The final tally is in. And so is Oklahoma. The Sooners are in the College Football Playoff.
OU is seeded fourth and will face top seed Clemson in a national semifinal game New Year’s Eve in the Capital One Orange Bowl in Miami.
The Sooners dropped from three to four in the final CFB Playoff rankings released Sunday.
Second seed Alabama will meet three seed Michigan State in the other semifinal matchup December 31st at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas at Jerry World.
The Sooners earned their way in with a Big12 championship and 11-1 record, winning seven straight games after a surprising loss to Texas in Dallas.
Huge accomplishment for Oklahoma, after last year’s disastrous 8-5 season that saw Bob Stoops make several changes to his coaching staff in the wake of the most scrutiny he’s ever faced since taking over in Norman.
Stoops reloaded with walk on quarterback Baker Mayfield leading the way back to national prominence for the program.
After the debacle in Dallas, the Sooners rediscovered their running game, started tackling again on defense, and watched the charismatic Mayfield make a ton of big plays to help win the conference title.
OU was also fortunate. Their QB stayed healthy (with the exception of a scary half against TCU) while other league signal callers fell due to injury.
Good teams usually get breaks and Oklahoma got its share.
The Sooners will face a Clemson team that dominated them 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl last year with a backup quarterback.
The Tigers, winners of the ACC, will have a healthy Deshaun Watson at QB this time, and are coming off a win over North Carolina in their league championship game.
The Sooners are 2-2 all time vs Clemson.
OU beat the Tigers twice in the 60s and 70s, but have lost the last two meetings against Clemson, both in bowl games.
Should be a great matchup, especially since the Sooners are facing their old defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, for the second straight year.
This is a vastly different OU team than the one that got waylaid by Clemson last year.
That Sooner team had given up.
This OU squad has very little give up, with the possible exception of that bizarre showing against Texas.
Oklahoma is rolling and confident. Mayfield has transformed the team.
Good enough to beat Clemson and play for the national championship in Phoenix January 11th?
We’ll see. New Year’s Eve comes first. And the Sooners had better be ‘rockin.