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College Sports: This is what must happen for Oklahoma to reach the College Football Playoff

Chuck Carlton, Big 12 beat writer for and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the league during a live chat Wednesday. Here are some highlights:

Q: Do you think there is a real possibility that Lincoln Riley would make the jump to the NFL, to coach his former QB in Cleveland, or perhaps the Cowboys?

Carlton: Lincoln Riley was probably trying to be as honest as possible when asked about the Cleveland Browns job. He said he didn’t have an interest, at least right now. While Cleveland might might make sense because of Riley’s connection to Baker Mayfield, it’s still the Browns. At 35, Riley will have plenty of chances to coach in the NFL, including maybe an opportunity or two with a franchise south of the Red River. For now, he’s got things going nicely at Oklahoma and has a chance at the College Football Playoff, That’s the priority — even though the NFL talk won’t go away.

Q: Oklahoma opened at 7th in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. What has to happen in order for them to make it?

Carlton: Oklahoma is well-positioned in the first College Football Playoff rankings but will need some help. First, the Sooners need to win out, including the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium. Really don’t like the chances for at two-loss Big 12 champ. Then, the Sooners need Alabama to win the SEC to avoid the committee picking two teams from that league, especially if Alabama is sitting there with just one loss. Another key will be a loss for Notre Dame, which could steal a bid from one of the power conferences by running the table. Oklahoma also needs Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State to stay in the CFP Top 25 for strength of schedule.

Q: What is the one matchup you are looking forward to most the rest of the season?

Carlton: Oklahoma at West Virginia to end the regular season could decide the Big 12’s hopes for the College Football Playoff and who plays in the Big 12 title game. West Virginia hasn’t yet broken through in a big way in the Big 12. This is the Mountaineers chance. And Oklahoma looks like a team on a mission now after the Red River Showdown loss to Texas. Texas Tech hosting Oklahoma and Texas should be great theater as well. Lubbock has a great big game atmosphere.

To enjoy the full chat, click here.

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