Another Tuesday, another controversy. But this time, in a twist no one saw coming, the College Football Playoff committee favored the Big 12!
Oklahoma jumped from seventh into the top four, currently sitting at number three. Seemingly in the driver’s seat, all the Sooners have to do is beat Oklahoma State on Saturday and they are in the final four!
Everyone else, not so much.
After scratching and clawing to beat an undermanned TCU squad in Norman without quarterback Baker Mayfield for a half on Saturday by one point, the Sooners are suddenly in the good graces of the Committee. The Big 12, the once red-headed step child that lived in the cupboard under the stairs is now sitting at the big-boy’s table, but there are no trumpets sounding, confetti falling or overly masculine high-fives being shared. Rather, more confusion and more animosity for the Committee.
With last week’s biggest joke being that “…we just feel Iowa is a better team than Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, etc.” the growing thoughts leading up to the most recent rankings were that “Iowa was still a better team and Oklahoma or Notre Dame.” With OU jumping Iowa, Committee Chair and nervous-smiler Jeff Long now claims that “Oklahoma is a better team than undefeated Iowa.”
Does anyone else’s heads hurt?
The bi-polar disorder the Committee seems to have makes predicting, or even following, these rankings difficult. The criteria seems to be a simple eye-test. Which, honestly, there is nothing wrong with, considering everyone (you included) had a huge a problem with the statistical-leaning BCS. Did the Committee get Oklahoma’s ranking right? With what they have gone by prior, no. But they aren’t far off, and for the Big 12 and Oklahoma, the beauty is that they get to prove it with an opportunity to win a road game against their old friends from Stillwater.
But all hope doesn’t lie with Oklahoma, Baylor, and yes, even Oklahoma State have their chances.
For the Sooners, besides obviously winning last Saturday, their biggest boost to their aura was Baylor dominating an undefeated OSU squad on the road. That made the Sooners win in Waco two weeks ago that much more impressive. For the Bears, beating TCU – who actually stayed in the top 25 sitting at 19 to just about everyone’s surprise – and an upset in Bedlam means they are back in the top spot for the conference crown. Of course they have to root for the Cardinal of Stanford against Notre Dame as well, but there is still a very possible path for Art Briles’ squad.
The Committee has had a poor opinion of the Cowboys all season. Their non-conference schedule was below-average and they seemed to play down to their opponent’s levels and escape with wins. To their credit, the continued to win every game. Despite being undefeated the Cowboys seemed to be one fatal mistake away from dropping completely out of the Committee’s sights. Baylor and wide receiving extraordinaire K.D Cannon provided just that. OSU fell to 11 and all but out of any playoff contention. Not all is lost for OSU however who still have much to play for. Upset current Committee darling and rival Oklahoma and hope TCU beats Baylor in Ft. Worth and the crown returns to OSU for the first time since 2011. After that, the Cowboys have to pray for minor chaos to jump ahead.
It is frustrating to write all of this. Considering the Committee seems to change their minds on a daily basis (*gasp* like human-beings actually do!) who knows, maybe an Oklahoma win in Bedlam doesn’t guarantee them anything other than a conference crown. Remember last year TCU was ranked fourth before playing and destroying Iowa State only to drop out of the final four for Ohio State.
Yes, Oklahoma having the opportunity to beat a ranked Oklahoma State team carries much more water than TCU beating a hapless Iowa State squad but the possibility is still there. Nothing, and no one is safe in the Big 12. This shouldn’t be the case and that, I believe is where most of the frustrations lie. The Big 12 has no margin for error whereas other teams and conferences do. Criteria for one team is used here while different criteria is used for another team here.
But again, there is at least a realistic path for the conference to make their College Football Playoff debut with Oklahoma. The Sooners have the better squad and the talent to win. Rivalries are tricky of course. OU was the better team last year in Norman but that didn’t seem to derail OSU from upsetting the Sooners.
The Sooners have to keep their foot on the gas. The line on Oklahoma is that they have played the best and most impressive football since their early loss to Texas. Take care of business in Stillwater and the Big 12 could be in the dance. Win and you are in…I think?
Here’s the complete rankings