Last week, it was clear that the victor between West Virginia and Texas will most likely be playing Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. Or, at the very least, that the loser was essentially eliminated.
A game of that magnitude lived up to the billing, featuring eight lead changes, over 1,000 yards of offense, and a last second two-point conversion. West Virginia v. Texas attracted more viewers on FOX than their SEC counterparts (Georgia versus Kentucky) did during the same time slot on CBS. The Big 12’s soap opera of a title race is primed to become all the more interesting in the coming weeks, too.
Here are the Big 12’s remaining conference title contenders:
The Longhorns only have two Big 12 losses, but it certainly feels like more after Saturday. Oklahoma State and West Virginia have beaten Texas the last two weeks and it would not be a surprising if Texas Tech and Iowa State extend Texas’s losing streak to four. We know how wild things can get in Lubbock and Iowa State is the hottest team in the Big 12 not named West Virginia. The Longhorns obtained a whale of a win in the Red River Rivalry a few weeks ago, but this is the third time in six years Texas has beaten Oklahoma and the media subsequently claims that the Longhorns are “back.” Texas might be a legitimate Big 12 contender next year, but the Mountaineers seemed to deliver the knockout blow to its 2018 campaign.
Iowa State is by far West Virginia’s biggest competitor for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cyclones haven’t lost a game since Brock Purdy stepped onto the field and they are the only team in the Big 12 sporting a four-game winning streak. They are also the only team to defeat the Mountaineers this season, which could potentially play a major factor as a tie-breaker down the road. The connection between Brock Purdy and Hakeem Butler almost resembles Clint Trickett and Kevin White in 2014. Iowa State also has the easiest part of its schedule (Baylor, Kansas State, Texas) remaining and could realistically win out. If Iowa State does so, West Virginia will most likely also have to win out to guarantee its participation in the Big 12 title game. If Texas beats Iowa State the Mountaineers could lose one more game and still get in with their tie-breaker against the Longhorns.
Something horribly shocking will need to happen for Oklahoma to not make it to Dallas in December. The Sooners could lose one more game (and hopefully they do) and still get in. Actually, so long as Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State and Kansas, its ticket to “Jerry’s World” will be all but punched. That means it is highly possible that West Virginia will have to play the Sooner twice this season.