College Football Playoff: Sooners seeded No. 2, headed to Rose Bowl

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before playing the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before playing the TCU Horned Frogs during the first half at AT /

It’s now official, Oklahoma is the No. 2 seed and headed to their second appearance in the College Football Playoff era.

The College Football Playoff selection committee had a long and busy Saturday night, but the debate that ensued hothing to do with Oklahoma’s worthiness. The only real question surrounding the Sooners was whether they would end up No. 2 or No. 3, although some would argue that the OU resume, especially over the last four games, was good enough to command the top spot in the final Playoff rankings.

It was gratifying to see the Sooners get the No. 2 seed, which will pair them against a second straight team out of the SEC. Oklahoma draws No. 3 Georgia, the SEC champion this season, in one of the two national semifinal games to be played on New Year’s Day. The Sooners are headed west to play in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of all the traditional New Year’s bowl games.

Both Oklahoma and Georgia are 12-1 this season. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 the first two weeks of this year’s College Football Playoff rankings.

The last time Oklahoma played in the Rose Bowl, against Washington State in the 2002 postseason, the Crimson and Cream rolled to 38-17 victory, and quarterback Nate Hybl was named the Most Outstanding Player in the game.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

Less than 20 minutes after the final 2017 College Football Playoff rankings were announced on ESPN on Sunday, the Las Vegas sportsbook established Oklahoma as a 1.0-point favorite over Georgia in the earlier national semifinal game on Jan. 1 (4 p.m. CT on ESPN).

The favorite role between the Sooners and Georgia flips, however, if you pay attention to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The FPI gives Georgia a 53 percent chance of defeating Oklahoma. Get used to this disparity. We are likely to see opinions favorable to both teams, given the fact that we are talking about the second and third best teams in the country, according to the CFP committee.

College football’s Final Four this season has a familiar look to the last OU Playoff year, in 2015. Clemson was the No. 1 team that season, as they are this year. Unfortunately for the Sooners, they were the No. 4 seed in the 2016 College Playoff, which paired them with Clemson in Baker Mayfield’s first season at Oklahoma.

The Sooners had faced Clemson the year before, in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Despite the absence of an injured Deshaun Watson, No. 18 Clemson handed unranked OU one of its worst losses in the Bob Stoops era, hammering the Sooners 40-6.

The result of the rematch between the Sooners and Tigers a year later in the Playoff wasn’t much different, with Clemson erasing a one-point Oklahoma lead at halftime and dominating the second half for a 37-17 win.

Also present in college football’s 2015 Final Four was Alabama. The Crimson Tide are the No. 4 seed this season, but they were No. 2, the same as the Sooners this time around, in the 2015 Playoff seeding.

A potential good omen for Oklahoma this year is that Alabama went on to win the 2015 national championship, beating Clemson 45-40. The Tigers reversed that outcome last season, coming from behind to dethrone the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31.

We now know who’s in, and Oklahoma is one of the select few still standing. Tacking on two more wins not only would deliver an eighth national championship for the Sooners in Lincoln Riley’s first year as head coach, but also a school record 14-win season.