Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK (AP) — Oklahoma was ahead of Texas in the BCS standings Sunday and headed to the Big 12 championship game with an inside track to the national title.
A three-way tie between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech atop the Big 12 South standings forced the league to use its fifth tiebreaker, best BCS rating, to determine which team will play Missouri on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo.
The Sooners (11-1), who lost to Texas 45-35 in October, barely edged the Longhorns. Oklahoma has a .9351 BCS average. Texas’ BCS average is .9223.
Oklahoma was a point ahead of Texas in the USA Today coaches’ poll and six points behind the Longhorns in the Harris Interactive. The computer ratings preferred the Sooners and that made the difference.
So the Longhorns will be watching two teams they beat play for the conference title, hoping that a Missouri upset could work in their favor.
Oklahoma is second in the BCS standings behind unbeaten Alabama. Texas is third and Florida is fourth.
The winner of the Southeastern Conference championship game between the Crimson Tide and Gators is virtually guaranteed a spot in the BCS national title game on Jan. 8 in Miami.
Oklahoma would earn the other spot by beating Missouri. If the Sooners lose, it could open the door for Texas to go to the national title game, despite not playing for its conference championship, or Southern California.
The Trojans are fifth in the BCS standings with a game to go at rival UCLA.
The Sooners were behind Texas last week in the BCS standings, but just barely. The Sooners actually led the Longhorns in the polls, but a week ago the computers had Texas ahead of Oklahoma.
After the Sooners’ 61-41 victory Saturday night against Oklahoma State — 14th in the latest standings — and the Longhorns’ 49-9 win over lowly Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, the polls tightened but the computers flipped.
The strength of the Big 12 South led to this new BCS controversy, with the top three teams in the conference each finishing 11-1.
After beating Oklahoma and jumping to No. 1 in the polls, Texas (11-1) lost at Texas Tech 39-33 on Nov. 1. The Red Raiders (11-1), No. 2 at the time, then lost at Oklahoma 65-21 on Nov. 22.
The lopsided loss dropped Texas Tech to seventh in Sunday’s standings.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.