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PICKS FROM JOE’S: Big 12 football has gone full 2020

From hoping OU doesn’t play football to praying everyone else does play football is about as 2020 as it gets.

Texas Tech v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Big 12 race to the conference championship rematch has cleared up quite a bit, but it’s still far from simple.

Beyond wins and losses, now we have to factor in NOT playing games at all. So here’s how the actual playing football games part of this goes...

If OU wins out it’s Iowa State and the Sooners for the title, regardless of whether or not WV beats Iowa State as both Oklahoma and the Cyclones advance over OSU in a three-way tie.

If OSU wins out and OU drops either of their last two games, it’s the Cowboys vs Iowa State.

That’s where simple stops.

If both OSU and OU drop another game on the way home then it will depend whether or not there are other teams with three losses. If it’s Texas, then the Sooners advance. If it’s West Virginia AND Texas, then OU still advances. If it’s West Virginia, that would mean Texas, Kansas State, and possibly TCU would be tied for 5th place. If it’s just Texas and KState, OU would still likely advance on point differential assuming they didn’t get blown out by West Virginia. OSU’s blowout loss in Bedlam pretty much dooms them in all of these scenarios. If you throw TCU into that mix it means OSU took their third loss from the Horned Toads. That means the Cowboys would be out and only the Neers and the Sooners would remain and that would put West Virginia in the title game with the Cyclones.

Now to the 2020 part of this mess.

Because of game rescheduling and possible cancelation, the Big 12 put in place a rule regarding “unbalanced” records due to games not being played. It goes like this:

Unbalanced Tie-Break Procedures to Determine Conference Championship Game Participants

In order for teams to be considered in a tie-break scenario to compete in the Big 12 Football Championship Game, teams must play no less than one fewer conference games than the average number of conference games played by all conference teams (rounded up/down at .50). For example, if the average number of conference games played in the 2020 season is 8.25 (value of 8 when rounded down) a team would be eligible to play in the Championship Game if that team played 7 conference games.

So, essentially, if the Sooners play and beat Baylor this weekend the game at West Virginia could be canceled due to covid issues and OU would still get in the title game as they would have played 8 conference games and the league average would be 9 (8.8 rounded up). If the game at Baylor is canceled, then Oklahoma HAS to play West Virginia in order to be eligible for the title game. If both games are canceled then OU would be out having only played 7 conference games and the league average would still be 9 (8.6 rounded up). Of course that presumes NO OTHER GAMES get canceled. If just one other game gets tossed then OU is home free.

Enough of this crap, let’s get to the games.

Oklahoma State at TCU (12pm ET on ESPN2, OSU -2.0, O/U 51.5)

A must-win for the Cowboys if they want to maintain any hope of a spot in the Big 12 Championship rematch.

Gundy and Company have a recent history of making these games either closer than they should be or looking terrible in an awful loss, so don't count on this being fun to watch. I'll go with the latter as we all turn our complete attention to the program that is showing signs of life.

TCU to win outright and the under.

Kansas at Texas Tech (12pm ET on FS2, TT -27.5, O/U 62)

The only place more appropriate than FS2 to broadcast this game would be the LHN.

Tech wins and covers and I'll go with the over.

Texas at Kansas State (12pm ET on FOX, TX -7.0, O/U 51.5)

Here's hoping this is must-watch television.

Neither team has a shot at the title rematch but which one wins could definitely impact who gets into the title rematch. Also, Tom Herman's seat might be a tad bit toasty. Would love to see the Wildcats pull this off, but I'll take Texas to win, KState to cover, and the under.

West Virginia at Iowa State (3:30pm ET on ESPN, IS -6.5, O/U 49.5)

This game really only matters for the Mountaineers and unfortunately for them it's on the road where they've accumulated all their conference losses. I think the Cyclones close this out in style on Senior Day...win, cover, and the under.

Baylor at Oklahoma (8pm ET on FOX, OU -22.0, O/U 62.5)

Can this game NOT be played? Please?

That would create so much wonderful drama going into next weekend where the tiebreaker scenarios could essentially detonate if OSU loses a third conference game and OU at West Virginia also gets canned. If the Bears and Sooners manage to play OU scorches the earth, covers, and I'll go with the under.

Have fun, be safe (WEAR A DAMN MASK), and Go Pokes!!