The Longhorns positioned themselves to crash the College Football Playoff party. Now that the ‘Horns won in convincing fashion 49-21 over the Cowboys, here are the scenarios Texas is now facing.
How Texas Can Make College Football Playoff
Even after Washington held off Oregon 34-31 Friday to snatch the Pac-12 title, seven teams are still in the mix for the CFP four. Texas is one of those teams.
The Longhorns, though, unfortunately, don’t control their own destiny.
With the Big 10, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference all having one unbeaten representative in its title games later, the likes of 12-0 Michigan, Georgia, and Florida State need to win Saturday and get an automatic berth. But here are the scenarios that factor the Longhorns’ way outside of just securing the conference championship.
SEC title game: Texas is in a position where the ‘Horns are likely cheering for Alabama — the same Crimson Tide team they beat earlier in the season. By winning the earlier battle, Texas holds the proverbial tiebreaker against ‘Bama.
Big Ten championship: If the Wolverines get stunned by Iowa and Texas wins, this raises the Longhorns’ chances of possibly getting in the CFB Playoffs. A Michigan loss moves Texas closer to the top four.
ACC title contest: Same scenario. Louisville would have to knock off the unbeaten Seminoles for Texas to have any fighting chance in breaking into the final four for college football.
Overall, one of the three remaining unbeatens losing Saturday lifts the Longhorns’ playoff hopes. But if all three end up falling, Texas will jump to the fourth slot.
Another aspect that helps Texas is style points and strength of schedule — two elements that appeal to the CFB postseason committee. Texas owns three wins over ranked foes — two in conference play by beating No. 24 Kansas and No. 23 Kansas State. But the Longhorns’ biggest win was over then-No. 3 Alabama…which really increases their chances of entering the top four.
Where the Longhorns Stand Now
Texas is currently slotted in seventh. That was before taking on the Cowboys.
But there’s a strong chance Texas can move past No. 6 Ohio State by beating Oklahoma State. In addition to the Buckeyes, the Longhorns can leapfrog No. 5 Oregon with a win. The Ducks officially got knocked out of the CFB playoff race by losing to the Huskies and will now await if they earn a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Texas couldn’t afford a letdown in the Big 12 title game. Especially considering what happened to one Lonestar State team before. One year ago, Texas Christian rolled through the regular season undefeated before falling to Kansas State in the conference title game. Fortunately for the Horned Frogs, additional help got them into the Fiesta Bowl for the postseason, then eventually advanced to the national championship.
In the case of Texas, any sort of help from Alabama, Iowa or Louisville now gets them to Pasadena or New Orleans after taking care of business in Arlington.