Oklahoma was viewed as the class of the Big 12 and a strong candidate to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff but after losing to Iowa State, what’s this mean for them and the conference?
Iowa State beat a top-five opponent on the road for the first time in program history in their 38-31 win over Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma. It’s a stunning loss that also snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Sooners. It’s a signature win for head coach Matt Campbell as he tries to build the program up into a consistent bowl team, but that’s where the good news ends for the rest of the Big 12.
The College Football Playoff already views the Big 12 differently than the other Power 5 conferences and that resulted in the conference adding a conference championship game at the end of the season to help their chances of getting in the four-team playoff.
Oklahoma is already out. They could finish with one-loss and they would be ranked below other one-loss teams because it’s highly unlikely any of them will have a loss as ugly as Oklahoma’s. For example, Georgia or Alabama may not win the SEC despite having one loss, but both would be highly attractive teams over Oklahoma. The same can be said for USC if they run the table with their lone blemish on the road vs. a very good Washington State team.
It’s hard to envision any scenario where the Sooners sneak in, but what does this mean for the rest of the Big 12?
First, it hurts Oklahoma State because they really needed to beat an undefeated Oklahoma team and win the conference after losing to TCU. Their chance for a marquee rivalry win is lessened because that win won’t hold as much weight.
Second, TCU is the surprise team of the year and has climbed to No. 8 in the polls. The Horned Frogs host No. 23 West Virginia and lead 7-3 at the time of publishing. TCU needs to beat Oklahoma and win the Big 12. If they run the table, an undefeated conference champion is going to make the dance. Unless, however, there are four other undefeated conference champions. While that is highly unlikely if that does happen, TCU would be the fifth-best conference champion, and therefore, on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, again.
While the loss stings the worst for Oklahoma and Baker Mayfield who is may be out of the Heisman conversation, for the time being, it also has ripple effects that will impact the rest of the Big 12.
Iowa State is fine with that. They’re celebrating the biggest win in program history.