Just when everybody thought that Texas was back, the Longhorns actually weren't. No, this was not a brainfart of epic proportions, as someone had to lose a Red River for the ages between No. 3 Texas and No. 12 Oklahoma. A controversial defensive pass interference set up the greatest throw of Dillon Gabriel's college career up to this point. OU should skyrocket into the top 10 after this upset victory.
Although Oklahoma controls its own destiny after a thrilling 34-30 win in Dallas, it is far too soon to cross off Texas from meaningful College Football Playoff conversations entirely. The Longhorns may fall outside of the top 10 by this time tomorrow, but look for them to be around No. 8 or so, which is very much still in the playoff conversation. Yes, they are still in the mix, but how hard of a climb is it?
The good news for the Longhorns is Oklahoma will probably be the best team they play all season. They also have a signature win from way back in Week 2 over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, the Longhorns may not have another ranked team coming up on their schedule. They might get one, maybe two more if they are lucky, before potentially setting up a rematch with Oklahoma in Arlington.
Texas still has to play at Houston, home vs. BYU, home vs. Kansas State, at TCU, at Iowa State and home vs. Texas Tech to end the regular season. As long as Texas goes 11-1 (8-1), they should be fine.
College Football Playoff: Can Texas still make the four-team field?
For Texas to realistically make the playoff, the Longhorns need to win out, get to 11-1 (8-1) and win the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington. Their opponent in that title bout can be anyone, but if it is Oklahoma, then even better. The Selection Committee really likes seeing teams avenge early-season losses in conference title bouts. Of course, there is a chance the Big 12 could be left out, too.
For all intents and purposes, the Big Ten and SEC champions will be getting in, so long as those two teams have one or fewer losses. As for the ACC and Pac-12, an undefeated Power Five champion is getting in over a one-loss Big 12 champion Texas team, especially if the Longhorns do not get a rematch with OU in Arlington. If they win the Big 12 with one loss, they get in, but may need help.
Ultimately, the Selection Committee is not going to crucify Texas for losing this game. At the very least, it is a high-quality loss vs. your arch nemesis that went down to the wire. These sort of things happen. However, there is no margin for error left for Texas in a four-team playoff field. It sorts itself out, as it always does. For now, Texas is still arguably good enough to make the playoff this season.
Once again, having a chance to play in a conference championship serves a team like Texas here.