OU football’s chances of finishing in top 4 based on strength of record

After two weeks of College Football Playoff rankings OU football is at the doorstep of the four-team cutoff.

The Sooners’ No. 5 position in the Playoff rankings is prime real estate at this stage of the process, but there are still big games to be played and plenty of time for things to change before the rankings become final on Dec. 3.

Oklahoma could take a giant step toward punching its ticket to two 2017 championship events with a win on Saturday night against Big 12 co-leader TCU, the team immediately behind the Sooners in the College Football Playoff Week 2 rankings. A win over the Horned Frogs would virtually assure OU of one of the two spots in the Big 12 Championship and further strengthen the Sooners’ Playoff resume should one of the four teams ahead of them stumble over the next three weeks.

One source that likes Oklahoma’s chances of making the Playoff is ESPN. The ESPN Information and Analytics department gives the Sooners a 59-percent chance of having one of the top four strengths of record come Selection Sunday on Dec. 3. Given that measurement criteria, OU would be No. 4 behind Georgia (83 percent), Alabama (70 percent) and Clemson (62 percent).

Another ESPN measurement tool, the College Football Power Index, which is a prospective measure of a team’s strength based on its projected performance going forward as opposed to past performance, currently ranks Oklahoma No. 9 nationally. The FPI also gives the Sooners a 59.3-percent chance of winning the Big 12, ahead of TCU (36.5 percent) and Oklahoma State (5.3 percent).

They say numbers don’t lie, but in this case everything is dependent on Oklahoma taking care of business on the field. If that happens, the numbers will take care of themselves.