Big 12 football coaches vote to keep tiebreaker

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 9:45 p.m. CDT; updated 11:37 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PHOENIX — Big 12 Conference football coaches have rejected a proposal to change the controversial tiebreaker that gave Oklahoma the nod over Texas in the three-way tie in the Big 12 South last season.

Meeting at a resort on Wednesday, they voted to keep the Bowl Championship Series standings as the method to break ties between more than two teams. Under that rule, the Sooners edged the Longhorns by 13 thousandths of a point in December.

The coaches had considered adopting a three-team tiebreaker that would eliminate the lowest-ranked team in the BCS standings, then go to the head-to-head result of the remaining two teams. If that had been in place last year, Texas Tech would have been eliminated, and Texas would have emerged as the division champion because it had defeated Oklahoma.

“The tiebreaker system we had was felt, by the majority of coaches, to be appropriate to what we want to accomplish,” commissioner Dan Beebe said. “There’s risks in either one. We had one risk last year.”

The coaches’ recommendation will go to Big 12 athletic directors, who may still change the tiebreaker.

Beebe said the coaches decided to stick with the BCS standings as a tiebreaker because of the national title implications. Under the rejected tiebreaker, it’s possible that a fifth-ranked team could earn the nod because of a victory over a team ranked No. 1 or 2 — and that might cost the Big 12 a shot at the national title.

“The motive is to give the best chance for a team to play in the national championship,” Beebe said. “Obviously, we had a scenario (in 2008), hopefully we’ll never have that again.”

Last fall, the wild Big 12 South ended in a three-way tie between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech.

Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech, which defeated Texas, which defeated Oklahoma, leaving all three teams with a claim to the division crown.

It came down to the fifth tiebreaker, and Oklahoma won out, earning a berth in the Big 12 championship game against Missouri.

Oklahoma finished a single point ahead of Texas in the USA Today coaches’ poll and six points behind the Longhorns in the Harris Poll. That left it to the computer ratings, and the Sooners came out on top in four of the six.

The Sooners beat the Tigers for the Big 12 title and went on to play Florida in the BCS national championship game.

Texas was left playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.


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