FORT WORTH — Oklahoma would be all but a lock for the College Football Playoff with an 11-1 record and sole ownership of first place in the Big 12 at this point in any of the past three seasons.
With the return of the Big 12 Championship Game, however, nothing is secured for the Sooners just yet. They’ll first have to work their way past Gary Patterson and No. 11 TCU for a second time this season in Arlington, Texas on Saturday.
And that’s just the irony: The return of the game which the Big 12 pushed so hard for — as a playoff boost — is now the only thing threatening to keep the Big 12 out of the playoff for the third time in four seasons.
Patterson, speaking at his weekly press conference, was well aware of what is at stake for his opponent on Saturday as the title game returns for the first time since 2010.
“Oklahoma doesn’t need the extra game — they have more to lose than we do,” Patterson said. “You can play us close in the eyes of people or lose to us and in either direction have a chance to fall out of the [top] 4.”
Oklahoma was in an identical situation in 2015 when there was no Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners finished 11-1 en route to the only appearance by a Big 12 team in the brief history of the playoff.
TCU was less fortunate a year prior. The Horned Frogs finished 11-1, but were declared co-Big 12 champions with 11-1 Baylor. The lack of a “13th data point” ultimately cost the Horned Frogs a spot in the inaugural playoff, dropping from No. 3 to No. 6 in the final week.
Patterson added that he believes an Oklahoma victory is the Big 12’s best chance at the playoff in 2017, but his “obligation is to get TCU to win this game” — even if costing the conference a playoff spot.
The Sooners and Horned Frogs will kick off at 11:30 a.m. CT on Dec. 2. AT&T Stadium hosted the previous two Big 12 Championship Games in 2009 and 2010.
The post Gary Patterson weighs in on Oklahoma’s playoff chances entering Big 12 title game appeared first on Diehards.
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