Whoever is up next for the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1), they have their work cut out for them. After slamming the door shut on No. 11 TCU (10-3) in the revived Big 12 championship game on Saturday afternoon, Baker Mayfield and the Sooners should be rolling into the College Football Playoff, and they look as strong as any potential playoff participant may be going in.
Oklahoma’s 41-17 victory over the Horned Frogs was fueled by a fast start in the first quarter and pure dominance in the second half. Mayfield put a cherry on top of his Heisman Trophy campaign with four touchdowns, 243 yards and 65 rushing yards against TCU to lead Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship, the first for Lincoln Riley as a head coach. Rodney Anderson led the ground game with 93 rushing yards on 24 carries and Marquise Brown and Mykel Jones played key roles in the receiving game,. Tight end Mark Andrews was reliable in the red zone as well with a pair of touchdown receptions.
Oklahoma’s defense was the key in the second half, however. TCU was forced to punt four times and had one turnover on downs. Kenny Kill was also picked off in the second half as the Oklahoma defense pitched a shutout after halftime. Hill passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 51 yards in the loss.
Oklahoma will now wait to see what seed they will have in the College Football Playoff. Entering the week No. 3 in the eyes of the selection committee, the Sooners could potentially have made a loud enough statement to be considered for the No. 1 seed, depending on the results in the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten championship games. Regardless of the seeding, it would be highly unlikely for the Sooners to fall out of the top four after a blowout victory in the Big 12 championship game. So Oklahoma fans can start scouting hotels in Pasadena and New Orleans to get prepared for all of their options.
TCU could still manage to get into a New Years Six bowl game, but a 24-point loss for the third loss of the season puts TCU in a tough spot considering some of the other options in play for the New Years Six lineup. For TCU, the Big 12 championship game could hurt their chances of going to a New Years Six bowl game.
The Big 12 Championship Game is finally back, for some reason, and Oklahoma was ready to welcome it back in a big way. The Sooners blew the doors wide open in the first quarter with a 17-0 start, but TCU regained some control of things in the second quarter and we have ourselves a ballgame in Arlington. With the Big 12 title on the line, No. 3 Oklahoma holds a 24-17 lead on No. 11 TCU, setting the stage for a really good second half.
Oklahoma took the game’s opening drive down the field and settled for a field goal to open the scoring. The lead was quickly expanded when Caleb Kelly returned a TCU fumble for a score on the first offensive play for the Horned Frogs.
TCU’s first full offensive possession resulted in a punt, and the Sooners tacked on more points. Baker Mayfield made some plays with his arm and his legs to keep the drive alive and he ended the drive with a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews from five yards out to push Oklahoma out to a 17-0 lead.
TCU finally got things together on offense in the second quarter with Kenny Hill connecting on a 29-yard pass to Jalen Reagor early in the second quarter. Hill again got TCU in the end zone through the air on their next possession with a 12-yard pass to John Diarse. The Sooners responded on the ensuing possession following a solid kickoff return and TCU penalty to work on a shorter field. Mayfield pushed the lead to 24-14 with a six-yard pass to Andrews.
A win for Oklahoma would just about guarantee a spot in the College Football Playoff.
For as much talk as there has been about Oklahoma and even West Virginia when it comes to the Big 12 championship race, it seems No. 11 Oklahoma State has been flying under the radar. That should not be the case after the Cowboys (9-2, 7-1) picked up yet another win in conference play to set themselves up for a chance to clinch the Big 12 title in two weeks. Oklahoma State’s 31-6 victory on the road against TCU (5-5, 304 Big 12) in Fort Worth also keeps Oklahoma state on the radar for a shot at the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 207 yards and a touchdown and picked up two rushing touchdowns, while two running backs (Chris Carson and Justice Hill) went for more than 100 yards on the ground to power the offense by TCU. The defense also frustrated TCU quarterback Kenny Hill with a pair of interceptions, and Hill was little more than a minor threat with his dual-abilities.
Yes, it’s true. The Cowboys do have a slight sliver of hope to reach the College Football Playoff. Considering both the MAC and Big 12 previously basically confirmed Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan never should have happened, Oklahoma State could hope the selection committee gives them a pass for one blemish on their schedule. Oklahoma State may still need some help elsewhere to move up high enough in the next two weeks, but they should very much be in the discussion for the committee moving forward, if they knock off Oklahoma in two weeks.
That will be Oklahoma State’s next game. After a bye week next week, Oklahoma State travels to Norman to play the rival Sooners on December 3. Oklahoma State won the last time they visited Memorial Stadium, with a 38-35 thriller two seasons ago.
TCU still has two games to play, including a road game at Texas on Black Friday next week. TCU will have two games to try and meet the six-win minimum for bowl eligibility.
Skyler Howard threw four touchdowns to help lead No. 12 West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) to a 34-10 victory over TCU (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) in Morgantown on Saturday. The win keeps the Mountaineers perfect on the season and continues to keep them atop the Big 12 standings with some key games still to be played.
West Virginia had a balanced attack on offense against the Horned Frogs. In addition to Howard tossing four touchdowns and passing for 231 yards in the win, running back Rushel Shell rushed for 117 yards. The defense (and special teams) came to play as well, forcing three TCU turnovers, including on the opening kickoff of the game to setup a quick touchdown. It was a rough start for visiting TCU, but they battled back before the game got out of reach in the second half. West Virginia pitched a shutout in the second half, while tacking on 13 points to pull away. TCU was able to convert just one of nine third downs and Kenny Hill averaged just 4.9 yards per pass attempt.
Is there any slowing West Virginia down? Maybe, but when? West Virginia takes their undefeated record on the road next week with a visit to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State. Then comes a home game against Kansas and a road game at Texas. All three are winnable, with only Oklahoma State expected to be the toughest challenge out of that bunch. The key still looks to be the final three games of the season, with home games against Oklahoma and Baylor with a road trip to Iowa State in between.
The Big 12 should be within reach, but could a playoff spot be in sight for West Virginia? The Mountaineers continue to climb their way up the rankings and fly under the radar. If the wins keep coming, that will not be the case for much longer.
TCU will return home next week to try and bounce back when they host Texas Tech.
Looking to prove they are every much worth respecting, West Virginia is off to a good start at home against TCU in Big 12 play this afternoon. The Mountaineers took advantage of a special teams mistake by TCU on the opening kickoff and now hold a 21-10 lead at halftime.
Deante Gray had the ball knocked out of his hands on TCU’s opening kickoff return. West Virginia recovered the loose ball and setup the offense from the TCU 17-yard line. Skyler Howard completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Daikiel Shorts on a third and short for an early 7-0 lead. TCU’s first offensive possession did not last long, with an interception by Rasul Douglas giving West Virginia a second straight offensive opportunity on TCU’s side of the field, but West Virginia missed a field goal on the possession.
Howard completed a second touchdown pass later with a 22-yard play to Shelton Gibson to put West Virginia up 14-0. TCU got on the board on the ensuing possession with a field goal at the end of an 11-play drive. After a three-and-out by the Mountaineers offense, TCU pulled even closer with a 12-play drive capped by a Kenny Hill touchdown pass to Jaelen Austin. West Virginia wasted little time rebuilding the lead with Howard’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time to Gary Jennings.
West Virginia’s Elijah Battle was ejected from the game in the second quarter following the latest in a long string of controversial targeting penalties around college football.