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Baylor kicks last second field goal vs. Oklahoma due to Big 12 tiebreaker rules. Here are the rules.

Aranda was thinking well ahead when he made this decision.

Head coach Dave Aranda of the Baylor Bears leads the Baylor Bears against the Brigham Young Cougars in the second half at McLane Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Waco, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With three seconds left in the No. 13 Baylor Bears upset of the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners, BU head coach Dave Aranda chose to kick a 32-yard field goal that made the final score 27-14.

It might turn out to be a big field goal when it comes to the Big 12 Championship picture.

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.

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.