The 2017 Oklahoma football season is down to two and, if all goes well, possibly three games.
All of OU’s 2017 season goals are right out in front of them: Win another Big 12 championship, followed by a national championship. And you can throw in one more: Having Baker Mayfield become the sixth Oklahoma Sooner to win the Heisman Trophy.
On Saturday, the Sooners face a showdown rematch with TCU in the Big 12 Championship. A good result there will undoubtedly propel Oklahoma into a New Year’s Day date in either the Rose Bowl or the Sugar Bowl and the College Football Playoff.
This week will mark the penultimate Playoff rankings, with the final rankings. along with the major bowl pairings, scheduled to be announced on Sunday, Dec. 3. The Sooners started out in Week 1 of the 2017 Playoff rankings (on Oct. 31) at No. 5. They remained there in Week 2.
Following losses by No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Notre Dame, Oklahoma moved into the coveted top four, advancing one spot in Week 3, and the Sooners held steady in the fourth position in last week’s rankings.
This past weekend in college football brought further chaos to the College Football Playoff picture with Auburn knocking off No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Miami losing to unranked Pittsburgh the day after Thanksgiving.
The big question around the Sooner Nation is where that will leave Oklahoma when the new rankings are revealed Tuesday night.
Most OU fans were of the opinion before last week’s rankings were revealed that the Sooners might move into the No. 2 or 3 spot in the Playoff standings, but that did not happen. Chances are even better this week that Oklahoma will shake out higher than No. 4. My guess is the selection committee will have the Sooners at No. 2, behind either Clemson or Auburn.
It really depends on how high the committee values a two-loss Auburn beating two former No. 1 teams in Georgia and Alabama. Clemson is responsible for one of the two Auburn losses, but that was back in the opening weekend of the season.
I saw at least two projections over the weekend that had Oklahoma at the top of the Playoff rankings. And the Sooners have a great case for that, having beaten three teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25, including at No. 9 Ohio State, and will have to beat No. 12 TCU a second time to remain in college football’s Final Four.
Personally, I would prefer that Oklahoma not be in the No. 1 spot going into Championship Saturday. Let Clemson or Auburn have that distinction.
Very rarely do the teams that start out the Playoff rankings in one of the top four spots end up there come Selection Sunday. Clemson is the only one of the original four still standing, although the Sooners were just one spot back, knocking on the door at No. 5.
The Associated Press and Coaches Poll weekly rankings don’t always coincide with the Playoff rankings, largely because of the more expansive data that the Playoff selection committee takes into account in putting together its rankings. It’s worth noting, however, that OU is back at No. 2 in the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Poll, which is where the Sooners were in Week 3 after beating Ohio State.
Perhaps we’ll see a trifecta this week if Oklahoma rises to No. 2 in the next-to-last College Football Playoff ranking.