Oklahoma Sooners

Three Hurdles Stand Between The Oklahoma Sooners & The College Football Playoff

Rich DeCray

richdecray

The Oklahoma Sooners suffered a loss on the road for the first time in 1,841 days over the course of the weekend. Following the surprise defeat, the program dropped to No. 10 in the AP Poll. With a door swinging open, conversations concerning the College Football Playoff picture took an interesting turn.

How can Oklahoma claim a spot in the College Football Playoff once again?

Hurdle I

It goes without saying that Lincoln Riley’s squad needs a bit of help from around the country. At this point in time the Ohio State Buckeyes, LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Clemson Tigers have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. However, two of the aforementioned programs will meet on the gridiron before the close of the regular season. Regardless of the outcome of the game between the Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers, neither team will be eliminated from CFP Talks.

Is a one-loss LSU or one-loss Alabama a better option than a one-loss Oklahoma? That’s the question that must be answered when looking toward the Southeastern Conference. In addition what happens if the winner of LSU/Alabama suffers a loss in the Conference Championship Game potentially saddling the CFP Committee with three one-loss SEC programs?

Hurdle II

Despite a relatively weak conference perception, the PAC-12 continues to thank the Kansas State Wildcats for the improbable win over the Oklahoma Sooners. Taking care of business, the Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks now find themselves in a favorable position. Inside the top ten of the AP Poll, Utah’s only loss comes on the road at the hands of USC. On the other side of the equation, Oregon suffered a defeat on a neutral site to an SEC opponent in Auburn. The two appear headed toward a collision in the conference championship game. Assuming either of those programs wins the crown with a single loss, strength of schedule will once again come in to play.

Assuming Oregon or Utah wins the conference with a single loss, will a victory over a top ten program be enough to vault the PAC-12 into the playoff picture? Will the strength of schedule hold the conference champion out of the conversation? Is a one loss PAC-12 team better than a one-loss Big 12 team?

Hurdle III

When it comes to the B10, the only question that needs to be answered centers around Penn State. The Nittany Lions remain undefeated at this point as do the Minnesota Gophers and Ohio State Buckeyes. Yet, the expectation is for Minnesota to suffer one if not two losses before December. On the other hand, the Buckeyes will be the favorites on the road against the Nittany Lions which leaves only one of the three teams undefeated after championship week.

Knowing Penn State’s only potential loss comes at the hands of Ohio State, how will the committee handle the situation?

Ultimately, there will be a plethora of one-loss programs to choose from when the final CFP Rankings are released. For now, the Oklahoma Sooners must handle the next team on the schedule as their destiny rests in the hands of others.

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