BIG 12 COMMENTARY
Finally paying heed to head-to-head matchups—something other NCAA conferences, pro sports and ping-pong rec leagues have long considered standard practice—the Big 12 made the mind-numbingly simple decision to clarify its football tiebreaker on Wednesday.
Chalk up a victory for common sense, Art Briles and, of course, “the American way.”
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joked that “you could see the computations taking place” in the minds of coaches who might forfeit conference championship bonuses now that co-champs will no longer be recognized. Two-way ties have occurred twice in the past three seasons, with both schools receiving trophies and legit sports fans rolling their eyes.
With that bit of business handled, the Big 12 also approved an interesting aggregate scoring tiebreaker in the event of a three-way deadlock (something that, let’s face it, seems certain to occur in a league that couldn’t steer clear of controversy with a GPS, two sherpas and a copy of Tom Brown’s Field Guide).
Suppose Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas end the regular season with one conference loss each and each team owning a 1-1 record against the other two. (Cyclones and Jayhawks joined this equation purely to underscore that it’s a hypothetical). The team with the worst scoring differential in the three-way mix is eliminated, and the remaining two schools revert to the head-to-head decider.
The obvious side-effect? This method incentivizes running up the score in games between league contenders—which some pundits consider blasphemy and others accept as playing to the final horn. In America, where everyone except reality housewives reap what they earn, I have no problem with bench-riding understudies taking downfield shots or whatever they have trained to accomplish through year-round workouts and practices. LET THEM PLAY! exhorted William Devane in an Academy-snubbed “Bad News Bears” sequel, and his battle cry holds true in college football, for the entire 60 minutes.
Besides, the Big 12 has touted its high-flying offenses for some time. Now, with the scoring tiebreaker potentially in effect, every drive will matter. Even the ones that occur as some fans begin driving home.
Another Longhorns lineman exits: Texas coach Charlie Strong has lost yet another offensive lineman, the fifth since taking over the program.
Redshirt sophomore guard Darius James was granted an unconditional release, making him a free-agent transfer for any other program, including one of the Longhorns’ Big 12 rivals, Horns247.com reported Wednesday. That would seemingly indicate an amicable split, unlike what Baker Mayfield endured at Texas Tech.
A four-star Rivals recruit in 2013 ranked as the No. 65 prospect nationally, James was the No. 2-rated offensive lineman signed by Texas during the last five classes. But he made only a minimal impact in Austin: He redshirted as a freshman and started only two games last season before sustaining a November knee injury.
Horns247.com reported the 6-5, 304-pound James “has put out feelers to multiple Power Five schools who’ve shown interest.”
Other offensive linemen who have transferred or been dismissed in the 16 months since Strong arrived were four-star recruits Rami Hammad, Kennedy Estelle and Curtis Riser and three-star Desmond Harrison.