Who: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State; Texas vs. Texas Christian; Texas Tech vs. Baylor
What: Big 12 Baseball, The Final Weekend
When: May 16, 2013 | 6:30 p.m. CDT
Where: Stillwater OK | Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (3,821); Fort Worth TX | Lupton Stadium (4,500); Lubbock TX | Dan Law Field (5,050)
Media: Oklahoma State All-Access (subscription); FOX Southwest; Fox College Sports
It's a big day for the Batcats, even though they aren't playing. The Texas/TCU game matters not a bit, but the other two games have implications. Here's an important thing to remember: all the teams remaining in contention have nine losses. That means the minute they lose, they have 10 losses... and at least one team in this conference will finish with 9 or fewer. There's no way around it. If OU sweeps K-State, they finish 15-9; if K-State wins so much as one game, they can't finish any worse than 15-9. Which also means that Oklahoma State and Baylor are technically out of the race, as they can't get to 15 wins, but if one of them happens to get to 14-9 while the conference champion is 15-9, there will undoubtedly be angst.
So: for Baylor, West Virginia, and the Oklahoma schools, every game from here on out is an elimination game even if only for argumentation purposes. Lose, and you're not winning the conference title (or at least giving yourself an argument) no matter what K-State does this weekend. As a result, this Thursday slate is critically important even with the Batcats idle.
For our purposes, the best possible outcome today involves Texas Tech and West Virginia winning. That would eliminate the Bears and Cowboys and reduce the proceedings to a three-team race while also preventing the half-game gap caused by the OSU-Baylor snowout from having any impact whatsoever on the conference title. That vastly simplifies matters for all concerned. Since we have the tiebreaker over West Virginia, I'd rather just get the Cowboys out of the way tonight and remove the controversial aspect of the race.
(As an aside, the worst possible outcome for the Cats would be to go 1-2 against Oklahoma while Oklahoma State and Baylor both sweep. K-State would still "win" the conference title, but it would be so grossly tainted it's not even funny -- because either Oklahoma State or Baylor would have won that missing game, and in the process would have claimed the #1 seed over the Wildcats by virtue of winning their series against K-State. Not a situation we want to be facing, because we're not Bob Stoops.)
As I am in the catchment area for OSU radio, we'll see if one of the local stations actually airs the game; it's likely, since the Cardinals are playing right now rather than tonight, and therefore tonight's Rangers game is the only competition for the Sports Animal's airtime. Since I get three different stations on the Sports Animal network, odds are at least one of them will carry the OSU game. If so, I'll probably be able to keep you updated on that one, depending on reception and the intrusion of that pesky Real Life stuff. Those of you with acceptably decent sports plans on your televideo device will be able to watch the others, but OSU-WVU doesn't appear to be viewable tonight unless you want to pay for it.