ARLINGTON, Texas — It didn’t necessarily go according to script, but No. 3 Oklahoma finally locked up its College Football Playoff spot.
The Sooners nearly squandered an early lead Saturday, but eventually took care of business in a 41-17 win over No. 11 TCU in the Big 12 championship game.
The win locked up the Sooners’ 11th Big 12 championship. Now, all eyes shift to the College Football Playoff committee in Grapevine, Texas, just 20 miles down the road from AT&T Stadium.
Oklahoma will be in the College Football Playoff. The Sooners ranked No. 3 in the playoff rankings before adding a great win against TCU. No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Auburn still have championship games left to play Saturday, and those contests will decide the Sooners’ seeding.
Oklahoma proved it deserves to be higher than No. 3 in the nation. In fact, the Sooners have a case to be No. 1.
On Saturday, Oklahoma put together one of its most impressive performances of the year. The Sooners went up 10-0 after a field goal drive and an 18-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Caleb Kelly. On the next drive, Heisman favorite Baker Mayfield added his first touchdown pass of the day to make it 17-0.
However, TCU put up a valiant fight. The Horned Frogs outscored the Sooners 17-7 in the second quarter to make it a one-possession game at the half.
The third quarter was all Mayfield. He threw impressive touchdowns of 55 and 52 yards as things never got close again from there. Oklahoma allowed just 95 yards of offense in the second half to answer major defensive questions.
The Sooners can’t match Clemson’s win over No. 2 Auburn, but the rest of the schedule is impressive. Oklahoma beat TCU – twice – in dominant fashion. The wins were by a combined 42 points. Oklahoma also has wins over No. 8 Ohio State – on the road no less – and No. 19 Oklahoma State on the road.
This is one of the most complete teams the Big 12 has produced in years, and the best player in the nation leads them. It was all on display during the win over TCU. Now, the expectations will be even higher.
Oklahoma should become the second Big 12 team to earn a College Football Playoff berth. However, the conference has not won a title since Texas did in 2006. Oklahoma has the potential to do just that.
Short of a brutal second half against Iowa State, the Sooners have been dominant in Big 12 play. Since November started, no team has been close.
Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents by 118 points since the beginning of the month. Mayfield has 1,712 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions in those five games.
This team is peaking at the right time.
Now, the stakes get higher.
But if Saturday is any indication, the Sooners are up for the task.