We knew heading into the weekend of college football the Playoff committee liked the Big 12, but didn’t really think the conference was a true player in the national championship picture.
Oklahoma’s ranking ahead of Baylor kind of proved that. Baylor was given a solid atta-boy for being undefeated but no one really considered the Bears a factor. After all, the Bears weren’t just behind Oklahoma, they were behind two-loss teams Florida and Auburn. An undefeated, Power 5 team was behind not just one, two-loss teams, but two of them.
Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State also were in the top 25, not that anyone really valued those teams very highly.
So, after Saturday when Texas lost and Kansas State lost, Oklahoma gained more than just a singular win by beating Baylor. Oklahoma will get a public perception bump from beating Baylor the way it did.
A 42-14 win over the Bears would have looked good for the Sooners, but ultimately it could have been detrimental to the Sooners slight playoff hopes. A blowout Oklahoma win would have the Playoff committee thinking the same thing it was when the rankings came out last Tuesday – it would have just confirmed that they were right, Baylor wasn’t any good and was deserving of its low ranking.
Now, what will the committee be thinking this Tuesday? Wel, it’s not like the Sooners are going to jump right into the top four, but Baylor nearly beating the Sooners shows the Bears weren’t just Paper Tigers. Instead, the fact Oklahoma needed to rally from behind, could be a boost to a resume that lacks sizzle. Oklahoma already has the benefit of tradition, so a victory against a quality opponent helps even more. Another victory against Oklahoma State, ranked 22 last Tuesday, on the road, will give the Sooners another opportunity to gain some ground.
Baylor isn’t the pushover the committee made them out to be. Baylor isn’t the pushover most of us considered them to be. The score alone from Saturday night will be enough to convince many.
Obviously, any win for Oklahoma keeps the Sooners alive for the playoff, and obviously this loss will surely eliminate the Bears as they have no quality non-conference wins, but the optics look a look better for the Sooners after a come-from-behind road win.
Even better for Oklahoma, Baylor won’t, and shouldn’t drop too far in the rankings after a close loss. And with Baylor being the likely opponent for Oklahoma in the upcoming Big 12 Conference championship game, the Sooners shouldn’t get too penalized for playing what many would have considered a hollow one-loss team. The Bears showed they have some bite to them.
Quite the accomplishment for Oklahoma to come back and win, but Baylor getting out to the lead it did will help the Sooners in the long run, too.