It took a while to all sort out, but as we head into the final two weekends of the college football regular season, Oklahoma State appears to have worked itself all the way back to where the Cowboys stood in the preseason: as the favorite of the conference coaches to win the Big 12 title in football.
One is the only number that matters to head coach Mike Gunday and his Cowboys, signifying how many wins, or Baylor or Texas losses, they need to take home the Big 12 crown for their very own. A combination of those three possibilities – and both Baylor and Texas have two games remaining – and Oklahoma State will prove the Big 12 coaches correct in their preseason prediction.
Of course, the Cowboys would prefer to take care of business themselves by beating hated in-state rival Oklahoma for the second time in three seasons to earn the league championship just as they did two seasons ago, the last time the Sooners visited Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
One other number that appears pretty solid at this stage of the season is a fourth-place finish for eight-time Big 12 champion Oklahoma, regardless of what happens in the Sooners rivalry game with Oklahoma State on Dec. 7. The only thing that could change that would be if Baylor or Texas were to lose both of their remaining games (Texas with Texas Tech and Baylor and Baylor against TCU and Texas), If the Sooners were able to upset the Cowboys in their Bedlam matchup in two weeks and either Texas or Baylor were to lose twice, Oklahoma would clinch third place.
Otherwise, the Sooners are most likely looking at a date in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 28 against a Big Ten opponent.
At this point, the bowl pecking order looks like this:
- Oklahoma State in the BCS Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.,
- Baylor or Texas in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Dallas,
- Oklahoma in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.,
- A win by Baylor over Texas puts the Longhorns in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, and
- Kansas State appears headed to the National University Holiday Bowl in San Diego
- Texas Tech would then go to Houston as the Big 12 selection in the Texas Bowl.
Here are a dozen more stats and facts reflecting on the homestretch of the Big 12 football season:
9 – Number of years it’s been since TCU has not qualified for a postseason bowl (2004).
4 – Number of three-and-outs the Baylor offense had against Oklahoma State. Prior to that game, the Bears had been stopped on third down just seven times all season.
25 – Margin of victory for Oklahoma State over Texas two weekends ago, the worst home loss in Texas coach Mack Browns 16 seasons at UT.
28 – Number of consecutive Big 12 road games the Kansas Jayhawks have lost, dating back to 2008.
78 – Number of points-after-touchdown by Baylor this record-setting season.
158 – Number of career wins at Oklahoma for head coach Bob Stoops, eclipsing Barry Switzer’s all-time total of 157.
440 – All-purpose yardage by Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett, who had 278 yards pass receiving on Saturday and 162 kick-return yards.
1,760 – Career kick-return yards by Tyler Lockett of Kansas State, a school record. And he’s only a junior.