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Big 12 rewind: It's Kansas State's to lose, but conference crown still up for grabs on final weekend

It's not over till it's over, but Kansas State is in control of its own destiny. A win over Texas will give the Cats their second Big 12 crown in football and the league's automatic BCS bowl bid.

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A lot of things were decided in college football in what the TV networks ballyhooed as Showdown Saturday. We now know that undefeated and top-ranked Notre Dame has secured one of the two spots in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) Championship game to be played in the Orange Bowl in Miami. By virtue of victories over the weekend, we also know that Notre Dame's likely opponent on Jan. 7 will likely be the winner of the SEC Championship game next Saturday between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.

What we don't yet know, as the college football season enters the final weekend of the regular season, is who will win the Big 12 championship. Here is the formula that will determine the league football crown, however:

  • As things stand today, all Kansas State needs to do to lock up its second Big 12 championship and third conference crown in program history is defeat Texas on Saturday and the Wildcats will be league champions and earn the conference's automatic BCS bid to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
  • If K-State wins its regular-season finale against Texas and Oklahoma prevails over TCU, the Wildcats and Sooners will share the conference championship. But K-State will win the tiebreaker for the automatic BCS bowl bid as a result of its victory over Oklahoma earlier in the season.
  • Should the Wildcats stumble against Texas, however, and OU defeats TCU, the Sooners would win the conference crown outright.

Kansas State (10-1, 7-1) had a bye over this past weekend, giving coach Bill Snyder's sixth-ranked squad an extra week to prepare for the important task ahead on Saturday. Texas is coming off a 20-13 loss to TCU on Thanksgiving night in the Longhorns final home game. TCU (7-4, 4-4) picked off three Texas passes and never trailed in the game in handing the Longhorns their third loss in the season, all against Big 12 teams.

Oklahoma, now 9-2 and 7-1 in league play, never led against in-state archrival Oklahoma State until scoring a game-winning touchdown in the first overtime session to upend the Cowboys 51-48 in a game in which the two teams exploded for a combined 1,108 yards of total offense and 67 first downs. For the second week in a row, OU senior quarterback Landry Jones led his team from behind on last-possession scoring drives that changed the outcome of the games.

West Virginia finally snapped its five-game losing streak against Big 12 opponents with a game winning 75-yard touchdown scamper by wide-receiver-turned-tailback Tavon Austin late in its game at Iowa State. The electric Austin took a quick flip pass from quarterback Geno Smith midway through the final quarter to pull out a 31-24 come-from-behind win. The Mountaineers started the season going 5-0 before dropping its next five games. With its sixth win at Iowa State, West Virginia became bowl eligible.

In the only other game in the conference in Week 13, Baylor, fresh off a 59-24 major upset of formerly No. 1-ranked Kansas State, scored on a four-yard touchdown run in overtime to defeat Texas Tech 52-45 in another wild and wooly Big 12 offensive show that saw both teams light up the scoreboard for 96 total points and over 1,200 yards of offense. With the win, Baylor (6-5, 3-5) became the ninth Big 12 team to become bowl eligible. Of the 10 conference teams, only Kansas, which was idle this past week along with Kansas State, failed to reach the six-win bowl-eligibility threshold.

Now for some other fascinating facts from Saturday's games in the Big 12:

Five things we learned from Week 12 in Big 12 football

  • The Big 12 is one of just two conferences with nine members who have achieved six wins and bowl eligibility. Big 12 teams have scored an average of 36.1 points per game and a combined score of 74.4 ppg, No, 1 in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision).
  • With 500 yards passing on Saturday, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones became the Big 12's all-time leader in passing yards (16.124) with one regular season game and a bowl appearance still to come.
  • TCU's Thanksgiving day victory over in-state rival and conference foe Texas was the school's 600th in program history. The win in Austin was TCU's first since 1967.
  • Entering its game with TCU, Texas had committed only eight turnovers in 10 games, fewest in the nation. The Longhorns committed three turnovers against the Horned Frogs that led to 14 points and were the difference in the game.
  • Oklahoma had 44 first downs against Oklahoma State on Saturday, the second most in NCAA history. The record (45) is owned by another Big 12 team: Texas Tech in 2003 vs. Iowa State.

Next Weekend's Big 12 Schedule

Texas @ Kansas State

Kansas @ West Virginia

Oklahoma @ TCU

Oklahoma State @ Baylor

Texas Tech, Iowa State (regular season completed)

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