Path To The 2018 College Football Playoff: Oklahoma Sooners
What is Oklahoma’s path to the 2018 College Football Playoff? What are the different ways the Sooners can get in?
Path To The Playoff: Oklahoma
What’s The Easiest Path?
Thanks to the dominant 31-16 win over Ohio State, the Sooners have the one non-conference win they needed to get to hold a big card in the playoff chase.
The Iowa State home loss hurts, but it’s a huge help that it doesn’t seem like a total clunker – the Cyclones are strong.
The Sooners haven’t been all that impressive since the Iowa State loss, but all that matters is the record.
Win out against Oklahoma State on the road, and then against TCU, at Kansas and West Virginia, and then it’s on to the Big 12 Championship against West Virginia.
If that happens, OU would have to be considered ahead of Ohio State because of the head-to-head win, and it would almost certainly get in.
It’s why there’s a Big 12 Championship game now. 12-1 matters – especially if you’ve beaten the Buckeyes.
But, What Happens If …
Notre Dame wins out?
In 2015, Oklahoma lost to Texas but finished 11-1 with a Big 12 championship. Notre Dame beat Texas, and it was really, really close to finishing 11-1, but lost in the final moments to Stanford.
Had the Irish held on, they likely would’ve earned a spot into the College Football Playoff over OU, who ended up losing to Deshaun Watson and Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
This year, it would be a tough call if it comes down to the Irish vs. the Sooners. On the one hand, OSU would have one of the best wins of the year – especially if Ohio State wins the Big Ten championship, but on the other hand, Notre Dame would have more impressive victories with blowouts over USC and NC State paving the way.
But this time around, again, 12-1 matters. Oklahoma with a Big 12 title would likely trump Notre Dame’s 11-1 unless Georgia goes 13-0 with an SEC title.
Then make it a coin flip – with Notre Dame likely getting the nod.
The Realistic Worst Case Scenario
The realistic worst case scenario is Oklahoma losing – two losses and it’s almost certainly over – but going 12-1 with a Big 12 title doesn’t make the CFP a sure thing.
The SEC champion is unbeaten, Clemson finishes with one loss or Miami wins the ACC title unbeaten, Wisconsin goes 13-0 with a Big Ten championship, and there’s one spot open.
The SEC championship loser is 12-1 with the only loss a close battle, and Notre Dame finishes 11-1 with dominant performances the rest of the way.
For all the good things the Sooners could do at 12-1, this is where the home loss to Iowa State hurts. It’ll be a splitting-hair moment, but OU would lose out.
Okay, What’s Going To Happen
The Sooners will lose once more in the regular season, but they’ll still get into the Big 12 title game – and win.
They’ll miss out on the College Football Playoff, but at 11-2 with a third straight Big 12 title, they’ll be off to the Peach Bowl to face UCF.