Following a decisive victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Oklahoma Sooners debut at No. 11 in this season’s first College Football Playoff rankings. This is a little higher than I expected for the Sooners, but it’s tough to argue that OU isn’t playing some of the best (and most complete!) football in the country at the moment.
Let’s take a look at the teams ranked ahead of OU:
- Miami could very easily lose to North Carolina Dec. 12.
- Two-loss Georgia will likely have trouble moving up due to its lack of remaining quality opponents and its absence from the SEC Championship game.
- Northwestern is going to be Ohio State’s sacrificial lamb in the Big Ten Championship.
- With Cincinnati being a G5, it can’t afford a single loss if it wants to stay ahead of any P5 conference champion.
- Florida is legit, but the Gators will more than likely lose to Alabama, making them a two-loss team without a conference championship.
- Texas A&M also looks solid (yes, it pains me to say it) and won’t have to lose in the SEC Championship game, but Jimbo Fisher has three more opportunities to screw this up before the final rankings are released.
- This leaves the presumptive final quartet of Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. Let’s say that Alabama and Ohio State run the table and get in. In this instance, the only real CFP drama comes down to the division-less ACC Championship game between Clemson and Notre Dame. If Clemson wins, Clemson and Notre Dame basically just flip playoff seeds. If Notre Dame hands Clemson a second loss, do the Tigers stay ahead of a two-loss, Big 12 champion Oklahoma team? The committee could prioritize quality losses over a conference crown, but would Oklahoma be the option that makes a bit more sense? Would the committee include a team that has already lost to one of the participants (Notre Dame) twice? Would the committee take into account the early-season absences of Ronnie Perkins and Rhamondre Stevenson? It would be an interesting discussion, to be sure.
- Having said all of this, too much has to happen for OU to backdoor its way into the CFP. What I’m realistically hoping for is a decisive revenge victory over Iowa State in Arlington followed by a nice win over an SEC team in the Cotton Bowl. That sounds like some nice offseason momentum to me.