BEVO BEAT Football

The Whys of Texas: Big 12 tiebreakers are murky, but moot if Texas doesn’t finish strong

Longhorns' best shot at Arlington may be a 9-3 finish plus a West Virginia win over Oklahoma

Posted November 14th, 2018


First, an admission. Trying to determine the various Big 12 tiebreaker scenarios is a mind-numbing affair. It’s not the league’s fault. Such is life when you are aiming to determine “One True Champion.”

The Whys mailbag is full of various missives asking the same question this week. Jason B. sums up the situation quite nicely:

“If Texas wins out and Oklahoma loses a game, I’m guessing Texas has the tiebreaker due to the Longhorns’ win. If Texas wins out and West Virginia loses a game, I would assume West Virginia has the tiebreaker due to the Mountaineers’ win. What happens if Texas wins out and Oklahoma and West Virginia both lose a game and there’s a three-way tie?”


Well, that’s where things get murky.

Proceed with caution.

The Big 12’s tiebreaker website outlines a specific procedure in that scenario. As of now, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas and Iowa State are all in the mix for the Big 12 championship game in Arlington.

According to the Big 12, the conference records of the tied teams would then be compared against each other in a “mini round-robin” format. Essentially. what would Texas’ record be against OU, West Virginia and Iowa State? Figure out everyone’s record in that scenario first.

Then, if you’ve still got ties, those teams’ records would be judged based on how they did against everyone else. If that doesn’t do the trick, then the league can get down to scoring differential among the tied teams.

And if it still isn’t decided, the league has language in place for a blind draw from a hat. Hard to imagine it ever gets that far, but anything is possible.

The Athletic’s Max Olson tweeted out a pretty nifty graphic that shows all the possible scenarios. It assumes that Oklahoma and Texas will both beat Kansas in the final two weeks.

Essentially from UT’s point of view, if West Virginia can beat Oklahoma, that’s terrific. That’s the most simple, straight-forward path to Arlington for the Horns. Of course, that also assumes they win their final two games, too.

There is a backdoor plan, though. If West Virginia somehow loses twice, Texas would be home free. That seems unlikely.

Realistically, this is a better topic for next week — after UT faces Iowa State. If the Horns can’t take care of business this week, then all of this is moot.

On to this week’s mailbag…

Q. I think 3 down lineman and 8 in coverage is not effective in getting pressure on QBs. Texas has to stop Iowa State’s running game, even with Montgomery out the first half. Looks like UT in zone coverage mostly but this allows receivers time to find open space (if UT has no pass rush). It will be interesting to see how Orlando plans/plays it against Iowa State.

— J.D., Class of ’59, via email

At this point, I don’t know why anyone would think UT coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando would change their base front. Texas runs a variation of the 3-3-5 formation. Yes, that creates problems with the pass rush because it’s a numbers game. Texas Tech’s Jett Duffey was sacked four times, but he had plenty of time to lead three scoring drives in the fourth quarter to tie things up.

With two regular-season games left, this is who the Horns are. Rearranging their base defensive alignment is a question for the offseason.

Q. Seeing how dynamic of a recruiter David Beaty was at Texas A&M, how likely is it that he is on staff replacing Drew Mehringer or Corby Meekins next year? Seems like this is a golden opportunity for Herman to improve his staff.

— Connor F. via email

This has popped up more than I thought it might in recent days. Let’s set aside the question of who Herman would dump for a moment. Beaty posted a 6-40 record at Kansas over the last three-plus seasons before getting fired earlier this month. He will finish out the season for the Jayhawks.

When you look at his background, Beaty would make a terrific addition to the Texas staff for his Dallas connections. He was a high school coach at Garland Naaman Forest, Garland, North Dallas and Irving MacArthur before going to the college level. It does not appear to me that Texas recruits the Dallas area all that well at the moment. Seems like a good fit, on paper anyway.

Now, who would Herman cast aside? That’s difficult to gauge. Mehringer and Meekins as co-receivers coaches have found success. Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson are two major weapons outside. I could also see Herman looking at this season and thinking, “Hey, things are going well, let’s not have change for the sake of change.” Only he knows what he wants to do, and Herman isn’t one to talk openly about the staff.

Q. Texas is damn lucky to even be in the picture still. If you look at their stats — nowhere on the map in anything. So much for Orlando being the next nationally wanted guru for defense. Given their talent, it is a joke. The trend of being out-coached continues. Way too many suspect decisions and game awareness calls. Fundamentals are not existent. Winning out, hoping the WVU or OU gets beat again and winning the Big 12 are Herman’s only salvation.

— Robert M. in Dayton, Ohio, via email

I’m guessing Robert didn’t like the fourth quarter in Lubbock. Hey, the final outcome was all that matters. Texas got a win. This is life in the Big 12, unfortunately. It’s full-throttle offense and little defense. For what it’s worth, Texas ranks seventh in the league in total defense (420.1 yards per game) and fifth in scoring defense (27.5 points per game).

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email

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