And then, there were four.
Oklahoma State all but knocked Texas Tech out of the conference race with its victory in Lubbock last weekend, bringing a little more clarity to the Big 12 title picture.
A quick refresher on the Big 12’s three-way tiebreakers:
Records against the next highest placed teams.
BCS rank, unless two teams are ranked within one spot of the other; then, head-the-head is invoked again.
Here’s what the race for the Big 12’s automatic BCS bowl berth the looks like heading into the backstretch:
• Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12): The Longhorns control their own destiny, with a victory over fellow contender Oklahoma in their hip pocket. The key game for Texas is Nov. 16 against Oklahoma State. If the Longhorns can hold off the Cowboys in Austin, they would be playing for a Big 12 title and the automatic BCS bowl berth at Baylor on Dec. 7 just by splitting games with West Virginia and Texas Tech.
• No. 6 Baylor (7-0, 4-0): Baylor has been the most impressive team in the Big 12 so far. But the Bears still have OU, Texas Tech, OSU and Texas left on the schedule. While the Bears could knock OU out of the mix Thursday night with a win in Waco, they would still be alive with a loss. But they would have to win out, then hope someone like Oklahoma State could hand the Sooners a second loss.
• No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1): The Sooners are the only ones here that do not control their destiny. Even if they won out, OU would still need Texas to lose at some point. Possibly even twice, since the Longhorns claim the head-to-head edge. OU probably has the toughest remaining slate of the contenders, too, with road games at Baylor and Oklahoma State as well as surging Kansas State. Because of the Texas loss, the Sooners have no margin for error. But they could take a major step forward with a win Thursday.
• No. 14 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1): Even with the loss at West Virginia early in the season, the Cowboys still control their destiny. The key game for them is Texas on Nov. 16. If they can topple the Horns in Austin, then the Pokes would have a chance to clinch the league with back-to-back home games against Baylor and OU.