At No. 5 in the next-to-last College Football Playoff rankings, Oklahoma doesn’t control its postseason destiny.
That said, the Sooners are in a far better place than a week ago. Ohio State’s thrashing of Michigan rearranged the CFP standings and the dynamic for the regular season’s final week.
The simplest scenario: If No. 1 Alabama beats No. 4 Georgia in the SEC title game and Oklahoma and Ohio State win their respective conference title games (Big 12 and Big Ten), then the committee has a big choice to make ahead of Sunday’s final rankings reveal from Grapevine. Oklahoma and Ohio State have to root against a Georgia upset that would almost certainly put the Bulldogs in the playoffs and leave one-loss Alabama as an option for the committee after a dominant regular-season.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley isn’t focused on scenarios after the Sooners have made the CFP two of the last three years.
“If we’ve learned anything,” Riley told ESPN, “it’s we understand that you have to keep winning.”
Selection committee chairman Rob Mullens noted that the Sooners have a “historic offense.” OU is ranked No. 1 in scoring (50.3) and total offense (583.8 yards per game).
“When you look at the numbers, while their defense has been a challenge, their offense has been superior,” Mullens said.
Plus Oklahoma’s only defeat is by three points to Texas on a neutral site and can be avenged Saturday at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State loss by 29 points at Purdue (6-6).
Don’t read too much into the rankings. TCU was ahead of Ohio State and ranked No. 3 going into the final weekend in 2014, won by 52 and was passed when the Buckeyes obliterated Wisconsin 59-0.
Here are a few more takeaways from Tuesday’s rankings:
— Mullens said Oklahoma has a “little bit” stronger strength of schedule than Ohio State on the committee’s metric. He said the committee views OU’s 25-point win over TCU and Ohio State’s 12-point win over the Horned Frogs as comparable.
— No. 14 Texas saw its bowl path narrow. If the Longhorns beat Oklahoma, they will be headed to the Sugar Bowl. A loss might be problematic if Oklahoma goes to the playoff and with West Virginia at No. 16. Would the selection committee move the Mountaineers ahead of Texas and thus into the Sugar Bowl?
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