Texas can still share the title

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NEW YORK --- The best chance Texas has to be crowned national champion this season likely lies with the members of the media who vote in The Associated Press college football poll.

The Longhorns are the latest team to feel slighted by the Bowl Championship Series, though the twist this time was coach Mack Brown's team has the Big 12 to blame as much as the BCS standings.

Oklahoma, which lost 45-35 to Texas in October, slipped ahead of the Longhorns in the latest BCS standings and earned a spot in the Big 12 title game against Missouri on Saturday.

The Big 12 had to go to its fifth tiebreaker, best BCS ranking, to break a three-way tie in its South Division between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. All had 11-1 records. Oklahoma beat Texas Tech and Texas Tech beat Texas.

The tiebreaker not only put the Sooners in position to win the league championship, but a win against Missouri virtually guarantees Oklahoma a spot in the BCS national title game in Miami on Jan. 8 against the winner of the Southeastern Conference championship.

But Texas still has hope.

If Missouri beats Oklahoma, Texas is the presumptive next-in-line to reach the BCS title game. The Tigers (9-3) don't seem to be up to the task of stopping the Sooners, who have scored at least 60 points in their past four games.

Missouri is a 17-point underdog, and its only two losses last season were to Oklahoma.

Depending on the Tigers leaves the Longhorns a long shot to get to Miami.

Texas might be better off turning its attention to the AP poll.

If Alabama were to win the BCS title game, the Tide would be undefeated and undisputed national champs. Florida goes into the SEC title game ranked second in the AP poll, so logic dictates the Gators would jump to No. 1 by beating the Tide and stay there if they win the BCS championship game.

Texas was No. 3 in the last AP Top 25, ahead of Oklahoma by eight points.

Unlike USA Today coaches' poll voters, who are required to put the BCS championship game winner No. 1 on their final ballots, the 65 AP voters don't have to put the winner of that game on top of their final ballots.

So if Oklahoma wins out, and Texas wins its bowl game, presumably the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State or maybe Utah, do the 40 AP voters who had Texas ahead of Oklahoma last week -- most by one spot-- keep the Longhorns ahead of the Sooners when the final poll comes out in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 9?

The answer, of course, is maybe.

"It's possible I could vote Texas No. 1, but it's far too early to say," Tom Keegan of the Lawrence Journal World in Nebraska said in an e-mail to the AP.

"I had Texas No. 2, Oklahoma No. 3 and it was a tough call," Keegan said. "They are so close in my mind that whichever team plays better from this point forward likely will be the one I rank higher."

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