Not that Oklahoma really needed any more motivation facing archrival Texas in the Big 12 championship game Saturday.
The Sooners have tons anyway.
Ohio State’s 62-39 thrashing of No. 4 Michigan has now provided the opening that Oklahoma needs for a return trip to the College Football Playoff – if the Sooners can avenge their only loss this season.
The top four in the CFP rankings pretty much controlled their own destiny. Now Oklahoma has a playoff pathway and a debate to win.
Expect to hear an awful lot of Sooners vs. Buckeyes talk this week. Among elite offenses, Oklahoma is slightly better. Among woeful defenses, Ohio State is less worse. Both are college football bluebloods so there’s no name brand advantage. And both Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and Ohio State AD Gene Smith are on the committee, although each must recuse themselves from discussions involving their schools.
The biggest difference: Oklahoma’s loss is by three points vs. Texas in Dallas. Ohio State’s is by 29 at Purdue.
The CFP rankings Tuesday now have suspense. Which team will have the edge going into conference championship games? The AP Top 25 might have provided a preview Sunday with Oklahoma at No. 5 and Ohio State moving up to No. 6.
Of course, the CFP selection committee has been known to go its own way and has the say that matters.
Ohio State will face a four-loss Northwestern team for the Big 10 title. Oklahoma has three-loss Texas, which has a chance to be in the CFP top 10 for the game. The Longhorns are No. 9 in the AP Top 25.
If both Oklahoma and Ohio State wins, it could be white-knuckle time at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine next Sunday.
Of course, things now are just beginning to simmer for Red River Showdown v. 2.0 at AT&T Stadium. After Breckyn Hager’s comments about the Sooners defense as well as the obligatory “OU sucks,” Sooner linebacker Curtis Bolton fired back after Friday’s 59-56 win over West Virginia.
“Blows my mind. We hung 50 on them, too,” Bolton said, inflating the OU point total by five. “If anyone on their defense has anything to say, they can have fun playing Kyler [Murray] next week.”
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