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Food for thought...

As discussed by Gabe in the PowerMizzou Mailbag today, every Mizzou fan is painfully aware that Missouri was two plays away from an 11-1 season.

A week ago, one of our readers posed the question: What if Mizzou had beaten Oklahoma State? Thanks to the greatness of the Colley Matrix, we're able to find out.

Now, because of the events of the past week, I'll have to add the addendum "and Kansas" to the end of the original question.

Now, while the change in human polls is impossible to quantify in a predictive manner, had Missouri beaten OSU and Kansas, this week's BCS rankings would look something like this:

Rank Team Record BCS Rating
1 Texas 11-1 0.93908
2 Oklahoma 11-1 .91194
3 Alabama 12-0 .90412
4 Florida 11-1 .90412
5 Utah 12-0 .89992
6 MISSOURI 11-1 .86786
7 USC 10-1 .86372
8 Texas Tech 11-1 .86108
9 Boise State 12-0 .85765
10 Penn State 11-1 .85497

Notice the change at the top. If Texas fans are angry at Missouri for losing to Kansas, imagine what a win over Oklahoma State would have done to help their case. A win over an 11-1 Missouri team instead of a 9-3 Missouri team pushes Texas into a commanding lead in the BCS, and into the Big 12 Title game.

Now the question becomes, would Missouri have still been in national title talk if the Tigers would have been able to avenge their only loss in the Big 12 title game? To best analyze this change, it'll have to be conditionally based on the result of the SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Florida.

First, if Alabama beats Florida:

Rank Team Record BCS Rating
1 Alabama 13-0 0.94307
2 Oklahoma 11-1 .90938
3 Texas 11-2 .90441
4 MISSOURI 12-1 .90245
5 Utah 12-0 .87220

Now, again, this system is unable to account for the swing in human voting, as I assume that there's no way pollsters would keep a one-loss team who avenged its sole loss behind the two-loss team it just beat. But that just goes to show that the computers would have been more impressed with Texas' season as a whole than Missouri's.

Would anything have changed if Florida were to beat Bama?

Rank Team Record BCS Rating
1 Florida 12-1 0.93631
2 Oklahoma 11-1 .90948
3 Texas 11-2 .90429
4 MISSOURI 12-1 .90263
5 Utah 12-0 .90015

So, barring some major pollster love (which, while not guaranteed, would have certainly been plausible), Missouri avenging its loss to Texas would have meant little to the computers.

All we can derive here is that if Missouri had won those two close games, the Tigers would very likely be awaiting the Longhorns, not the Sooners, in Kansas City. From there, it would have been up to the voters to give Mizzou a title nod if the Tigers could have somehow pulled off the upset en route to a Big 12 title.