For the first time since 2014, Oklahoma State has beaten rival Oklahoma in Bedlam. The Cowboys couldn’t have picked a better year to finally break the losing streak.
With its 37-33 win over the Sooners, Oklahoma State not only eliminated the Sooners from Big 12 championship contention, but also kept alive its hopes of making its first College Football Playoff. A win over No. 8 Baylor in the conference championship game would set the team up to become the first Big 12 team — other than the Sooners — to challenge for the biggest prize in the sport.
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Considering Saturday’s games were in the penultimate weekend of the regular season, several other playoff-eligible teams watched the action unfold in Stillwater with great interest. Chief among them were Baylor, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. With the Cowboys’ win, the playoff picture becomes a little clearer as it heads into conference championship weekend.
With that, here’s what Oklahoma State’s win over Oklahoma should mean in the latest set of College Football Playoff rankings:
Rankings reflect Week 13 College Football Playoff top 25
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Previous rank: 3
Alabama remains alive in the College Football Playoff race after taking Auburn’s best shot, but a 24-22 victory after four overtimes guarantees the Crimson Tide will remain in the top four — if not No. 3 in the country — heading into conference championship weekend. The Cowboys likely won’t usurp Alabama in the penultimate rankings, but that could change following the conference title games. The formula remains the same: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re out.
Previous rank: 4
The Bearcats may have preferred the Sooners to win on Saturday, then turn around and lose to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championship game. As it stands now, Cincinnati should remain No. 4 in the country after its 35-13 Friday night win over ECU. Here’s what Luke Fickell and Co. are looking to happen on conference championship weekend: A win over No. 24 Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship; a win by No. 1 Georgia over No. 3 Alabama in the SEC championship; and a win by No. 8 Baylor over No. 7 Oklahoma State in the Big 12. If two of those things happen next weekend (one has to be a Bearcats win) then it’d be hard to keep this team out of the playoff.
Previous rank: 5
No team had a bigger win on Saturday than Michigan, which in beating No. 2 Ohio State 42-27 not only secured a Big Ten championship game berth but also relieved nine years’ worth of anguish at the hands of the Buckeyes. The Wolverines will almost certainly be the No. 2 team in the next set of rankings, meaning they will play one of either Cincinnati, Notre Dame or Oklahoma State in the playoff semifinal game if they can beat Iowa in the Big Ten championship. For now, the Wolverines will revel in their victory in “The Game.”
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Notre Dame (11-1)
Previous rank: 6
Notre Dame left nothing up to chance in a 45-14 win over rival Stanford to end its season. The only thing the Fighting Irish can do at this point is wait and see if enough chaos can create a playoff opening. The question becomes whether the selection committee moves the Fighting Irish up one spot to replace the Wolverines — which should move up to No. 2 in the latest rankings — or if the Cowboys jump them. Oklahoma State had the more impressive win, but Notre Dame had a considerably larger margin of victory. The next set of rankings could greatly inform what the selection committee does following championship weekend.
Oklahoma State (11-1)
Previous rank: 7
Oklahoma State won Bedlam and a shot at the Big 12 championship in a rematch vs. No. 8 Baylor. A win in AT&T Stadium on Saturday will give the Cowboys a fantastic resume heading into bowl season: a 12-1 record, Big 12 championship and wins over top-10 teams in two weeks while their biggest playoff competition, Notre Dame, beat a weak Stanford team and then didn’t play. The future is still in front of Mike Gundy and Co., but they would still prefer to see Alabama lose next week to Georgia, removing any possibility the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs could both sneak in from the SEC. A Michigan loss in Lucas Oil Stadium would be similarly beneficial for Oklahoma State.
Previous rank: 10
Oklahoma State is now the only team from the Big 12 that can challenge for the College Football Playoff. What’s next for the Sooners? A New Year’s Day 6 bowl is certainly on the table, potentially in the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. But the Sooners’ championship aspirations are over. Look for them to fall several spots — potentially to No. 14 overall — in the latest set of rankings.