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Big 12 North Scenarios

I promised yesterday to get around to this, but it looks like the Fort Worth Star Telegram's Jimmy Burch beat me to it (hat tip: Double T Nation.  Here is the breakdown...

The Contenders
(Note: Colorado is technically still alive, but I didn't want to make this any more confusing than it already is.)

K-State (3-2, games remaining at Iowa State, at Nebraska, home to Missouri)
Mizzou (3-1, games remaining at Colorado, home to Texas A&M, at K-State, neutral vs. KU)
KU (4-0, games remaining home to Nebraska, at Oklahoma State, neutral vs. Mizzou)

The Tiebreaker Rules (taken from the Star-Telegram article)

(1) Comparisons of the round-robin records of games played between the co-champs

(2) comparisons of the co-champs' records within their division

(3) comparison of the co-champs' records against the next-highest placed division opponents

(4) comparison of the co-champs' records against all common conference opponents. Once the tie is whittled to two teams after any step, the head-to-head tiebreaker between those schools determines the title-game participant.

There are other tiebreakers in case these don't work, but they mostly involve incantation and other hocus-pocus that I don't really want to deal with at the moment.

What Must Happen

  1.  K-State needs to win out.
  1.  Mizzou needs to win out, except for the matchup with K-State.
  1.  KU needs to lose to Nebraska and Mizzou.

If those three things happen, each team is 6-2 in conference play.  The first tiebreaker doesn't work, because each team would be 1-1 against the other co-champs (K-State: loss to KU, win over Mizzou, Mizzou: Win over KU, loss to K-State, KU: Win over K-State, loss to Mizzou).

The second tiebreaker compares records within the division.  In this scenario, each team would be 4-1 (K-State: wins over CU, NU, ISU, MU, loss to KU; Mizzou: wins over ISU, NU, CU, KU, loss to K-State; KU: wins over CU, NU, ISU, K-State, loss to MU).  Thus, the second tiebreaker fails as well.

The next tiebreaker looks at how each team fared against the lower teams in the division.  Each team would be 1-0 against Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa State in the scenario mentioned.

Finally, we look at the overall record against all common conference opponents.  Among K-State, Mizzou and KU, those teams are listed below:

Iowa State

Under the scenario mentioned above, K-State would be 3-0 against those opponents.  Mizzou would also be 3-0.  KU, by losing to Nebraska, would be 2-1, and thus eliminated.  That leaves K-State and Mizzou, and under the scenario posited above, K-State owns the head-to-head over Mizzou.

For K-State's coaches and players (not that they read this), all they need to do is focus on winning.  For us fans, it means we need to start sticking pins in little (OK, humongous) Mangino kewpie dolls and harrassing helpless chickens.  Oh, and you can bet I'll be the biggest Nebraska fan in the world this Saturday from about 11:30 p.m. until about 3:30 p.m.

A Couple Other Scenarios to Ponder

I think it is also possible that we are the North representative if KU loses to Iowa State instead of Nebraska, and all other conditions mentioned above hold.  In that scenario, each team would still be 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the division.  However, now KU would be 1-0 against Nebraska and 1-0 against Colorado, but 0-1 against Iowa State.  K-State and Mizzou would own wins over each of those teams, meaning it would again come down to the head-to-head, which under the scenario K-State would own.

So we're pinning our hopes on Nebraska and Iowa State.  God help us.