Monday, November 5, 2012
Can Oklahoma still win the Big 12 title?
By Jake Trotter
After beating Iowa State on Saturday, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was quick to point out that even though the Sooners are out of the national championship picture, they still have a shot at an outright Big 12 title.
“There’s still some games ahead of us that we might have a chance at something to play for,” Jones said. “Our mindset and mentality isn’t that the season is over. Yes, we have two losses and maybe the national championship is out of our grasp. But you never know what can happen in college football. We want to put ourselves in position if we have a chance at the end of the year, and be in the best position possible.”
Kenny Stills and the Sooners need Kansas State to drop two of its remaining three games to win the Big 12 title outright.
Oklahoma State could have done its Bedlam rival a huge favor by pulling off the upset Saturday night in Manhattan, Kan. Instead, the Kansas State scored on defensive and special teams touchdowns, then held off OSU’s fourth-quarter rally to prevail, 44-30.
So with only a month left in the season, the Sooners still need Kansas Sate to lose twice to have a shot at the outright Big 12 crown. OU also needs to run the table. What are the chances of both happening? SoonerNation looks at both remaining schedules and plays out the percentages:
Odds to lose: 30 percent
With Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein’s status is up in the air, the Horned Frogs might have a chance. Especially at home. Especially coming off a momentum-building, come-from-behind victory at West Virginia. Then again, TCU has struggled to score against good defenses since losing QB Casey Pachall. West Virginia’s is not a good defense. Kansas State’s is.
Odds to lose: 15 percent
It’s becoming evident that the Bears are the worst team in the Big 12 outside Kansas. Baylor beat the Jayhawks for its first Big 12 win over the weekend, but will the Bears beat anyone else? Playing defense the way they have, the Bears figure to get steamrolled by Kansas State, Klein or not.
Odds to lose: 35 percent
Unless there’s something more to an injury that didn’t appear that serious, Klein should be back for the Dec. 1 bout with Texas. The Longhorns just had their best performance of the season winning at Texas Tech. But this is still the same team that got annihilated by Oklahoma, and needed a miracle to beat Kansas. The Longhorns have a ton of untapped talent, and there could be a ton of pressure on Kansas State to win this game. But the Wildcats are simply better on both sides of the ball, plus they’ll be at home.
Odds to win: 90 percent
The Sooners surrendered a plethora of passing yards at Baylor last season. But Robert Griffin III won’t be on the field this time. Mike Stoops will. Advantage Sooners. The Bears also don’t play any defense. Landry Jones should have a career day throwing against Baylor’s porous secondary.
at West Virginia
Odds to win: 70 percent
In the preseason, this looked like it would be OU’s toughest game. Now, it doesn’t even look like OU’s toughest remaining game anymore. The Mountaineers are in a free fall. And while they’re still dangerous offensively, the Mountaineers could give up 60 to OU the way they’re playing defense.
vs. Oklahoma State
Odds to win: 77 percent
The Cowboys just might be the Big 12’s third-best team. If it’s not Texas, it’s them, and who knows what Texas team will show up the final month of the season. But this game will be played on Owen Field for the first time in three seasons, and since upsetting OU in 2001, OSU has been a disaster in Norman, losing by at least 20 points in all four contests. The Cowboys could also be playing with third-string QB Clint Chelf, who, while sharp in Manhattan, was deemed the third-team QB for a reason.
Odds to win: 70 percent
Despite the win at West Virginia, TCU has sputtered through its first year in the Big 12, losing big to Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs, however, still have an opportunistic defense, and a decent receiving corps capable of making big plays downfield. The Sooners could be tested. Then again, this is not the same TCU that went to the Rose Bowl.
Even though the Sooners will be decent-to-big favorite in all four of their remaining games, the math suggest OU has roughly a 33 percent chance of actually running the table.
The odds of Kansas State losing two of its last three contests are much less. The chances of K-State losing to both TCU and Texas stand at less than 11 percent. And Baylor and either TCU or Texas? Try less than 6 percent.
Assuming these percentages are in the ballpark, the chances of OU capturing the Big 12 title round up to about 4 percent. That might not be much of a chance. Then again, as Jones pointed out, stranger things have happened in the world of college football.