With Oklahoma’s 39-27 win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game, the Sooners are now in wait-and-see mode when it comes to their postseason fate.
Assuming Alabama and Ohio State — both favored by double digits — win their respective conference title games tonight, the decision for the College Football Playoff committee seems to be between Oklahoma and Ohio State for the fourth and final spot. Oklahoma was No. 5 in the most recent CFP rankings, while Ohio State was No. 6. SportsDay’s Chuck Carlton and Ben Baby state the cases for each team:
The case for Oklahoma: Chuck Carlton
While Oklahoma may create more debate than any other College Football Playoff contender, there’s no mystery with the Sooners.
OU is as obvious as Kyler Murray putting up video game numbers or a defense that can turn missed tackles into an art form.
The question is, what do you do with such a team? The answer is simple: Put them in the playoffs.
This may or may not be news to some of the old-school coaches on the CFP selection committee, but offense is now driving football, not only at the college level but the NFL, as well. Nobody does it better this season than Oklahoma and Murray.
The Sooners came into the Big 12 title game with at least 45 points in their last eight games and had at least 500 yards in every conference game. They have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher (Kennedy Brooks) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb).
Of course, there’s the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad defense. We get it. But so far it’s cost Oklahoma just once, and the Sooners evened the score Saturday at AT&T Stadium against Texas.
If you’re thinking playoffs, Oklahoma’s offense can keep it in most every game. Army held the Sooners in check but did it holding onto the ball for 44 minutes with the triple option. And Iowa State (37) was the only Big 12 team to keep the Sooners under 45 — and Matt Campbell’s group plays real defense.
You know what you’re going to get with Oklahoma, a remarkable team on one side of the football. With Ohio State, you might as well shake a Magic 8 Ball. Is this the team that looked capable of big things by destroying Michigan? Or the team that lost by 29 to Purdue (6-6), which would stand as the worst loss of any team to make the CFP field ever?
The Sooners should be in the field come Sunday.
The case for Ohio State: Ben Baby
When the College Football Playoff committee convenes in Grapevine to pick this year’s semifinalists, the panel will have to answer a key question.
Is Oklahoma, a team that allowed 40 points to Kansas, really one of the four best teams in the country? Probably not.
In addition to being the more well-rounded team, Ohio State deserves the No. 4 spot over Oklahoma because of the better résumé. Sure, the Buckeyes’ loss to Purdue is a lot worse than Oklahoma’s lone defeat to Texas. But Ohio State has the better victory.
In the final week of the regular season, Ohio State went into the Big House and dropped 62 points on a Michigan defense that was allegedly one of the best in the country.
At the time, Michigan was slotted into the fourth and final playoff spot. Even after the 62-39 drubbing, Michigan should be a top-10 team in the final ranking.
Given where Texas and West Virginia were ranked to enter championship weekend (14th and 16th, respectively), the Sooners’ won’t have a signature win on their schedule.
Anyway, let’s get back to the Oklahoma defense. The Sooners were 111th in the country in yards allowed per game. Ohio State was 68th.
The massive gap between the schools doesn’t exist in the offensive metrics. While Oklahoma’s offense leads the country in total offense, Ohio State is second at 543.9 yards per game. Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins has posted comparable numbers to the likes of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
And it’s not like Oklahoma’s vaunted offense was helping the Sooners demolish teams. Five of their first 11 victories came by 10 points or fewer — including a seven-point win over Army.
What Ohio State did against Michigan is a testament to how well the Buckeyes were playing in November.
They have a strong case to jump Oklahoma and make another trip to the playoff.
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