clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is there a path for Oklahoma State to make the College Football Playoff?

Forecasting the Cowboys playoff chances with their huge Big 12 title game upcoming.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma State Cowboys had Thanksgiving week off, yet not playing didn't prevent them from dropping in the AP rankings for week 14. With just one game remaining in its season, Oklahoma State is going to find it incredibly hard to reach the College Football Playoff even with a Big 12 conference championship.

First comes OSU's responsibility: defeating Oklahoma for the Big 12 title. The game is on the road in Norman, and it would double as the Cowboys' best victory of the year if they pull it off. Though they have won just twice in the last 13 games against the Sooners, the last two games in Norman went to overtime. Defeating a top-10 team on the road would boost Oklahoma State's resume by a healthy amount. With seven consecutive wins (becoming eight with the conference title) and four straight game scores above 70, OSU is also playing extremely well, which is something the committee always favors heading into the end of the year.

It is also important to remember that, though OSU has two losses on its resume, it didn't really lose two games. The loss to Central Michigan back in September should have been a victory if the referees didn't screw up the outcome. How much weight the playoff committee will give to that "loss" remains to be seen. Either way, it wasn't great that the Cowboys played Central Michigan that close to begin with. Outside of the college playoff, the Big 12 has deals with seven bowl games.

That brings us back to Oklahoma State's playoff chances. Because of a weak out-of-conference schedule, there hadn't been a lot to boost this team up as it made its way nearly undefeated through the Big 12. It's why it always remained ranked behind multiple Big Ten and even Pac-12 teams. The Big 12 as a whole wasn't respected as much as the other conferences, and with no out-of-conference wins to hold their hat on, the Cowboys wallowed away, ranked in the teens.

One more win over a great opponent will boost OSU up to the highest point it has been at all season, but it will need a lot of help. The largest issue is that three of the playoff spots are likely taken by non-Big-12 teams no matter what: a Big Ten team, even if it isn't the conference champion, will get a playoff spot. In fact, two Big Ten schools may get spots since Ohio State cannot win the conference.

A Pac-12 team, whether it ends up being Washington or Colorado, is going to finish ahead of the Cowboys. Then there's 12-0, 8-0 Alabama. The Crimson Tide could probably lose the SEC championship and still finish in the top four nationally. That is how much of a lead they have built up.

So if three spots are already taken, Oklahoma State's chances, and the chances of the Big 12 in general, fall on the ACC. Clemson could lose the ACC championship to Virginia Tech. If that happened, no ACC team would make the playoff, opening the door for someone, potentially a 10-2 Oklahoma State.