After the No. 7 Texas Longhorns beat the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Big 12 Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, 49-21, head coach Steve Sarkisian offered a sober assessment of his program’s chances of making the College Football Playoffs for the first time.
“This isn’t a vote. We don’t all get to go to the election booth and vote, so it’s in their hands. All we can do is, like we told the players, control what we can control, let’s play the best football we could, and I thought we did that today and hopefully put in their minds what would it look like if Texas was in a four-team playoff,” said Sarkisian as he made the case for the Horns.
On Sunday morning at approximately 11:15 a.m. Central, the College Football Playoff committee will make their votes public, determining the four teams that will play for the national championship. The selections for the New Year’s Six games come out at 2:30 p.m. Central.
History isn’t on the side of Texas — in the relatively brief CFP era, no team ranked lower than No. 6 in the penultimate rankings has ever earned one of those four bids.
Friday’s result in the Pac-12 Championship game did favor the Longhorns as the No. 3 Huskies held on against the No. 5 Ducks in a 34-31 win that eliminated Oregon from consideration and locked up a slot for Washington.
But while the Horns controlled what they could control on Saturday with the convincing win over the Cowboys, two other crucial results arguably went against Texas.
In Atlanta, No. 8 Alabama upset No. 1 Georgia, 27-24. Beyond the reality that the SEC champion has never missed the playoffs, the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs landed in the playoffs in 2017 and 2021. So it’s difficult to imagine that Georgia and Alabama could miss the playoffs even with the Dawgs losing and the Tide still wearing the home loss to the Horns in September.
So the SEC results present the possibility that the conference could take a second or even third slot.
On Saturday evening, No. 2 Michigan secured its berth with a predictable 26-0 win over No. 16 Iowa. In Tuesday’s rankings, Ohio State remained ahead of Texas despite the previous weekend’s rivalry-game loss, but will presumably drop out of playoff contention.
In the other critical championship game, No. 4 Florida State remained undefeated with an ugly 16-6 win against No. 14 Louisville despite playing with its third-string quarterback. Would the committee keep the Seminoles out due to the unconvincing nature of that win and the season-ending injury to star quarterback Jordan Travis?
Could it come down to the Big 12 champion against the SEC champion for the final berth?
Late on Saturday, here’s how the projections looked:
- FOX projected a top four of Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama.
- DraftKings set the odds of Texas winning the national championship at +380, second highest in the field, and at -400 to make the playoffs.
- 247Sports projected the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl as the No. 3 seed against the Huskies as the No. 2 seed with the Wolverines as the top seed playing the Seminoles.
- CBS Sports also matched up Texas and Michigan in the Rose Bowl with the SEC missing out.
- The Athletic wrote that the committee needs to exclude the SEC.
- Brett McMurphy has the Horns and Huskies in the Sugar Bowl with the Seminoles out.
How to watch
Time: 11:00 a.m. Central