After a very convincing 49-21 win over the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys and longtime head coach Mike Gundy in the Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, on Dec. 2, No. 7 Texas football looks like a team that belongs in the College Football Playoff. Texas controlled this game from beginning to end against an Oklahoma State squad that looked really good against top-25 opponents during the regular season.
Before this game, Oklahoma State was 2-0 against ranked opponents and 3-0 against teams ranked in the top 30 in the FPI during the regular season.
That didn’t matter in this game, though, as the Longhorns showed how superior they were to win their first Big 12 Championship since 2009. Texas broke all sorts of records on their way to winning the Big 12 title, including the most total yards of offense in a Big 12 Championship Game, most passing yards, and the most passing touchdowns.
No. 7 Texas football makes a statement for the CFP with a 28-point win over No. 18 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship Game
It was also impressive to see Texas limit the potential Doak Walker Award winner, sophomore running back Ollie Gordon, to just 34 rushing yards on 13 carries and no rushing touchdowns.
This was a complete effort for the Longhorns. And it sends a statement to the College Football Playoff selection committee, which hasn’t shown the Longhorns much respect this fall.
Despite having the toughest strength of schedule and second-best strength of record among the one-loss teams in the Power Five, the selection committee still ranked Texas behind the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 5 Oregon Ducks earlier this week.
Texas now needs some help from the other Power Five conference championship games and more respect from the selection committee to get into the Playoff this postseason.
Texas should get in over Alabama if the Tide beat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game
Barring all undefeated Power Five teams winning their conference championship games this weekend, Texas deserves to be one of the four teams in the Playoff.
The No. 3 Washington Huskies already defeated Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game on Dec. 1. And the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs are currently in a dogfight with the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2.
That leaves the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles against the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals in the ACC title game and the No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes against the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten title game to help round out the Playoff picture this weekend.
Washington has essentially locked its spot in the Playoff with the three-point win over Oregon in the PAC-12 title game on Dec. 1. Florida State, Michigan, and Georgia would likely do the same if each school wins their respective conference championship games today.
But if any one of those teams falters, Texas deserves to be the next team in the Playoff.
The team that has the best argument to jump Texas if any of the undefeated Power Five teams lose this weekend is Alabama. But Texas has the impressive double-digit win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa in Week 2 this season.
While it would be a big deal for Alabama to beat the No. 1 team for the first time this season, Texas’s double-digit win over the Tide should be more than enough to get the edge in this conversation. A head-to-head win on the road should be a deciding factor here.
You must also consider the eye test and season trajectory when evaluating Texas. While Alabama was lucky to beat their in-state rival Auburn on a miracle fourth-down passing touchdown last week, Texas has played its best football of the season in the last two weeks.
Texas defeated two quality bowl-eligible Power Five teams in Oklahoma State and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the last two weeks by a combined margin of 78 points.
According to ESPN, Texas also has the edge over Alabama in strength of schedule and strength of record after the Big 12 title win over Oklahoma State.
The combination of Texas having beaten Alabama in Tuscaloosa by double digits, along with the edge in strength of record and strength of schedule should be more than enough to get the Longhorns in the Playoff if the Tide win the SEC.
Otherwise, Texas will be a near-lock for the Playoff if Louisville upsets Florida State in the ACC Championship Game or if Iowa somehow pulls off a stunner against Michigan in the Big Ten title game.