Could the Sooners move up in the next College Football Playoff Rankings?

·2 min read

In theory, the answer should be yes. The Oklahoma Sooners should be able to wave to Michigan State as it passes them going the wrong direction after an 11 point loss to unranked (at the time) Purdue.

At the same time, with Michigan — a team that Michigan State beat — sitting one spot in front of the Sooners in the first College Football Playoff rankings, there’s no telling how the playoff committee will handle that.

This will be the week we see just how much close wins matter. Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, and Cincinnati played close games against unranked opponents, squeaking by or holding on for the win.

Erick Smith of USA TODAY Sports College Football Analyst thinks a boost could be in order for the Sooners despite being on a bye this week because of the close wins at the top of the rankings.

How you perform each week will have a big factor in how you are ranking in the next release. So, don’t be surprised if there is some movement among the teams that won with Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Cincinnati all having close games in the fourth quarter. That could mean a boost for Michigan, which was impressive against Indiana and Oklahoma, which was idle. – Smith

Much of where Oklahoma goes from here will be impacted by where they started. Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, and Cincinnati winning means they should, in theory, stay in front of the Sooners who had the week off. The top four could be the Georgia Bulldogs, Crimson Tide, Ducks, and Buckeyes with Michigan State’s loss. How much will Cincinnati be punished for their close win? With Michigan sitting right behind them in the initial playoff rankings, the Bearcats may have to worry about the Wolverines leaping them for No. 5 in the country.

While Michigan State’s loss sets up a situation where there won’t be two one-loss Big 10 teams vying for a spot in the playoff, it doesn’t necessarily clear up the waters in the playoff rankings yet. The Spartans still have Ohio State on the schedule, and the Buckeyes and Wolverines will face off at the end of the regular season. The team that survives the Big 10 East will make the playoff if they can win the Big 10 title and keep just the one loss.

The good news for Oklahoma is that Wake Forest, who sat behind the Sooners at nine, lost, so they’re no longer a threat to compete with OU for a top-four spot in the weekly rankings.