The Big 12 championship game did not ruin the conference’s chances at the College Football Playoff.
No. 3 Oklahoma easily dispatched TCU with 17 straight points to open the second half in a 41-17 win over the Horned Frogs. There’s absolutely no chance the 12-1 Sooners will drop out of the top four in Sunday’s College Football Playoff rankings. It’s just a matter of what seed OU will have and if the Sooners will be heading to the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield likely wrapped up a Heisman Trophy too. Mayfield was 15-of-23 passing for 243 yards and four touchdowns.
The Sooners jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, but TCU made it 17-14 in the second quarter with two quick touchdowns. That was as close as the Horned Frogs would come to the Sooners.
Oklahoma led 24-17 at halftime and scored on its first play of the third quarter after forcing a TCU punt. Mayfield found Mykel Jones for a 55-yard touchdown and a 31-17 lead.
TCU then turned the ball over on downs and on Oklahoma’s second play of its next drive, Mayfield hit Marquise Brown for a long touchdown.
The Big 12 instituted the title game for the 2017 season with the hope that an extra game would boost its champion into the College Football Playoff. It was a noble, if slightly misguided, endeavor. The conference is still smarting from TCU and Baylor missing out on the playoff because of a lack of a title game in 2014.
But the reason the title game’s reincarnation is a bit misguided is because of the downside. Had TCU won on Saturday, the Big 12 almost certainly would have been shut out of the playoff for the third time in four years.
Now, the conference will have two appearances in that timeframe. And both will be by the Sooners, who made the playoff in 2015 and lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Mayfield was the quarterback then and the team had a first-year offensive coordinator by the name of Lincoln Riley.
The 2017 Sooners have Mayfield, of course, and Riley is the team’s first-year head coach. OU should avoid a matchup with Clemson this time too. The Big 12 is the only Power Five conference that hasn’t had a team in the playoff title game. Will that change this year?
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