The Oklahoma Sooners survived a pretty big scare on Saturday night as the Oklahoma State Cowboys missed a PAT and subsequently failed on a two-point conversion. The Sooners remain among the ranks of the one-loss teams, but how will the playoff selection committee see them now?
Oklahoma doesn’t necessarily play complete football. As explosive as the Sooners’ offense is with Kyler Murray at the helm, the defense really struggles to keep opponents off the scoreboard. Oklahoma ranks 67th in the nation in total defense by giving up 394.4 yards per game. Some believe that should disqualify the Sooners from the College Football Playoff.
On Sunday, 247Sports’ Barton Simmons discussed how Oklahoma stacks up with the current top four teams in the country on the 247Sports College Football Podcast. While many see the lack of defense in Norman as a huge detriment to the Sooners’ playoff chances, Simmons doesn’t necessarily agree with that. Teams that have great defenses and stagnant offenses don’t typically get penalized for it, so why should teams like Oklahoma get dinged for the opposite being true?
“I’m done with the conversation of, ‘Notre Dame should be in the four because they deserve it, but I still think Oklahoma is better.’ I don’t necessarily think Oklahoma is better,” Simmons said. “I am still compelled to believe that Oklahoma is not a team that anyone else in the playoffs wants in the playoffs. They still don’t want to play that Oklahoma team. I still think that Oklahoma team is capable of beating anyone. For whatever reason, I feel like winning the way Oklahoma is winning is looked down upon in a way that if Michigan was beating teams 14-3 and holding them to 112 yards on offense and only putting up 315 yards of their own offense, but man that defense. I feel like, for some reason, that gets more playoff respect. But I don’t that should be the case. I feel like, Oklahoma, this is who they are. They’re going to outscore people. I don’t think that means they’re a top four team.”
The Oklahoma offense could make life difficult for even the country’s best defenses, but the Sooners likely didn’t do themselves any favors with a win over the now 5-5 Cowboys. Most people will say that a win is a win, but when there are a handful of one-loss teams vying for one spot in the College Football Playoff, a close win over an average opponent doesn’t look great. Simmons believes that Oklahoma may have cost itself a playoff berth over the weekend.
“They’ve sort of already blown my scenario that I’ve presented that they start winning sexy and jump a one-loss team,” Simmons said. “If you’re going to nearly lose to Oklahoma State, you’ve sort of cashed that ticket.”
The Sooners get Kansas this weekend, and that should be a relatively easy victory. However, Oklahoma goes on the road to top 10 West Virginia after that. The Sooners will have to win out and take home another Big 12 title in order to keep any hope of making the playoff alive.