Saturday marks a truly unique day in the history of the Big 12, as championships and bowl-berths are on the line. For the first time in Big 12 history, 3 different teams are playing on the last day of Big 12 games with a chance to win the conference outright.
This is the 3rd year in the 10-team version of the Big 12, and year 2 with TCU and West Virginia taking the place of Texas A&M and Missouri. While A&M and Missouri have gone on to have no problem whatsoever competing in the SEC, TCU and West Virginia have struggled in year 2, both their seasons ending last week, with no hope for a bowl appearance.
But at the top of the league you have 3 teams with 7-1 records - Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas. Baylor takes on Texas in the final game at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco at 2:30, while Oklahoma State hosts Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam game, kicking off at 11:00. In an interesting decision from the Big 12 TV partners, Baylor and Texas will likely know exactly what they are playing for early in the game as the Oklahoma schools finish up their game.
After losing two teams and thus, the championship game 3 years ago, the Big 12 decided it would have co-champions when teams finished with identical records. That exact thing happened last year, with Kansas State and Oklahoma finishing the Big 12 at 8-1 (the next closest teams were Texas and Oklahoma State at 5-4). By virtue of tiebreakers, Kansas State went to the Fiesta Bowl, and Oklahoma to the Cotton Bowl, but both teams took home Big 12 championship hardware.
In the bowl tiebreaker scenario this year, Oklahoma State clearly has the advantage should they win, having knocked off both Texas and Baylor. But if Oklahoma State were to lose, that would set up a winner take all game between Baylor and Texas, not only for the outright conference championship, but also for the automatic BCS Bowl bid to the Fiesta Bowl.
Should Oklahoma State win, Baylor and Texas are still battling for a share of the conference championship, and in Baylor's case, they will be looking to improve their resume to hopefully attract an at-large BCS Bowl bid, which actually could result in a more favorable bowl matchup against a power-conference team.
While this Saturday in the Big 12 may not have the allure on the surface of some other conference championship games, it actually has the potential to reveal more twists and turns throughout the day, with 4 ranked teams all in action, and 3 of the 4 playing for a championship.