The Sweep

SI.com's All-American Blog Team

Mandel_stewart
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For a larger view, click the above image. :: Courtesy of James Doker

You may have noticed that there are four Big 12 South teams -- Texas (8-0), Texas Tech (8-0), Oklahoma (7-1), and Oklahoma State (7-1) -- currently ranked in the Top 10. You may find yourself wondering: If the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns this Saturday but lose somewhere else along the way … who the heck will end up winning the division?

While I've seen crowded divisional races before, never can I remember one involving so many teams that, as of now, haven't lost to anyone but each other. And it's only going to get more interesting in the weeks to come, as Texas Tech will host Oklahoma State on Nov. 8 and visit Oklahoma on Nov. 22 while the in-state rival Cowboys and Sooners square off Nov. 29.

The possible permutations are seemingly endless, which is why faithful reader James Doker created this elaborate and (hopefully) helpful flow chart to explain it all.  (He said he "got bored" Sunday night.) 

As you can see, the pyramid starts with Saturday's game in Lubbock and flows from there. If Texas wins, things become fairly straightforward due to the 'Horns' fairly light remaining schedule and the slew of "elimination games" that follow. (See right side of the chart). If Tech wins … all hell breaks loose (see left side of the chart).

Note that even James runs into a dead end at a couple of places, when the results wind up in a three-way tie. 

Normally, when there's a three-way tie in a conference or division, you can resolve it by going down a list of tiebreakers (record vs. next-best team, record vs. common opponents, etc.) until somebody gets eliminated. In this case, however, you could be dealing with a situation where the three teams only have one loss apiece, all against each other.

According to the Big 12's tiebreaker procedures, this particular scenario would likely end up taking the teams down to step No. 5: The highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings. 

I'm not sure why you would possibly need to go past this step (two teams both wind up with the same exact four-decimal point BCS score?), but just in case, the Big 12 has included two more steps for a possible resolution. The final one: "The [BCS] representative will be chosen by draw."

That, or T. Boone Pickens will simply buy the spot.

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