It comes roughly two years too late for Texas, and will likely never come into play again anyway, but the Big 12 conference has finally made a change to the controversial conference tiebreaker that cost the Longhorns a shot at a league title game appearance that could’ve led to a crack at the BcS crystal.
For those unfamiliar with the back story, here’s a brief synopsis: UT got screwed in 2008.
Now, for those still unfamiliar, here’s a little lengthier synopsis: at the end of the 2008 regular season, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech were tied atop the Big 12’s South division with one loss apiece. During the regular season, Texas beat Oklahoma, which beat Texas Tech, which beat Texas.
That cluster(bad word) created a three-way tie and, after the first four tiebreakers produced no South champion, it went to the fifth tiebreaker: the highest-ranked team in the BcS standings. Oklahoma (No. 2), which lost to Texas (No. 3), got the nod based on that set of rankings and went on to the conference title game against Missouri, which UT had also soundly beaten during the regular season.
An uproar in Austin and across the national media landscape ensued — Lubbock: “hey, ya know, like, what about us, man?” — and led to UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds petitioning for a change to the tiebreaker procedure in 2009. Friday, conference commissioner Dan Beebe confirmed to the Dallas Morning News that the three-way tiebreaker has been tweaked slightly.
Here’s the old version, with the fifth three-way tiebreaker: “5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series standings following the completion of Big 12 regular season conference play shall be the representative.”
And the new version: “5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series poll following the completion of Big 12 regular season conference play shall be the representative in the Big 12 Championship Game, unless two of the tied teams are ranked within one spot of the other in the BCS poll. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the Big 12 Championship Game.”
Under the new system for breaking three-way ties, Texas, not Oklahoma, would’ve represented the South in the conference championship game.
This change was actually approved but not announced in June of this year, 18 months too late for the Longhorns and their faithful.
C’est la vie, though, right ‘Horns? Then again, if Michael Crabtree wouldn’t have happened…