Two Big 12 instant replay officials who were partially blamed for a rules gaffe that gave Central Michigan an untimed down and resulted in the Chippewas’ miraculous win at No. 22 Oklahoma State have been suspended for two games, the league announced Sunday.
The two officials weren’t the only ones in the conference to have a rough weekend, though. Several Big 12 teams also had rough days Saturday, as the league limped to a 4-5 mark despite being favored in seven of nine games.
It all started in Stillwater.
While the final play that doomed the Cowboys should have never happened, Oklahoma State let Central Michigan hang around despite being a 20 1/2-point favorite at home.
Kansas’ 37-21 loss to Ohio wasn’t quite as shocking, considering the Jayhawks opened as a two-point home underdog, but it still resulted in the Big 12 going 0-2 against the Mid-American Conference on Saturday.
Big 12 teams were also 0-3 in games against opponents from other Power Five conference as No. 15 TCU, Texas Tech and Iowa State lost to Arkansas, Arizona State, and No. 16 Iowa, respectively.
All of this on the heels of preseason conference title favorite Oklahoma losing to Houston in its season opener.
With five conferences, plus potentially the party-crashing Cougars, in the mix for those four precious spots in the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 may be left in a pile of Wonka Bar wrappers without a golden ticket.
Oklahoma has a chance to make amends and quickly rejoin the playoff conversation if it can upend third-ranked Ohio State this weekend. A loss to the Buckeyes, though, would give the Sooners — and the Big 12 — another black eye.
After vanishing from national relevancy the last three years like a former child TV star, the Texas Longhorns vaulted back into the top-25 rankings with a season-opening win over the Golden Domers from Notre Dame.
As of now, the Horns are the darlings of the Big 12 and possibly give the conference its best shot at a playoff berth, especially if the Sooner Schooner blows another axle. However, the real value of Texas’ stock will be determined over the Longhorns’ next three contests: road games at Cal and Oklahoma State before a re-energized Red River rivalry game with Oklahoma in Dallas.
Baylor found its way into the playoff conversation the last two seasons under Art Briles, but with an interim coach, Jim Grobe, at the helm following Briles’ dismissal, few are buying the Bears to contend once they get past their annual soft nonconference schedule.
Despite dropping out of the polls, Saturday’s double-overtime loss to the Hogs didn’t completely eliminate the Frogs from playoff contention, but TCU will need to win big in conference to make a serious play for a playoff spot.
Now, if Texas and Oklahoma were to both stumble in Week 3, the Big 12 would already be faced with the likelihood of being left out of the playoff for the second time in three seasons.
And then there’s that little matter of conference expansion that still needs to be settled.
Not that the current football season will have much bearing on its future, but if things continue to go south for the Big 12 in September, would potential expansion candidates such as BYU, Cincinnati, Houston or even UConn really dilute the conference?
The Big 12 better make sure that play is carefully reviewed.