The first College Football Playoff Rankings have been released and it's time to talk about the "Final Four." You're probably thinking the NCAA "Final Four" featuring the likes of LSU, Clemson and Ohio State and of course Alabama (they could be winless and still be in it right?) but you would be wrong. We need to discuss the Big 12 "Final Four", TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, who make up the Big 12 Playoffs that start Saturday.
We keep hearing, "If Oklahoma State can win out they'll be in the playoff". Which is true, but first the Cowboys must run the gauntlet that is the Big 12 Playoffs. Win against TCU and you live to play another playoff game, lose and the road becomes all but closed. Sure, the team could still win out and have a shot to win the conference but they lose control of their own destiny, especially when it comes to the national picture. See Big 12, 2014.
After the first rankings revealed a "Final Four" featuring no Big 12 teams, there was some up-roar from the Big 12 community of fans. A "here we go again" type of attitude. After last seasons debacle you can't really blame them. The schedule sets up beautifully for a ton of national attention over the next month but if the contenders all take each other out it could spell trouble for the Big 12 again.
If you're sitting in the Cowboys chair you have to like the way things have played out thus far. You're undefeated, battle-tested and seemingly hitting your offensive stride with a two-headed monster at quarterback that should give any defensive coordinator fits. Your defense is one of the best in school history and your coordinator is borderline genius with his halftime adjustments. Oh, and you have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. That's right, all the other contenders have to travel to your field to win the league.
Here's hoping Gundy conjures up Jim Mora when asked about the Cowboys National Playoff chances:
"What's that? Ah - Playoffs? Don't talk about - playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win all our Big 12 games." - Gundy, probably.
So, for the Cowboys it's simple, win the Big 12 Playoffs. They start Saturday in Stillwater.