Oklahoma is the College Football Playoff contender no one is talking about
When it comes to the College Football playoff race, there are going to be a lot of crazy hypotheticals thrown out over the next couple weeks.
What happens if Alabama gets upset by Auburn in the Iron Bowl? What if Wisconsin upsets Ohio State or Michigan in the Big Ten West title game? What if Washington loses a game, period?
But there’s one not-so-crazy hypothetical that could very well play itself out: What if Oklahoma wins out and takes home the Big 12 title as an undefeated conference champion?
To quote “Seinfeld” this hypothetical is definitely “real, and it’s spectacular.” It’s also why in a world where so much of the focus is on the Alabama’s, Ohio State’s and Clemson’s of the world, Oklahoma is the College Football Playoff contender that no one is talking about.
Now it obviously goes without saying that even if Oklahoma wins out, there are still a lot of dominoes that would have to fall in their favor. Would the Sooners get an edge over say Washington, if they lose somewhere along the way? As a two-loss conference champ, would the committee favor them over a one-loss team that didn’t win their league, like say, Louisville? Who knows? Only time will tell.
But at this point, what we do know is this: There aren’t many teams in college football hotter than the Sooners right now, following another destruction of a Big 12 team on Saturday.
In this case it was Baylor, and for those who didn’t see the game, Oklahoma absolutely dominated. The Sooners tallied 544 yards in the win and once again proved to be one of the most balanced offenses in college football, with 300 yards passing and 266 on the ground. Both Joe Mixon and Semaje Perine hit the 100-yard rushing mark while Dede Westbrook had his “quietest” game in weeks with only 88 yards and two touchdown grabs.
The game wasn’t as close as the 45-24 final would indicate. The Sooners led 35-10 midway through the third before Baylor got some meaningless scores with backup quarterback Zach Smith in the game.
And with the victory, Oklahoma remains one of the hottest teams in the sport, with six straight wins, including the last three by double-digits. The only game that was truly competitive over that six-game stretch was a sloppy, back-and-forth, defense-optional 66-59 win over Texas Tech. Considering they were facing the most explosive offense in the Big 12 (Tech leads the conference, averaging 46 points per game) I’ll give them a pass on that one. Especially since they got the win.
Looking ahead, it's worth noting that Oklahoma's toughest tests remain. They will travel to West Virginia next week to take on a solid West Virginia club, then get Oklahoma State at home in “Bedlam.”
But for the sake of argument, let’s say they win those next two games, and finish at 10-2 overall, and 9-0 in the Big 12, winning the league, in a true round-robin format. What happens then?
Again, a lot of football has to be played, but from the beginning, the committee has stressed that they value winning your conference over virtually every other measureable. So you’d have to think that the Sooners would have an edge over a one-loss, non-league champion like Louisville, right? Maybe even Michigan, if they were to lose somewhere along the way.
From there, the doubters would point to the two out of conference losses to Houston and Ohio State. That’s a fair point, but the committee has been forthright in discussing how much out of conference scheduling matters, so it would be hypocritical to punish Oklahoma for losing two games to quality teams. Especially when schools like Louisville and Washington didn’t really challenge themselves at all outside of league play.
These are fascinating questions and tough ones that the committee will have to answer in the coming weeks if Oklahoma wins out.
Only time will tell if the Sooners actually do win out, but for now, they remain the College Football Playoff contender no one is talking about.