For the Oklahoma Sooners, championships are the expectation. Winning a Big 12 championship for a fourth consecutive year is considered a successful season. However, a chance at playing for a national championship is a goal this team has had in front of them since the beginning of the season. On the heels of their 51-46 victory over Texas Tech, the Sooners are ranked at number six in this weeks college football playoff rankings. The Oklahoma Sooners playoff path is not without challenges. Today, we look at a few things that much happen for Oklahoma to reach the final four for the third time in four years.
First and foremost, the Sooners need to win out. Another loss will seal the playoff fate for Oklahoma. The Sooners will host Oklahoma State and Kansas before traveling to Morgantown to face West Virginia. Winning and winning with style is important. But, that’s not always easy in the high octane offenses of the Big 12 conference. In the next two week, the Sooner defense must show improvement. A dominant performance against Oklahoma State in the Bedlam matchup this weekend is a must.
West Virginia and Iowa State are your friends
All wins and losses aren’t counted the same. Timing is always key. Different from the national scene, it benefits Oklahoma to see those teams to keep winning. With West Virginia checking in at number nine in this weeks rankings, wins against TCU and Oklahoma State will ensure a top 10 matchup to close the regular season. Oklahoma would likely benefit nationally from a road win over the top seven Mountaineers.
Comparatively, Iowa State needs to continue winning as well. The Cyclones host Baylor, play at Texas, and then entertain Kansas to end the year. If both Oklahoma and Iowa State run the table, it will set up a matchup between the two in the Big 12 championship game. If Iowa State stumbles, Oklahoma would face West Virginia in back to back weeks. The Sooners would likely not get much benefit from defeating a team twice in as many weeks.
But, who should I cheer for?
Oklahoma is in the unenvious position of not controlling their own destiny. However, it’s not as dire as some might think. The Sooners would conceivably only need a couple of things to happen outside of winning out to make a playoff.
Alabama needs to win out
This is difficult, I know. But, Sooner fans everywhere should be the biggest Tide fans in the world over the rest of the season. Alabama has three consecutive home games to finish the year. They host Mississippi State, The Citadel, and Auburn to finish the regular season. Then, they will play Georgia in the SEC championship game. A clean sweep the rest of the way guarantees that the SEC will only have one participant in the playoffs.
The Golden Domers need a loss
Notre Dame is a bit of a surprise to the playoff talk this season. But, they are currently in prime position to take one of the playoff spots from a Power Five conference. However, the Fighting Irish aren’t out of the woods just yet. Notre Dame welcomes Florida State to South Bend before playing Syracuse in Yankee stadium and finishes off with a clash against USC in the Coliseum. Syracuse was very close to defeating Clemson early in the year. They could very well finish the job against the Irish. USC has been inconsistent this season, but they have played well at home defeating Colorado at full strength as well as handing Washington State their only loss.
A Two-Loss Big 10 Champ?
This one is certainly debatable. One thing is for certain is that Oklahoma needs a Michigan loss. The Wolverines are one of the hottest teams in college football right now. And, they do have a pretty favorable schedule. Michigan travels to Rutgers and hosts Indiana before the big one. Michigan will travel to the horseshoe to face Ohio State. This has been the biggest stumbling block for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. He has yet to defeat Ohio State as the head ball coach for Michigan.
Now, here is where the conversation gets a little more interesting. This is assuming a one-loss Big 12 champion in Oklahoma vs a one-loss Big 10 champion in Ohio State. On one hand, Oklahoma probably would have the better loss in Texas vs Purdue. Meanwhile, Ohio State would have the better win in Michigan vs West Virginia. Let the debate begin?
Let’s Summarize, Please
First of all, there’s a lot of football left to be played. This is a violent game played by powerful young men. Young being the operative word. We have an idea of what might happen as we put these scenarios in place. But, crazy things can happen in Championship November. Oklahoma must continue to play championship level football to put them in position. And, they will need a few things to go their way in order to make a playoff push. One thing is for certain, the ride will be one that you won’t want to miss.