The Oklahoma Sooners begin “Championship November” in “just-win” mode. The margin of victory and style points are not a consideration as the Oklahoma Sooners get set to face two teams in the final three weeks currently in the top 15 of the College Football Playoff rankings.
It opens this week with the No. 13 Baylor Bears who are coming off a loss to the TCU Horned Frogs. If things go according to plan, they’ll close out the regular season with a trip to Stillwater in a top 10 matchup of Oklahoma schools.
While the Sooners can likely punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff by winning out, it never hurts to get some help. With that, let’s take a look at this week’s rooting guide.
No. 6 Michigan Wolverines at No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions
Big 10 chaos seems to be on the way. Last week, the Michigan State loss to Purdue helped prevent a situation where there were potentially two Big 10 teams with just one loss or fewer in the top six of the College Football Playoff rankings.
Michigan will still play Ohio State, so one of those teams will add another loss to that column, but any chance for a Big 10 team to take a loss is a good thing.
Here’s hoping Penn State clears the air at the top of the Big 10 East as we enter the final few weeks of the regular season.
Rooting Interest: Penn State
Iowa State Cyclones at Texas Tech Red Raiders
The last opportunity for the Iowa State Cyclones to arrive in Norman for next week’s matchup ranked comes this week when they travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
Iowa State’s coming off an impressive beatdown of Texas and can add to their rankings resume by knocking off the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Even though the Sooners are in “just-win” mode, they don’t want to simply get in the playoff. They want to avoid Georgia in the semifinals if they can help it. If Iowa State can propel itself into the top 25 of the polls and the College Football Playoff rankings, it would provide the Sooners another opportunity to add a ranked win to their resume.
Rooting Interest: Iowa State Cyclones
No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers at No 4. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Purdue Boilermakers have made it a habit of knocking off top-five ranked Big 10 schools this season. First, it was Iowa, then Michigan State. Could the “Spoilermakers” add another top-five win to their resume?
The Buckeyes have Purdue this week and then Michigan State and Michigan to close out the season. Several fantastic opportunities to be knocked out of playoff contention.
Rooting Interest: Purdue Boilermakers
No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs at Tennessee Volunteers
This one has multiple levels of rooting interest. First, it would be nice to see the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs struggle with someone at some point this season, and taking a loss would be even better.
On another level, former Sooners quarterback Josh Heupel has done a nice job with Tennessee in his first year as head coach and has them on the verge of bowl eligibility. A win over the No. 1 team in the nation would do wonders for Heupel’s program moving forward.
Rooting Interest: Tennessee Volunteers
Maryland Terrapins at No. 7 Michigan State Spartans
If you haven’t caught on, we’re pulling for all kinds of chaos at the top of the Big 10. The Michigan State Spartans still play Ohio State. Like the Buckeyes and Wolverines, a two-loss Spartans team would be eliminated from playoff contention, helping the Sooners climb the College Football Playoff rankings easily.
Rooting Interest: Maryland Terrapins
TCU Horned Frogs at No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are on the verge of a top 10 matchup and Bedlam in just a few weeks. The two teams have been on a collision course all season, and Oklahoma State better not mess it up.
If things go according to plan, there’s a chance that both teams could stay in the top 10 and lock up again a week after Bedlam in the Big 12 championship. That only happens, though, if the Cowboys take care of business against TCU this week.
The Cowboys are halfway to completing the Texas sweep after wins against Texas and Baylor. They have TCU this week and Texas Tech next week. There’s a chance the Sooners and the Cowboys could be undefeated against Big 12 schools from the state of Texas in 2021.
Rooting Interest: Oklahoma State
Washington State Cougars at No. 3 Oregon Ducks
The College Football Playoff committee loves the Oregon Ducks’ win over Ohio State from the first week of the season. That feels like forever ago. Apparently, that win was so good that it completely overshadows the Ducks’ overtime loss to a 3-6 Stanford team.
Oregon is on track to make the playoff as the No. 3 team in the rankings at this point. A loss this week to Washington State would derail that and keep the Pac-12 in its place outside of the College Football Playoff.
The Ducks could potentially see a top 25 Utah Utes team in the Pac-12 championship if the two teams hold serve, which, if they win, would give them bookend quality wins on the season. What happened in the middle won’t have mattered to the playoff committee.
Rooting Interest: Washington State