NORMAN – Oklahoma is in position to return to the College Football Playoff.
Coming in at No. 7 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season, the Sooners remain in the mix of teams vying to win the national championship. Alabama holds the top spot in the initial ranking with Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame rounding out the top four. Michigan and Georgia are the first two teams out.
When OU (7-1 overall, 4-1 Big 12) first went to the CFP in 2015, it was ranked 15th in the initial poll. Last season, the Sooners were fifth. At 7, it proves there’s a good chance for the Sooners to return. Just look at the teams in front of them, and it shows how they get there.
First, at 7 p.m. Saturday, the Crimson Tide marches to Baton Rouge to battle with the Tigers. For OU’s sake, it should hope Alabama wins and puts LSU at two losses. A Crimson Tide win would slide LSU below the Sooners, thus vaulting them one spot closer.
For OU to make the playoff, Alabama would need to win out.
The other SEC team, Georgia, has a top-10 matchup of its own this weekend, when it travels to Lexington to face No. 9 Kentucky. The winner of Saturday’s matchup will likely capture the SEC East title.
Whichever teams wins Saturday would need to go undefeated and lose to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. That would give either Kentucky or Georgia two losses, and OU would jump them.
A multitude of things can happen for OU to pass the third team it needs to. First, with Michigan having lost to Notre Dame, it needs to lose to another team that isn’t Ohio State. If the Buckeyes defeat the Wolverines, it could help push them past the Sooners in the rankings. Another thing that could help OU is if Michigan wins out and is the Big 10 champion with one loss if either Clemson or Notre Dame loses.
The Fighting Irish and Tigers are likely out with one loss. Notre Dame won’t have a conference championship to hang its hat on even with a loss, and the ACC has been weak this season outside of Clemson. One loss from either team should drop them below OU.
But none of the aforementioned matters if the Sooners drop another game.
OU must win its remaining four games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas and West Virginia while capturing its fourth straight Big 12 title to return to the CFP.
Washington State is the Pac-12’s lone hope at 7-1 and ranked eighth, but the Cougars need help. They’ll have to hope Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Michigan lose to get in, and that still may not be enough.
OU’s chances of making the CFP remain strong. It needs to win out and get some help along the way. In college football, there’s always chaos in November, but the Sooners have been one of the best November teams in the CFP era.
They will need that to continue to make it to their third CFP in five seasons.