OU football: Don’t like OU’s Playoff ranking? Don’t fret yet

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /

OU football has had its ups and downs this season – mostly ups, fortunately – but the Sooners are where they need to be for the moment.

Oklahoma fans are mostly disappointed at being the last team to the party as the No. 4 team in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings. The prevailing sentiment is that quality wins the past two weekends over teams that at the time were No. 11 (Oklahoma State) and No. 6 (TCU) were worthy of more consideration than the CFP selection committee apparently gave to Oklahoma in coming up with this week’s Playoff rankings.

The University of Miami was No. 7 last week, two spots below No. 5 Oklahoma. Miami was one of two undefeated teams in the top 10 of the Playoff rankings (No. 8 Wisconsin was the other) that trailed the Sooners a week ago, largely because OU’s overall body of work through the first nine games was stronger.

Last Saturday, while Oklahoma was delivering a decisive 38-20 win over No. 6 TCU, considered to be one of the best defensive teams in the country, Miami, playing at home, utterly destroyed then No. 3 Notre Dame, 41-8, to remain unbeaten at 10-0.

The Playoff committee obviously was so impressed with the way Miami manhandled the Fighting Irish, and especially the dominance of the Miami defense, that it rewarded the Hurricanes by advancing them four spots, jumping over Oklahoma, to No. 3 in the new Playoff standings.

There were some college football experts who were projecting Oklahoma to move up as high as No. 2, presumably behind Alabama, when the new rankings were revealed Tuesday night.

With OU’s victories this season over three teams currently ranked among the top 15 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings and two of those wins (against Ohio State and Oklahoma State) coming on the road, I personally felt a No. 2 Playoff spot, at this stage of the season, was not out of the question.. Although I believed a No. 3 placement was a little more realistic and deserving.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

The only explanation I can come up with for why Oklahoma is ranked below one-loss Clemson (whose loss to 4-6 Syracuse, in my estimation, was worse than the Sooners seven-point loss to 6-4 Iowa State) and undefeated Miami, is Oklahoma’s 85th-ranked defense, which is a landslide worse than any of the teams in serious Playoff contention.

Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense are the nation’s best this season, capable of beating, even steamrolling, any team in the country. Unfortunately, the Sooner defense is allowing an average of 27 points per game and is having all kinds of trouble stopping anybody. The Playoff committee is sending a message that it is uncomfortable with that imbalance.

To be quite honest, the Sooners’ offensive/defensive imbalance concerns me as well. The OU “D” looked good last week in the win over TCU, despite having three freshmen starters in the secondary. But that’s just one game. It is what it is – for now, anyway.

The good news is: Oklahoma is in the Playoff field for now. The further good news is that all Oklahoma needs to do is take care of business immediately ahead and win out (over Kansas this week, West Virginia next week and in the Big 12 Championship), and the Playoff seedings will be the least of the worries for the Sooners and their fans.