1. The winner of Texas at Oklahoma State will win the Big 12 Championship
Four Big 12 losses in five seasons isn’t bad, especially with all of them by a touchdown or less. That’s what Oklahoma has done.
Give the program all the credit in the world for always finding a way, but the defense has occasionally been shaky – to be very, very kind before a turn last year – and from time to time the offense has needed to pull a few rabbits out of a hat.
Again, a win is a win is a win, but last year’s Sooner team won five Big 12 games – the championship over Baylor included. At some point, eventually something is going to go wrong and the other side will slip one or two past the goalie.
Look at Alabama last year. That was one of the best teams in America, but it went up against an all-timer of a LSU juggernaut, gave up a few picks to Auburn when Tua Tagovailoa was out, and that was all it took to go from national title-good to also-ran.
The greatness of teams like Oklahoma, Clemson, and – normally – Alabama – isn’t that they’re perfect, it’s that they’re almost always perfect after that one time they’re not.
It’s a ridiculously long-winded way of saying they don’t lose that second game.
This year’s team can’t complain about the schedule. There’s Missouri State to use as a tune-up before getting a week off. The road games at Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia aren’t that bad, but there’s still the trip to Dallas to face Texas, there’s still the home game against Oklahoma State, and Kansas State and Baylor aren’t going to be easy in Norman.
This feels like the sort of season that might end up being screwy.
Assume a loss for the Sooners somewhere – like against Texas. Let’s throw in something else a bit wacky, like a shootout against Texas Tech in Lubbock, or against an improved TCU – who gets a week off to prepare – in Fort Worth, or …
At West Virginia.
The Mountaineers get a home game against TCU, then a week off, and then another home date against Oklahoma. The Sooners have to deal with the rivalry showdown against a loaded Oklahoma State before traveling on Thanksgiving week to Morgantown.
So the (potentially) stupid call could go one of two ways.
1) Oklahoma loses twice and doesn’t even get to the Big 12 Championship, or, more likely – if it doesn’t win the title – 2) it gets there, but loses to the Texas-Oklahoma State winner.
This is a good enough Big 12 to see a few upsets along the way, but the Halloween showdown in Stillwater when Texas faces Oklahoma State will be for a spot in the Big 12 title game, with this finally being the year when the Sooners slip.