Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breaking Ties Is Hard To Do

There is going to be a Big 12 championship game Saturday night in Kansas City, and Oklahoma is going to be in it. The Sooners used a 61-41 win at Oklahoma State to impress enough of the BCS computers to pass Texas in this week’s BCS ratings, enabling OU to win the league’s 5th tiebreaker over Texas and Texas Tech for the spot in Kansas City against the Missouri Tigers. (Wait, that’s a basketball score! The two schools have scored fewer points in basketball games against each other!)

The involvement of hard drives and statistical formulas provides a fitting end to the greatest season in the short history of the Big 12. OU, Texas, and Tech ran up point totals that would make the best video gamer proud. Not far behind them was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were the fourth best team in the South division, but would have won the North. Heck, the Cowboys would have won the ACC, the Big East, and a few other conferences.

OU, Texas, and Tech were ESPN and ABC’s dream. The ABC Saturday night crew spent a lot of time this fall in Texas and Oklahoma, as that is where the best matchups were. It’s not that there was a lack of defense here. It’s just that the offenses were so good that nothing could stop them. These four teams gave fans plenty of reason to spend money to attend games and to make time to watch them on TV.

Teeth are gnashing and mouths are wailing tonight in the city of Austin, as the Texas Longhorns came out on the wrong end of this tiebreaker. They have good reason, as Texas beat OU in Dallas, 45-35. The wildcard in this scenario is that there is a third team in this scenario, Texas Tech, that finished with the same record as OU and UT. If the head-to-head result between OU and UT matters, then so does the head-to-head matchup between UT and Tech. By the way, Tech won that game, 39-33 in Lubbock. OU’s later pounding of the Red Raiders does not take away from Tech’s great season or their role in the tiebreaker.

Is there a better way to break the tie? Perhaps. The SEC and ACC drops the third team from the tie if said team is more than 5 places below the higher-ranked team in the BCS standings. That would not happen here, as Tech is ranked 7th behind OU’s 2nd and UT’s 3rd. Maybe the three schools should do what high schools in Florida do: meet at a neutral site on a Tuesday night, play one quarter each against each other, and let the two top teams play a final quarter for all the marbles. Just kidding, as this would be logistically impossible. A more logical solution would be for the three coaches to meet at a truck stop in Wichita Falls and flip coins. Or, draw straws. Or, better yet, play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Ok, with as much money as these teams generate and these coaches make, they could meet at the Grand Hyatt at DFW Airport. The truck stop would make for better TV, though. Kinda like the real story in the book, Friday Night Lights. To sum it up, there’s not a good way to break a tie between three really good teams.

There is hope for the Longhorns. OU could very well lose to Missouri Saturday night in Kansas City. And, the Longhorns could very well stay ahead of Florida if the Gators defeat #1 Alabama in the SEC championship game. Both of these scenarios would give Bevo a trip to Miami for the national championship game.

The BCS is good for nothing but controversy. So is anything involving OU and Texas.


Zee said...

I think TT kind of got the shaft in all this. And OU lost early in the season, just like good BCS teams are supposed to.

I'm cheering for Utar.

John said...

Yeah, Tech had to go totally undefeated to get to the BCS. Texas could have lost another game and still made a BCS bowl ahead of Tech. It's all about the Benjamins, and Texas has them in spades. Just like Ohio State will be in a BCS bowl at 10-2. Lots of paying fans and lots of TV sets.

Utar may beat whatever team they play in whatever bowl they're going to.

Zee said...

Utar has my respect ... I hope they don't pull a UH (of last year's bowl appearances).