It might turn out to be a big field goal when it comes to the Big 12 Championship picture.
Dave Aranda tells Jenny Taft he tacked on the FG for the Big 12 tiebreaker, which includes scoring differential.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 13, 2021
The Big 12 championship tiebreaker rules include Rule 3 here, which states:
Scoring differential among the tied teams. The team or teams with the lowest difference between points scored and points allowed in games vs. the tied teams is eliminated from consideration.
Baylor lost 24-14 earlier this season to Oklahoma State, but just beat Oklahoma 27-14. That would put them at +3 if it came down to a three-way tiebreaker at the top of the conference to determine who gets to the Big 12 Championship Game. Remember there are no divisions in the Big 12, and the top two teams at the end of the season will face off in Jerry World for the title.
So if Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are all tied with league records of 7-2 after the regular season atop the Big 12, Baylor is now assured of reaching the Big 12 Championship game. Because someone else is going be in the negative across those three teams, and it won’t be the Bears.
So while it might have looked like running up the score, it was some truly thoughtful process from Aranda, already known as one of the more cerebral and analytically-driven coaches in the country. He was a candidate for national coach of the year, and this might add to his case.
But Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was none-too-pleased with the decision, stating afterwards some kind of football code was violated.
Lincoln Riley said he was upset that Baylor wasn’t assessed a 15-yard penalty for the field rushing. He also said he understands why Dave Aranda kicked the FG, but said he wouldn’t have done it and that it goes against a “code of sportsmanship"— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) November 13, 2021
You can’t blame Riley for being angry at something he couldn’t possibly have been thinking about in the moment while just wanting to get off the field and go home after a national championship-dream-ending loss. But in hindsight, this was absolutely the right thing for Baylor to do.
And if you don’t like it, stop them. Or just beat Oklahoma State and get to the Big 12 Championship Game anyway.