The Oklahoma Sooners win over Iowa State coupled with losses by Oregon and Michigan State gave the Sooners a bump in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings. The Sooners moved from 13 to 10, lining up a Bedlam matchup of top 10 opponents heading into this weekend.
The potential exists that Bedlam and the Big 12 championship game will be between two teams in the top 10, depending on how things play out this weekend.
If the Baylor Bears beat Texas Tech as they should, they’ll remain in the top 10. If Oklahoma State wins, it will set up a top 10 matchup between the Cowboys and the Bears for the Big 12 title next Saturday. If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, it’ll likely keep both teams in the top 10 ahead of a rematch in the Big 12 title game.
Some fascinating stuff at work in the Big 12 this weekend and across the country, much of which could determine how the final rankings play out here in a couple of weeks. Here are 5 takeaways from the fourth round of the College Football Playoff rankings.
Oklahoma and the Big 12’s outside shot
With Oklahoma State at No. 7 and Oklahoma at No. 10, Bedlam represents the best opportunity for the Big 12 to make the College Football Playoff. A two-loss Big 12 champion won’t make it into the playoff. Oklahoma State or Oklahoma winning out gives the conference a shot, even if it’s a slim shot at the moment.
Michigan or Ohio State will leave this weekend’s rivalry game with another loss on the season and there’s still the matter of Alabama taking on Georgia. They would certainly need some things to happen to get in, but either school’s resume would look better than Notre Dame’s if either were to win out.
2 Spots Locked In
At this point, it looks as if two spots will go to Georgia and either Ohio State or Michigan, depending on which one survives this week and the Big 10 championship game.
That leaves two spots for contenders like Alabama, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and the Big 12 champion (assuming they’re a one-loss champ).
Several good teams are going to get left out of this year’s four-team playoff and this is why the playoff needs expansion. There will always be arguments about who should be in, but beyond Georgia and in my opinion, Cincinatti, the arguments are splitting hairs.
When the dust settles on the final playoff field, there will be several fan bases upset with the committee’s decision, but that’s just how deep the field is this year.
The Notre Dame Threat
Notre Dame will close out its season on Saturday against Stanford. With the way they’ve looked, it’s hard to imagine they fall to the 3-8 Cardinal. While Notre Dame may not have a quality win on its ledger, it’s a big brand, and while the College Football Playoff’s intention is to crown a national champion, it’s biggest purpose is to make money.
Notre Dame is a draw and they’re playing good football right now, albeit against lesser competition. As far as the Big 12 is concerned, Notre Dame is likely the biggest threat to either the Cowboys or the Sooners landing in the top four.
The SEC Problem
An Alabama win in the SEC title game would all but assure both the Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs making it into the playoff. The question remains what the committee will do with the Tide if they lose.
A few weeks ago, I felt it was a foregone conclusion that a two-loss Alabama wouldn’t make it into the College Football Playoff game. With each passing week, more doubt has crept into this college football brain.
Still little love for UTSA or San Diego State
Between Oklahoma at 10 and NC State at 20, every single team ranked ahead of No. 21 San Diego State and No. 22 UTSA have at least two losses. Sure, the Roadrunners and the Aztecs play in the Group of Five and don’t have a ton of signature wins, but between the two, they have one loss and UTSA is undefeated.
They won’t move the needle for a New Year’s Six bowl, so what would it hurt to put them in your top 20 or your top 15. We can talk resumes, but when a team goes undefeated or has just one loss, we need to respect the success a bit more. Again, another reason for an expanded College Football Playoff, that much like the NCAA Tournament in March, provides an avenue for the mid-major teams to make some noise in the postseason.