Texas is still running in the tightening Big 12 title race

Christina Huang, Double Coverage Editor

As December gets closer and closer, the race for the Big 12 title seems to get tighter every week. 

Three out of the four Big 12 games last week were three-point wins. West Virginia beat Baylor 43-40 last Thursday. TCU also beat Oklahoma State 43-40 while Texas beat Iowa State 24-21. 

Out of the 17 in-conference games played between Big 12 opponents so far, 12 of those games were decided by 10 points or less. That’s 70% of the in-conference games that have already been played. With such a high percentage of games being decided by less than two scores, every single play counts for the Big 12 teams. 

For context, only 56% of the SEC’s in-conference games so far were decided by 10 points or less. These numbers don’t necessarily mean that the Big 12 is better at football compared to the SEC. They just show the parity in competition for each conference. 

“There’s a lot of football left to be played in our conference,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I think the key to the drill is one game at a time … (The record) doesn’t matter. Everybody’s good.” 

And Sarkisian’s not wrong. For example, Iowa State is 0-4 in Big 12 games right now. However, it lost those games by anywhere from one point to seven points. Iowa State’s loss with the largest margin this season is a 31-24 loss to Baylor on Sept. 24. 

For Texas, the high level of competition in the Big 12 is critical on many fronts. 

No. 8 TCU and No. 17 Kansas State are the only teams still unbeaten in conference play. Texas and Oklahoma State each have one Big 12 loss. All other teams have at least two conference losses. The loser of the Texas-Oklahoma State game will essentially have no room for another loss if it wants to make the Big 12 title game. 

After Texas faces Oklahoma State, it’ll travel to No. 17 Kansas State for another ranked away game. While the Longhorns have recovered well since their upset loss to Texas Tech, there’s no space left to drop games. 

Aside from conference standings, winning this game would be another step forward for Sarkisian. Since his time as Texas head coach began, the Longhorns are 1-5 in away games. Just about every Big 12 team has a formidable home field advantage. Saturday’s game, which is also Oklahoma State’s homecoming game, has been officially sold out since Sept. 26. Texas’ first away game this season against Texas Tech was also sold out. 

As the Longhorns head into enemy territory, they’ll have to find a way to win if they want to remain in contention for the Big 12 game. There’s no way around it.