College Football Playoff: Where will the Sooners rank on Tuesday?

We’re at Week 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, just two more to go before the cement hardens.

Oklahoma moved into the top 4 of the Playoff rankings last week after its decisive 31-16 win over then-No. 6 TCU. The Sooners were also the beneficiary of losses a week ago by Georgia and Notre Dame, both of whom were ahead of OU in Week 2 of the rankings, at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

No. 1 Alabama, Clemson, Miami and Oklahoma all won this weekend, and all but Miami won big, by 38 points or more. Miami (10-0) is the only undefeated team among the top four, and another undefeated team, Wisconsin is sitting at the Playoff doorstep, at No. 5, with an 11-0 record. Two-loss Auburn is lurking at No. 6 with a giant Iron Bowl showdown with top-ranked Alabama this Saturday.

There is universal agreement that Alabama, another undefeated team at 11-0, is a deserving No. 1, for another week at least, but there is some disagreement about positions two through four, depending on whom you ask and in what part of the country they are located.

Count me among those who believe the Sooners should be rated higher than No. 4 in the Playoff standings.

Here’s why: Oklahoma and Clemson have both beaten three teams that are now or were among the top 25 teams in the Playoff rankings, but I believe the Sooners body of work is more impressive than what Clemson has accomplished through 11 games.

For one thing, Oklahoma’s road win at then second-ranked Ohio State was more impressive than Clemson’s neutral-site victory over Auburn. And second, Clemson’s one loss, to Syracuse, now looks like a worse loss than the Sooners loss to Iowa State, a team that ended up being much better than everyone thought prior to the season.

Miami is undefeated, but before its blowout win over Notre Dame had not played as difficult a schedule as the Sooners. Even now, the Hurricanes have beaten just two teams in the CFP rankings to the Sooners’ three victories over such teams.

It has been speculated that Oklahoma’s defensive struggles, which makes the Sooners appear to be less of a complete team, in the eyes of the Playoff selection committee, than the other Playoff contenders, is one explanation for why the OU is not ranked higher. If true, I believe this is a lame argument, because it in no way supports the notion that Oklahoma would be uncompetitive against the other Playoff teams.

None of this really matters, though, until after the conference championship games and the final Playoff rankings come out on Dec. 3. If Oklahoma wins its next two games, over West Virginia in the regular-season home finale and in the Big 12 Championship in a likely rematch with TCU, the Sooners should have nothing to worry about, except their Playoff seeding.

The outcome of Ohio State vs. Wisconsin is likely to decide another Playoff spot, as will Alabama or Auburn vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship and Clemson-Miami in the ACC Championship.

Of course, we know that nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to this time of the season in college football. Who knows what chaos might ensure over the next two weekends that could shakeup everything we’re thinking and debating right now.

Circling back to the original premise of this article – Where will Oklahoma rank when the new College Football Playoff rankings are released on Tuesday evening? – I’m hopeful that the Sooners will move up one or two spots, but I won’t be surprised if there is no change in the top six places.

It should have no impact, but there is no change in the top nine positions in the new Associated Press Top 25, out today. Oklahoma remained at No. 3, ahead of Clemson but trailing Alabama and Miami, according to the media panel that votes in the AP Poll.. The new Coaches Poll for Week 13 of the season has the OU at No. 5, with Alabama, Miami, Clemson and Wisconsin all ahead of the Sooners.