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Beyond the Fort: Horns down and another dose of playoff rankings

Things are starting to get interesting within the Big 12 entering the final three weekends of the regular season.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Bethany Hocker-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s just about time for the Horned Frogs to travel down those country roads this weekend in an attempt to knock off CFP No. 9 West Virginia at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W. Va.. What is just TCU football’s second out-of-state road trip all season is a prime chance for the Frogs to wreak havoc in both the Big 12 and College Football Playoff picture — though that will be easier said than done with a depleted secondary (TCU is down “seven safeties,” as Gary Patterson remarked Tuesday) going up against Will Grier and one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.

Speaking of which, one of West Virginia’s stars on offense created a bit of controversy — harmless controversy at that — during the Mounainteers’ wild 42-41 victory at Texas last Saturday. And that’s a perfect note start things off on for this week’s edition of Beyond the Fort.

Horns down....and an unhappy quarterback on the Forty Acres

If West Virginia does win the Big 12 and crack the College Football Playoff, the play everybody will remember from the Texas game is Grier’s successful two-point conversion attempt as the Mountaineers opted to go for the win rather than settle for overtime with less than a minute left on the game clock.

And then there was the play way back in the first half, when wide receiver David Sills decided to throw up the one hand sign that was bound to tick off all 100,000-plus Texas fans on hand at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium after hauling in a 60 yard touchdown pass.

Horns down.

There were a lot of unhappy campers in burnt orange, alright. Among them: quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who later to Twitter to voice his opinion via a since-deleted tweet. Let’s just say the ratio — many replies coming from Oklahoma fans — didn’t fare well for Ehlinger before he opted to take it down.

Some folks in Norman even went the extra mile in poking fun at Ehlinger’s remarks amid a week that was dominated by the nation’s mid-term elections.

And that was that. Nonetheless, tension would be aplenty if Texas and West Virginia were to endure a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 1. A lot of things will have go right for the Longhorns in order for that to happen, but hey, it’s not out of the question just yet.

Anyways, if you wanted your Big 12 controversy of the week, congratulations: you got it.

Big 12 holding on to playoff hopes

While the Big 12 still doesn’t necessarily control its own destiny when it comes to making the College Football Playoff for a second straight season — something which the conference has never once achieved — there might be that much more light at the end of the tunnel with latest rankings on Tuesday. West Virginia has now joined Oklahoma in the top 10, with Mountaineers moving up to No. 9 while the Sooners checked in at No. 6.

So, the odds that either team makes it in? The obvious first step: run the table and win the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma is in far better shape as one of the five teams above the Sooners has to lose before the final rankings (No. 5 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama are locked in for the SEC Championship Game), though a second loss of the season for the Bulldogs would be far more beneficial than a first and only loss for a currently undefeated Crimson Tide. Beyond that, Oklahoma fans should be cheering for Ohio State to defeat No. 4 Michigan, assuming that win wouldn’t propel the No. 10 Buckeyes past the Sooners if both finish as one loss conference champions.

Additional chaos will likely be needed for West Virginia to make the playoff with 8 teams currently ahead of them, but anything can happen in November. Still, head coach Dana Holgorsen, for one, isn’t ready to talk about the playoff just yet.

And not to be overlooked: The Mountaineers host the Sooners in the final week of the regular season for what could be a battle of one-loss teams fighting for playoff hopes. And the even wilder part? The loser could play spoiler the following week if there’s a rematch in the Big 12 title game. So buckle up.