Let’s review the facts. The Big 12 South’s regular season ended with a three-way tie at the top: Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech all finished with 11-1 records. And in head-to-head games between this group of three, all three won one and lost one.
The thing that people are forgetting is that there is absolutely no reasonable way to break a tie like this. When three teams win every game they play except against each other, this throws every favorable tie breaker out the window. And by favorable tie breaker, I’m talking about anything that judges a team by its record (record within division, record against common opponents, etc.).
Anyone who favors Texas in this debate wants to forget about Texas Tech and turn this into a two-way tie, in which case Texas would be the obvious winner since they beat Oklahoma head-to-head. But this argument completely ignores the situation we are in, you can’t forget about Texas Tech; sure, they are the obvious odd man out when it comes to discussing which of these three teams is the best, but the very fact we’re having this discussion in the first place is because they threw their hat in the ring.
I am honestly making the argument that using the BCS standings in this case IS the best solution. Think about it, what other tie breaker ideas are there? Cumulative points scored? Largest margin of victory in games between the group of three? Choosing some particular points-based stat is completely arbitrary, and besides, the polls take into account some of these statistical arguments anyways.
I’ve heard it brought up that the SEC has a better tiebreaker in which the BCS standings are used to eliminate one of the teams in the three way tie, after which the remaining two teams are judged by their head-to-head meeting. Is this really that preferable? Why use the BCS to eliminate only one team, and then hand the division over to the lower ranked team of the two remaining? The main reason Texas Tech is ranked seventh compared to Oklahoma’s second and Texas’s third is that Oklahoma absolutely shellacked Texas Tech, delivering quite an end-of-the-season setback. It would be a little weird if that would end up costing Oklahoma for setting back Texas Tech so definitively.
The real reason people hate this tie breaker (other than Texas fans) is that it involves the BCS, and we all love an extra reason to complain about the BCS. But still, this decision by the Big 12 makes sense in that it gives their conference champion the best chance of also going to the national title game. And by the way, this is one problem that even a real playoff system wouldn’t solve – the Big 12 would still need to declare a legitimate champion for seeding purposes, not to mention the fact that an 8 team format wouldn’t have room for three schools from the same conference.
So give it a rest, folks. We’ll have plenty to argue about after Mizzou knocks off Oklahoma next week. Who is more deserving to play Florida? A one loss Pac 10 winner, a one loss Big 12 loser, or a one loss SEC runner-up? (Sorry, Utah and Penn State, this debate doesn’t have room for you.)