Texas winning Saturday is both the worst and best for the Big 12
The University of Texas holds the immediate and long-term future of the Big 12 in its hands on Saturday. Not bad for a university that's underperformed to their standards for almost a decade.
It's simple, really. Texas wins, they're back, and the Big 12 has to realize the burnt orange powerhouse is going again. If the Longhorns lose, well, then the Big 12 can win a national title this year. Both can't happen.
A win for Tom Herman and company would be the signature win in his short time at the helm of the program. He's likely been disappointing to most in his time at Texas. He's had three really ugly losses, two to Maryland and one to Texas Tech last year, but he's played good teams close. Last year's Texas team loses to USC and to TCU but this year's team handled both of them. Herman turned in the fourth overall recruiting class last year and is on schedule for a top class again.
There is steam and a win against Oklahoma would show, truly for the first time in the Herman era, Texas is back. A win over the Sooners would also keep them in the hunt for a Big 12 title as well. If you think Texas can beat Oklahoma, they can beat West Virginia at home. Having the burnt orange machine back would be a great development for the conference. Two legitimate title contenders year in and year out hasn't been the case in the Big 12 for a long time. Knowing the winner of the Red River Rivalry game has a shot at the national championship each year is something the conference luminaires have to have been dreaming about.
Now, about those national title hopes. Texas winning would be a disaster for the Big 12 this year. Oklahoma has the only true shot to make the playoff out of the Big 12. West Virginia and the Sooners play in the final week of the regular season and if both are undefeated they will rematch a week later for the Big 12 championship. Now, the Mountaineers may beat the Sooners once but they aren't beating them two weeks in a row, especially with the championship game in Arlington. So it rests on the Sooners and the Sooners alone because one-loss Oklahoma is out of the picture. So would one-loss Texas and West Virginia. So only undefeated Oklahoma can represent the Big 12 and Texas could ruin all that Saturday.
Regardless of the outcome. Texas back or Oklahoma still alive for a title, Saturday feels like a big-time matchup again. It feels like the game matters more than just a rivalry game. There are conference-wide and nationwide ramifications from the Texas State Fair this weekend. It's been a while since we could say that. Now, which do you want to see? Texas back or Oklahoma's title hopes to stay alive.