While there will be some clarity in the Big 12 football standings after Week 11, up to three teams could be tied second spot in the conference championship.
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Every other FBS conference has championship tiebreaker rules, but those apply to divisional races. The Big 12 is the only non-divisional conference that will play a conference championship this season. Entering Week 11, one-loss teams Oklahoma and TCU sit atop the standings. If the season ended today both teams would make the title game. However, the Sooners and Horned Frogs play this weekend, meaning one will be shoved back into the crowd of two-loss teams.
Iowa State, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are all 4-2 in the conference. The Cowboys visit Ames this weekend, meaning one of those teams is guaranteed to slip back. If West Virginia wins at Kansas State, there will be three two-loss teams behind the one-loss winner of TCU and Oklahoma. If the Mountaineers lose, there will only be two two-loss teams. The latter scenario is simple: The winner of the regular-season matchup would earn the second spot in the conference championship.
For example, if Oklahoma beats TCU, Iowa State beats Oklahoma State and West Virginia loses at Kansas State, the Cyclones and Horned Frogs would both have two losses. Iowa State gets the edge because they won the regular-season matchup.
It gets messy if three or more teams finish tied for the second spot, which is a very real possibility with three regular-season game remaining. Here are the Big 12 tiebreaker rules:
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.
a. When comparing against the remaining teams in the Conference standings any two-way ties will be broken by head-to-head
competition before the comparison begins.
b. If more than a two-way tie exists amongst the remaining teams in the Conference standings, the record against the collective
tied teams as a group will be used.
3. Scoring differential among the tied teams. The team or teams with the lowest difference between points scored and points allowed in games vs. the tied teams is eliminated from consideration.
4. Draw (In the event steps 1-3 cannot break a multi-team tie the prevailing team or teams will be determined by draw at the Conference office).
In the event tiebreaking procedures are unsuccessful and a draw is necessary in determining any portion of seeding, the following procedures will be used:
a. The draw will be conducted in public or with media attendance.
b. Institutions involved in the drawing have the right to have a local representative in attendance at the drawing.
c. A single slip of paper for each institution (with name or logo) will be placed in a container and will be drawn in order of seeding from highest to lowest.