Can OU lose to Florida State and still play for a national championship?

It's one of the most highly anticipated non-conference match-ups of the 2011-12 football season.  OU vs. FSU is looking like a potential top five battle between a team with serious national title aspirations and a former perennial powerhouse looking to restore their dominant presence.  From an outsider perspective, what Jimbo Fisher has been able to accomplish both on and off the field during his short time as head coach has been very impressive.  There is no arguing that he appears to have put the Seminoles back on that path they were so familiar with during the great times of Bobby Bowden.

FSU players have been very open about the fact that they're coming into this game against the Sooners with a considerably sized chip on their shoulder after last year's blow out loss.  While OU fans have become all too familiar with the issues Stoops' teams have had in recent years outside the friendly confines of Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.  So it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that OU could travel to Tallahassee and come out on the short side of things.  Which leads to the very obvious question of if the Sooners were to lose this game against FSU, could they then still play for a national championship?

The simple answer is yes, absolutely.  Understand this premise is based entirely on the hypothetical that if OU were to lose at FSU, they then go on to run the table and finish with just the one loss.  You also have to assume that there is only one undefeated team and the BCS morons powers that be are forced to choose between several one loss teams.  Clearly things might not necessarily play out in that manner, but let's look at the reasons behind why if it does happen OU would still have an excellent chance to play for a national championship.

  • By all accounts, OU will open the season with a, at worst, top three ranking.  So as we've all learned the higher you start in the preseason, the easier it is stay relevant with respect to a national championship appearance.
  • It's a road game against a top 5-10 team.  If this game were in Norman and not Tallahassee and OU lost, obviously it would look worse on the Sooners resume at the end of the year.  Fair or unfair, they'll simply get more "credit" for a loss on the road than a loss at home.
  • Perhaps the most important and nonsensical part of this scenario is the fact that this game takes place in the third week of the season.  It's early enough and to a highly enough ranked opponent that, even being a loss, it would actually be used in favor of putting a one loss OU squad into a national championship game.  Most CFB fans have never really understood or agreed with the logic that the timing of when you lose being an argument in your favor, that is of course until it helps your team get in over another.

So a one loss OU team, with that lone blemish coming against a top 5-10 team on the road, and wins over potential top 25 teams in Tulsa, Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State would very likely have the best argument of any non-undefeated team to play in NOLA.  

Now obviously this potential problem could very easily be rendered irrelevant if our Sooners just go ahead and win at FSU.  Personally that's how this OU fans sees things playing out, but any OU fan would be lying if they told you they're weren't at least a little worried about the FSU game.  They're an immensely talented team, playing on their home field, in front of what's sure to be a frenzied sell-out crowd, with a serious incentive to avenge a bad loss from 2010.

Sooner fans are expecting (at a minimum?) at least a chance for #8 and with all due respect to Tulsa, that starts with the big time match-up in Tallahassee.  So the question is whether or not #8 is possible, win or lose against FSU. What say you Sooner fans?

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