Oklahoma football: ESPN gives Sooners 63 percent change of winning Big 12

Short of numero uno, the Oklahoma football team has developed a strong attachment to the ordinal number three — and why not? — a third of the way through the 2017 season.

Three is not one, but it is a far sight better than five — that is, insofar as the College Football Playoff picture is concerned. When the Sooners last made the Playoff, they were the No. 3 overall seed, and that is where they stand after Week 5 of the 2017 college football season, according to a panel of ESPN college football experts.

Oklahoma is a solid No. 3 in the Playoff race as things stand now, joining No. 1 Alabama, Clemson and Penn State, not coincidentally the order of the current national weekly polls, so says a panel of four ESPN.com staff writers.

The Sooners seem to have a firm grip on the No. 3 position at every turn so far this season, but their aspirations are for much more. The goal of Oklahoma football every season is to win the conference championship, of which the Sooners have 10 and counting in the Big 12 era, and contend for a national championship.

The ESPN College Football Power Index ranks Oklahoma No. 3 (there’s that number again) and gives the Sooners a 22.2 percent chance of winning out and going undefeated for the entire 2017 season for the first time since 2000. their last national championship season. The odds are higher, however, for Oklahoma winning an 11th Big 12 championship, according to the FPI.

The Sooners are a 63.9 percent favorite to win the conference championship, based on the latest FPI projections, which are a prediction of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season.

The Big 12 team with the best chance of unseating the Sooners  as conference champions, according to the FPI, is TCU with a 24.5 chance of capturing the 2017 Big 12 title.

While sitting at a No. 3 position on the broad scale one-third of the way into the college football season is good enough for now, there is still a long way to go and plenty of rough water to navigate through before any championship banners will be awarded.