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Big 12 Baseball: Regular Season Title Race

TCU currently sits atop the conference standings. How will results in the season’s final weekend impact the chase for a Championship?

TCU Baseball has finished its Big 12 regular season schedule and has climbed its way to the top of the mountain following a sweep of Kansas last weekend. While the Frogs close the regular season this weekend with a home non-conference series against Santa Clara, the rest of the Big 12 will be engaged in conference battles that will impact seeding for the Big 12 Tournament. Let’s review these final conference series and what Frog Fans will be rooting for in order to lock up a conference championship and #1 seed:

Oklahoma @ Texas Tech

This is where the majority of the attention should go. The Red Raiders are coming off a series sweep at Oklahoma State which catapulted it to #5 in the polls and into a Regional hosting position. The Sooners enter after consecutive series wins over TCU and WVU that has pushed them into a 2-seed in the latest D1Baseball bracket projection. If TTU sweeps this series, the Red Raiders will be the stand-alone conference champions, with 17 Big 12 wins. But Frogs fans shouldn’t fully be wearing their crimson and cream glasses this weekend, as a Sooner sweep would put them tied with the Frogs as co-champions. If this results in a 2-way tie at the top, OU would get the #1 Seed due to their series win over the Frogs in Fort Worth. There is also possibility for 3-way ties at the top, which leads us to:

Oklahoma State @ Baylor

As sick as it may make you, the Frog faithful will be Bear fans for the weekend. The Cowboys are still in position to earn a co-championship via a sweep in Waco. OSU was in position to lock up the top spot, but lost all three games against Texas Tech last weekend. Baylor needs a win to lock up an invite to the Big 12 Tournament, as Kansas could jump ahead with a sweep of Texas. As unlikely as that seems, stranger things have happened between the Jayhawks and Longhorns in Austin. TCU holds the conference tournament seeding tie-breaker over OSU thanks to the Frogs’ series win in Stillwater, but the Frogs would rather not share the trophy.

Final Standings Scenarios:

  1. TTU loses twice; OSU loses at least once: TCU outright champion & 1-seed
  2. OSU sweep; TTU loses once: OSU, TTU, TCU co-champs; TCU is 1-seed
  3. OSU sweep; TTU loses twice: OSU, TCU co-champs; TCU is 1 seed
  4. OU sweep, OSU loses at least once: OU, TCU co-champs; TCU is 2-seed
  5. OU sweep, OSU sweep: OU, OSU, TCU co-champs; ???
  6. TTU sweep: TTU outright champions; TCU is 2-seed

Scenario 5 is breaking my brain a bit, as the Frogs, Sooners, and Cowboys would each finish 16-8 in conference, with a 3-3 record against the other two tied teams. The Big 12 baseball seeding tiebreaker rules proceed to use “the winner of the first game of the Conference series” as the next-level tie break, but each are 1-1 vs. the other 2 in Game 1s. From there, it’ll be performance vs. the next highest team in the standings (Texas Tech), eliminating OSU from the conversation, but still with TCU and OU tied, having both swept the Red Raiders in this scenario. It’s not clear whether that would give OU the top seed via head-to-head or if it would move to tiebreaker 4: random drawing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To summarize: TCU will want Texas Tech and Oklahoma to each lose a game this weekend to give TCU the #1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and at least a share of the regular season crown. The best case scenario for TCU is for Oklahoma to win their series over Texas Tech 2 games to 1, while OSU drops at least one game to Baylor, giving the Frogs sole possession of the regular season trophy and the top seed in the Tournament. There’s still work to do with a series against Santa Clara this weekend, but with a deep run in the conference tournament next week, TCU could be back in the Regional host conversation.