No. 7 Oklahoma will host No. 10 Oklahoma State at 11:30 a.m. or December 3 and the winner will be the Big 12 champions – with a possible berth in the four-team college football playoffs.
OU and OSU set the stage for the Bedlam match last Saturday with OU’s 56-28 throttling of West Virginia in Morgantown and the OSU’s 31-6 dismantling of TCU in Fort Worth.
Oklahoma (9-2) sits alone atop the Big 12 with an 8-0 conference record. Oklahoma State (9-2) is alone in second place with a 7-1 mark. A Cowboy victory would give OSU the title because of a head-to-head win over the Sooners.
And believe it or not, both the Sooners and the Cowboys are in striking distance of the playoff.
Here’s how it shapes up.
In the Southeastern Conference, No. 1 Alabama will play No. 13 Florida in the SEC title game. In the Big Ten, if No. 8 Penn State beats unranked Michigan State, they will go to the title game instead of No. 2 Ohio State (because they beat the Buckeyes).
If No. 5 Wisconsin beats Minnesota, Wisconsin goes to the championship, which match Penn State versus Wisconsin (or No. 3 Michigan). If Ohio State beats Michigan, it sets the stage for two Big Ten teams to maybe make the playoff under that scenario.
In the ACC, No. 4 Clemson won the Atlantic Division and will face either Virginia Tech or North Carolina in the title game. In the PAC-12, No. 6 Washington will advance to the title game if they beat No. 23 Washington State Saturday. If No. 10 Colorado beats No. 21 Utah, the Buffaloes will advance to the PAC-12 championship.
Strength of schedule could hurt OU and OSU in terms of the playoff. Five of the teams OU beat have at least six losses and they only have three wins against teams with winning records. The teams that OU has defeated have a combined record of only 43-52. Realistically, OU needs to win the Bedlam game, have Ohio State win the Big 10 and Washington lose one more game to get to the fourth spot. OSU needs to beat Oklahoma and then hope for a rash of upsets.
Playoff committee member Kirby Hocutt said the committee sees OSU’s loss to Central Michigan as a loss even though officials were wrong in giving Central Michigan a final play when the clock had expired.
The MAC officiating crew in Stillwater and the Big 12 replay crew were later suspended because of the errors that led to the winning play. Without that loss, the Cowboys would only have the one loss to Baylor and undoubtedly would be ranked higher.
“I know Kirby had mentioned that the committee feels a certain way about that game,” Gundy said. “I think Kirby’s playing poker and that they see us as a 10-win team. That’s just my opinion.”
The 9-2 Cowboys lost to Central Michigan in Week 2 after the Chippewas were incorrectly awarded an untimed down on the final play and subsequently scored on a Hail Mary pass after Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was flagged for intentional grounding on a fourth-down pass as time expired.
“Nobody will ever convince me that we didn’t get the win,” Gundy said about the 30-27 loss to the Chippewas on Sept. 10.
Stoops agrees with Gundy.
“In my eyes, they’ve only got one loss,” Stoops said Saturday night. “You know, if you played by the rules.
“They review everything else out here. They review a first down. You couldn’t review if that play should’ve been allowed or not? I had one of those that I count myself with one extra victory – that one at Oregon that everyone counted as a loss so my record book’s a little different than everyone else’s.”
Even though the OU-OSU game is not a conference title game, it is essentially.
Oklahoma set the stage by jumping out to an early 21-0 lead over No. 19 West Virginia. Saturday’s kickoff temperature was 36 degrees – tied for the seventh coldest of the Bob Stoops era. It was also snowing at kickoff and continued off and on throughout the game.
OU’s running game was outstanding as the Sooners focused on their running backs in the bad weather.
OU running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine each topped the 100-yard rushing mark in the first half, marking the fourth time they have each gone over 100-plus yards in the same game in their careers.
Mixon became the 22nd player in OU history to rush for at least a 1,000 yards (stands at 1,084) in a single season. With 116 yards on 14 carries in just the first quarter, Mixon logged his seventh career 100-yard rushing game and his fifth this season. He finished with 147 yards on 24 total carries and scored a 5-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Sooners up 28-0.
Perine had 160 yards on 31 carries and scored his ninth rushing TD of the year and the 46th of his career on OU’s second possession of the game to put the Sooners up 7-0. Perine scored his second TD of the game late in the second quarter to put Oklahoma up 34-0. It was the 47th rushing TD of his career and his 10th of the season.
“I thought the offensive execution – rushing the football for 388 yards – was what you want,” said Stoops. “The O-line and Dimitri Flowers blocking it up were great. Joe (Mixon) and Semaje (Perine) – they were great. Intentionally just didn’t throw it that much in that the way things were going, we didn’t feel we needed to until there towards the end.
“I think we wanted to run. We always do. I think what happens when it’s going well is you stick with it more. The conditions contributed to it, and the lead contributed to it.
“Maybe in the second half, (we) might have been too conservative, but that’s okay, too. You had to take time off the clock, and we had to manage it in the right way and still come out with the 28-point win.”
OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, who is showing up now on Heisman candidate lists, threw two touchdown passes and scored a pair of rushing TDs, giving him 16 total rushing TDs for his career and six this season.
Mayfield has accounted for at least four TDs in nine games this year, including each of the last eight.
West Virginia had four turnovers while the Sooners had a lone interception.
“Our guys, again, just managed it all really well,” Stoops said. “Securing the ball, being smart with it.”
“When you play a good football team, you can’t make the amount of mistakes that we made,” said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. “Just had too many stupid stuff happen, and that’s going to get you beat.”
Saturday’s win was the Cowboys’ first win over TCU in Fort Worth since 1947, though OSU has only played five times in Fort Worth since then, with two of those five games resulting in a tie.
OSU freshman running back Justice Hill broke the OSU season record for most rushing yards by a true freshman. He finished with 154 yards to bring his season total to 943. Thurman Thomas held the previous record with 843 yards in 1984. Hill’s season total ranks second all-time at OSU for redshirt and true freshmen. Mike Hamilton ran for 961 yards in 2005.
OSU had two 100-yard rushers (Hill and Chris Carson) and a 100-yard receiver (Chris Lacey) for the first time since 2012 vs. Baylor. OSU last had two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2013 in the season-opening win over Mississippi State.
“Coach Gundy and his group got after us,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “That’s the one team in the Big 12 that we’re not .500 or better against. We’re 1-4 against them, so we’ve got to come up with a better plan of how to beat Oklahoma State. And Oklahoma.”