the three or more teams will be compared against each other in a “mini round-robin” format.

*2. The Conference records of the three or more teams will be compared against the remaining team(s) in the Conference standings from top to bottom.*

First you start with their records between each other. Next you start with the standings and work your way down and compare records. These are important and play a factor in the following scenarios.

Three Way Tie Scenario 1A - WVU vs Texas vs OU

If Texas wins out, WVU beats OU but loses to OSU, each team would finish the conference standings 7-2. WVU would be 2-0 against OU and Texas, automatically earning the tiebreaker and the #1 seed. Texas would own the tiebreaker against OU and would be the #2 seed.

Three Way Tie Scenario 1B - WVU vs Texas vs OU

Texas wins out, WVU beats OSU but loses to OU, OU loses to Kansas. All three teams finish 7-2 in conference and 1-1 against each other. Iowa State is going to finish ahead of Kansas and Oklahoma State so WVU would be the first team out in this specific scenario. Texas would earn the #1 seed with their win in the Red River Rivalry.

Three Way Tie Scenario 2A - WVU vs ISU vs OU

If ISU wins out, WVU beats OU but loses to OSU, each team would finish the conference standings 7-2. Each team would be 1-1 against the other two teams in this scenario. The Big 12 tiebreaking procedure states

We’ve already completed #1 and proven each team is 1-1. So we start at the top of the Big 12 standings with the #4 team - either Texas Tech or Texas. All three teams beat Texas Tech so there is no movement here. Once we get to Texas, WVU and ISU would be 1-0 against Texas but Oklahoma lose to Texas. ISU would own the tiebreaker over WVU, making WVU the #2 seed in the Championship Game.

Three Way Tie Scenario 2B - WVU vs ISU vs OU

If ISU wins out, WVU beats OSU but loses to OU, and OU loses to Kansas each team would finish the conference standings 7-2. Oklahoma would be 2-0 against the Cyclones and ‘Eers and would earn the #1 seed. ISU would earn the #2 seed with their head to head win against the ‘Eers.

Three Way Tie Scenario 3 - WVU vs ISU vs Texas

Oklahoma earns the #1 seed. This one is slightly requires WVU to lose out, the winner of Texas-Iowa State to lose their season finale so all three are tied at 3-conference losses. The three way tie is broken by head-to-head. All three are 1-1 against each other. Next is the record against common opponents starting with Oklahoma. Texas claims the #2 spot with the Red River Shootout while WVU and ISU both lost to the Sooners.