Oklahoma out of College Football Playoff in latest ESPN bowl projections

·3 min read

The initial College Football Playoff rankings weren’t kind to the Oklahoma Sooners who came in at No. 8 on Tuesday night. The Sooners were behind two SEC teams, three Big 10 teams, Cincinnati, and Oregon, while four of the teams in front of the Sooners have one loss.

It’s certainly too soon to panic or worry about the end result. If the Oklahoma Sooners win out, they’ll be in a great position to play for the National Championship in the College Football Playoff. However, there is some cause for concern that playoff projections from national analysts have changed their tune in just two days.

On Monday, ESPN put out its latest College Football Playoff projections, and they were still in on four of the 11 analysts polled for the piece. One of those was Mark Schlabach. Today, ESPN put out its latest bowl projections (ESPN+ subscription required), and Schlabach’s seen something in the College Football Playoff committee to change his mind on the Sooners and leave them out of the final four.

The Sooners haven’t been great, but as Kyle points out, they’re still 9-0 and playing in a Power 5 conference. The offense sputtered early, but it has been much better since freshman Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler as the starting quarterback. The Sooners scored more than 50 points in three of the past four games. OU’s nonconference schedule (Tulane, FCS foe Western Carolina and Nebraska) wasn’t great, especially with the Green Wave and Cornhuskers struggling mightily. Like Cincinnati, the Sooners have plenty of room to move up, especially if they can win upcoming games against No. 12 Baylor, Iowa State and No. 11 Oklahoma State. – Schlabach

Oddly, both Schlabach and fellow analyst Kyle Bonagura listed the Sooners as their biggest surprise from the initial release of the College Football Playoff rankings. Both seem to think that the Sooners could move up as the season goes along. But then again, why not put them in your playoff projections if they thought they could end up in the College Football Playoff.

And these are projections. This is how these national college football analysts think the bowls and playoff will look at the end of the season.

Out of the playoff, both analysts have the Sooners heading to the All-State Sugar Bowl, where they’d face off with either Auburn or Ole Miss based on these projections.

It’s an odd turn of events for a team that’s playing its best football right now but finding itself getting less respect nationally or from the committee.

The Oklahoma Sooners can’t worry about any of that. The only thing they can control is what they do on the field. If they do what many expect them to do, the dominos will begin to fall, and Oklahoma will find itself better positioned for the College Football Playoff.

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