Sooners ‘underrated,’ Alabama ‘overrated’ in initial CFP rankings according to CBS Sports

·5 min read

The Oklahoma Sooners landed in eighth place in the initial college football playoff rankings. While it’s just the first of these rankings, the College Football Playoff committee made what they think about the Oklahoma Sooners and their undefeated record abundantly clear.

Very little.

To paraphrase former UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, to rival Matt Hughes, the College Football Playoff committee is not impressed with the Sooners’ performance.

Oklahoma, the undefeated, unquestioned head of the table in the Big 12, found no friend in the committee as they slotted them behind four one-loss teams, including Michigan, who recently fell to undefeated Michigan State while the Sooners dominate Texas Tech by 31 points.

The Oklahoma Sooners have been put on notice, and the message is clear, “win out or get left out.” There is no benefit of the doubt heading to Norman, not for a Sooners team that’s played in five one-score games this season.

Close losses seem to carry more weight than close wins, and that’s the tune coming from the committee, at least in their rankings. Because how else are we to interpret Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, and Michigan, all with one loss, being ranked ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners.

It seems if you’re the Alabama Crimson Tide, you can do no wrong. Alabama’s given the benefit of the doubt, even if they’re one loss was to a Texas A&M team that was coming off of two straight losses at the hands of Arkansas and Mississippi State. When Alabama lost to the Aggies, the Aggies were not a top 25 team. Sure, they’re ranked now, but that’s what happens when you beat mighty Alabama. Alabama, for its loss, fell to the lowly position of second in the initial College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night.

Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports thinks Alabama’s overrated in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. And it’s hard not to argue with him: Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Cincinnati, all undefeated teams, slot in behind the Crimson Tide.

Here’s what Sallee had to say:

The truth is that Alabama’s two top-25 wins over Mississippi State and Ole Miss are solid, but the loss to No. 14 Texas A&M should negate at least one of those. The Tide narrowly escaped the clutches of a very mediocre Florida squad and entered the fourth quarter against Tennessee up only one score.

Michigan State just knocked off the seventh-ranked team in the nation (Michigan), and has looked like a complete team all year. Oregon has a top-five win over Ohio state on the books. Yeah, the Pac-12 is dreadful, but a road win against a top-five team should matter more than the committee suggests.

Alabama is No. 2 because of its brand. It might end up being the second-best team in the nation in a month, and still might win the national title. But it does not deserve to be there right now. – Sallee

The Crimson Tide got the benefit of the doubt from the College Football Playoff Committee. And so did Oregon, despite their one loss to an unranked Stanford squad. That win over Ohio State was so impressive to start the season that it more than made up for the Ducks’ overtime loss to the Cardinal.

The Sooners get no love from the committee for their undefeated record. Close wins are a bad thing, so the Sooners come in eighth with a massive hill to climb. Sallee believes the Sooners are underrated in the initial rankings.

No team outside of Georgia has proven that it’s a complete football team. Yet it seems like the Sooners aren’t getting any love due to style points despite the fact that coach Lincoln Riley fixed the glitch. Well, at least one of them.

Caleb Williams has replaced Spencer Rattler — the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy — after Rattler’s early-season inconsistencies. Williams has provided a spark and the Sooners look much more like a playoff team now than they did in September. If September style points matter, fine. But Oklahoma addressed a pressing issue, fixed it and has done so without a loss. The last time I checked, wins and losses should matter, especially when you put Oklahoma’s in proper context. – Sallee

If the Oklahoma Sooners continue to win, logic says they’ll find themselves in the top four when the final playoff rankings are announced in mid-December. At the same time, the College Football Playoff committee’s logic is subject to question. Placing the Sooners eighth, behind four one-loss teams, three Big 10 teams, two SEC teams, and the leader of a lousy Pac-12 speaks volumes.

There’s no margin for error, and the Sooners have to win impressively in their final three games plus the Big 12 championship to get credit for these wins. Even if they beat ranked opponents, but they’re close games, will it be enough to move the needle for the committee?

All Oklahoma can do is win its remaining games and close out the season as an undefeated Big 12 champion. That’s it. And to the players’ credit, they’re taking the ranking as motivation for the final five weeks of the season.

What’s coming after the bye week will provide them with their toughest tests of the season. Still, if the Sooners play to their potential, they should be able to get through “Championship November” unscathed and undefeated, heading into the Big 12 championship.