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Oklahoma goes to College Football Playoff

The Oklahoma Sooners blew a ridiculously bad game against the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry back in October, and any hope of them making it to the College Football Playoff seemed bleak.

After all, Oklahoma already had one loss and still had to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys, TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears, all teams that would at one point or another be favorites to show up for the national championship game. Yet, against all the odds, head coach Bob Stoops has guided the Sooners into the playoffs, punctuated by a thrashing of Oklahoma State on the road, 58-23.

Oklahoma won the game with the same formula that had worked the entire campaign. The Sooners ran the ball at will against the Cowboys, gashing the hosts for 344 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine accounted for 136 and 131 rushing yards, respectively, with both finding the end zone twice. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was not asked to do much, but was able to toss a pair of scores without an interception. All told, Mayfield threw for 180 yards on 17-of-25 passing.

Without a Big 12 championship game, the Sooners have won the conference crown and can now look forward to who they will be playing in the first round of the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma will likely be facing either the Alabama Crimson Tide or Clemson Tide, who currently sit No. 2 and No. 1 respectively in the rankings. Clemson was barely able to hold off 3-8 South Carolina on Saturday, while Alabama put away unranked Auburn in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl.

Next weekend, Clemson will face the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC title game, while the Crimson Tide take on the Florida Gators in the SEC championship. Should both emerge victorius, it is all but certain that one of the two will be Oklahoma’s opponent in the national semifinals. Of course, considering the history of the two programs, the Sooners would probably like to see Clemson, which has not been in the title hunt this late in the season for more than two decades.

Oklahoma is searching for its first national championship since 2003, the first and only title under Stoops. The Sooners are gunning for their 18th-overall championship.

If Stoops can keep the Sooners sharp throughout the next five weeks while they wait around for the College Football Playoff to start, they have as good a chance as anybody else to make noise and perhaps win the whole thing. It would be a huge feather in the proverbial cap for Stoops and the Big 12, which has long complained of the SEC getting too much attention.

Soon enough, we will know if the Sooners can take it all the way.

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