Oklahoma football: Is Texas’ 2023 Big 12 crown good or bad thing for Oklahoma?

Dec 2, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Detailed view of the WWE Big 12 championship belt worn by Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) after the win against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Detailed view of the WWE Big 12 championship belt worn by Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) after the win against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oklahoma football teams have played in 12 of the 22 Big 12 Championship games and won 11 of them. On Saturday, played in only its sixth Big 12 title game and came away a winner for a fourth and final time.

So with the Sooners and Longhorns leaving for the SEC after this season, the remaining Big 12 teams will probably be happy to see them go. OU and Texas have combined to win 18 of the 28 conference championship trophies awarded by the Big 12.

The Sooners have missed out on the Big 12 Championship game for three straight years, something that hasn’t happened since the late 1990s.

Texas’ 49-21 rout of 18th-ranked Oklahoma State undoubtedly boosted the Longhorns resume for making it into the College Football Playoff for the first time in the CFP era and first national championship opportunity since 2009.  But this season’s Big 12 Championship game between the Longhorns and Cowboys also represented the second worst Power Five title game matchup. Only No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 16 Iowa for the Big Ten crown was a bigger mismatch.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State tied for second in the final Big 12 standings, both with 7-2 records in the conference. But because Oklahoma State defeated the Sooners head-to-head this season, the Cowboys were awarded the spot opposite Texas, a team Oklahoma did beat this season, in the Big 12 Championship. This despite the fact that the Sooners are ranked higher nationally in all three of the major polls (AP, Coaches and College Football Playoff rankings) and have a better overall record (10-2 vs. 9-3).

Texas completely dominated Oklahoma State, producing 35 points and 422 of its 662 total offensive yards in the opening half. The Longhorns finished with 49 points, holding the Big 12’s supposed No. 2 team to 21 points and just 281 yards of offense. OSU’s Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and the nation’s rushing leader, Ollie Gordon, was held to just 34 yards, 129 yards below what he has averaged this season in conference games.

It seems pretty clear that an Oklahoma-Texas matchup would have been a better game and probably more competitive, but it also would have been commissioner Brett Yormark’s and the Big 12 biggest nightmare, with both teams leaving the Big 12 after this season.

Everything about Texas winning, and doing so in dominating fashion, in the Big 12 Championship game only benefits Oklahoma going forward. For one thing, it makes the Sooners’ regular-season win over the Longhorns — their only loss of the season — look even better, with Texas earning a spot in this year’s College Football Playoff. It also boosts Oklahoma’s chances of earning a New Year’s Six bowl bid as the Big 12 legitimate second-best team.

While no Sooner fan will ever admit that Texas winning the Big 12 and getting more national recognition than Oklahoma is a good thing, it actually puts OU in the best position to lay claim to being the next best team in the Big 12. Given how things ultimately turned out in the Big 12 this season — coupled with the Sooners’ four-game improvement over last season — Texas’ success definitely is not a bad thing for Oklahoma.