Big 12 has pseudo championship game with Bedlam

The way Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sees it, there will be only

one Big 12 champion no matter how many teams might end up with same

record.

”We all played each other, it isn’t like we’re in different

divisions,” Stoops said Monday. ”You can determine who the

champion is if there are two people or three people tied for it.

Who beat who.”

There is no longer a Big 12 championship game since there are

only 10 teams with no divisions and a round-robin schedule. But the

annual Bedlam game will be a pseudo title game, with the winner of

Saturday night’s showdown between third-ranked Oklahoma State

(10-1, 7-1 Big 12) and No. 13 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2) getting the

league’s automatic BCS berth.

”I just hope I can get home to watch it,” Texas coach Mack

Brown said.

Oklahoma State, which had its national championship hopes hurt

by a loss at Iowa State in its last game, can win its first

conference title outright. They have to beat the Sooners for the

first time since 2002, when Les Miles was coaching the Cowboys

before going to LSU.

”With the BCS, starting in the middle of October becomes

somewhat like March Madness, they’re all really big games,”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ”But we get to this point,

it’s cut and dry for our team to have a chance to do something

that’s never been done.”

If Oklahoma wins, and No. 16 Kansas State (9-2, 6-2) also wins

its regular season finale, there would be a three-way tie atop the

Big 12 standings. According to league policy, the Sooners would get

the BCS berth based on head-to-head matchups though all three teams

would be declared co-champions.

”Well, I don’t really understand that,” Stoops said,

reiterating how the round-robin schedule was touted during the

league’s media days before the season. ”The entire theme of the

two days is, we’ve got one true champion since everybody’s playing

each other. … So in our eyes, there will be one, and so that’s

just how I see it.”

Without a championship game that would usually be played the

first weekend of December, the Big 12 extended the regular season

with three games for the extra week.

Baylor (8-3, 5-3), already with eight wins for the first time in

20 years after a clean sweep in November, finishes its regular

season at home against Texas (7-4, 4-4). It is a last chance for

Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III to influence Heisman Trophy

voters a week after he was limited to playing one half because of

concussion-like symptoms.

Kansas State is home against Iowa State (6-5, 3-5), which is

trying to improve its bowl stock after splitting the last two weeks

against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The Wildcats are 11th in the

BCS standings and could still get an at-large berth in one of those

big games. But they can’t get the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth

since their losses were to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

K-State coach Bill Snyder has never wavered in his preference

for divisions and a Big 12 championship game, something that can’t

happen again unless the league expands back to at least 12

teams.

But if the Wildcats are fortunate enough to end up in a

three-way tie at the top of the league standings, Snyder said, ”it

would be a very positive thing for the players in our program. I

think they would appreciate that. I would.”

Oklahoma State is third in the BCS rankings, but even a loss by

No. 1 LSU in the SEC championship game against Georgia might not be

enough to get the Cowboys back in position to play for the national

championship. There would still have to be some drastic shifting in

the polling and computers that determine the BCS standings.

Gundy is keeping his focus on Oklahoma this Saturday, a game

that will played after the SEC championship game. He’s not ready to

start politicking to try to influence voters.

”We’re in a situation that we have a chance to win a football

game and win a conference championship for the first time in the

history of the school,” Gundy said. ”I feel like that’s more

important than politicking for a spot in second place, or whatever

it would be, in the BCS.

”With where we’re at with our team, developing and building our

program and continuing to take this thing to another level, it’s

more important that we prepare to win the game than necessarily

make comments regarding where we are in the BCS.”

No. 2 Alabama’s only loss was at home against LSU. The Crimson

Tide are waiting to see if they will get a national title rematch

against the Tigers when all the bowl matchups are announced

Sunday.

The Big 12, which has only seven guaranteed bowl spots unless

the league gets two teams in the BCS, has eight bowl-eligible

teams. That includes Missouri (7-5, 5-4) and Texas A&M (6-6,

4-5), the two teams headed to the Southeastern Conference next

season.

Texas Tech (5-7, 2-7) and Kansas (2-10, 0-9) have played their

final games, both finishing with long losing streaks.

The Red Raiders lost their last five games after an upset

victory at Oklahoma, finishing with their first losing record since

1992. Kansas had a 10-game losing streak and on Sunday fired coach

Turner Gill after only two seasons.