Almost. Pretty sure it will, though.
At least since Texas Tech beat Texas, it's looked like there could be a three-way tie for the lead in the Big XII South. Now that Oklahoma has beaten Tech--and if the three of them all beat their opponents next week (which only seems reasonably iffy in Oklahoma's case)--it will come true.
As has been discussed on Tim Griffin's blog many times, the South champion will be decided by the fifth tiebreaker, BCS standings. This is clearly a horrible system, but I'm sure nobody really thought it would really come down to the fifth tiebreaker. The horror is that it's going to come down to coach votes instead of being decided in some way on the field, and it's probably going to be a terrible, terrible situation. (You know, speaking relative to college football, not world events. I'm not trying to compare this to Darfur, I'm just saying that in the limited scope of Div I college football, it will be bad.)
So I've been thinking all evening: if I were a coach, who would I put closest to the top of my ballot? There are several different factors to take into account.
1. Their games against each other
Craig James was giving Doug Flutie a hard time because Doug would put OU ahead of t.u., when t.u. beat OU. But then, texas lost to the Tech team that OU was able to beat.
Margins of victory aren't technically supposed to matter, but of course they do.
- Tech beat t.u. by only one point (one of the announcers tonight was saying, "Well, if [that kid from texas who dropped a possible interception near the end of that game] hadn't dropped that interception near the end of that game, texas would have won!" Which monumentally stupid, because he did drop the interception. Tech would have lost if Crabtree hadn't made the amazing catch at the end, but he did, so who cares? Sorry, I think it was Brent Musberger that said that and I hate that guy).
- t.u. beat OU by ten points
- OU beat Tech by eleventy billion. OK, 44. Which might as well be eleventy billion. (Sidenote: Tech got beat worse by OU than A&M did. I choose to feel a little smug about that because it's all I have.)
2. Out-of-conference schedule
- t.u.: Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Arkansas, Rice
- OU: Chattanooga, Cinncinnati, Washington, TCU
- Tech: East Washington, Nevada, SMU, Massachusetts.
3. North slate
This is one I haven't seen anybody talking about, because I don't think people on the national scene think about the North-South disparity in terms of how it affects schedules of teams in the same division.
- t.u. played Colorado, Missouri, and Kansas
- OU played Kansas, K-State, and Nebraska
- Tech played K-State, Nebraska, and Kansas
So . . . I'm still not sure who I would vote for. I agree with the talking heads that this is actually a two-horse race. Tech has done a heck of a job this season, but they struggled with Nebraska and they were losing at the half to A&M (who--and I don't know if you've heard this--is not very good this season). texas and OU have each lost a game, but neither of them got embarassed doing it.
If you were to pretend it were an actual two-way tie (say Tech manages to lose to Baylor somehow--some people do), t.u. wins it simply. But then, OU has been looking really good. And there's that non-conference schedule that boosts their schedule strength. (The voters may also reward them because they finish with a tougher schedule than texas and apparently coaches are like goldfish.)
(Another thing about the coaches voting: Leach and Mack have votes, while Stoops does not. Wouldn't it be a travesty [again, a travesty in a sports sense] if OU gets passed over just because there's no coach making a ridiculous ballot with his team at #1 and the other two at like 19 and 22?)
So I'm kind of hoping one or two of those teams lose next week (I can think of one in particular that would be super!) to clear this thing up and keep it (kind of) out of the hands of the coaches and the computers (if computers had hands. Someday).
Of course, if all three of them lose, that creates a four-way tie with Oklahoma State! It's too late at night for me to try to figure out the tiebreakers for that.
ETA: For kicks and giggles, I went and checked out what would happen if they all lose and Ok State gets in the mix: it would still come down to Infamous Tiebreaker #5. Presumably, OSU would get discounted because they got steamrolled by Tech. So, not as interesting as I thought it might be.
EMTA (edited more to add): All right, fine. Pending any crazy developments next week, I would say texas (even though at this point the real voters are saying OU). OU is playing extremely well right now, but when you get right down to it, t.u. beat them. On a neutral field, even.