Where will the Oklahoma Sooners debut in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings?

·3 min read

Oklahoma wanted to enter its bye week 9-0 and have corrected some of its season-long issues in the style points department.

Mission accomplished.

The Sooners blasted Texas Tech on Saturday, 52-21, looking every bit the part of a potential College Football Playoff participant.

Oklahoma true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams enhanced his Heisman Trophy campaign by becoming the third OU quarterback ever to record six passing touchdowns with no interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Sooners’ defense put together a performance where they forced three Tech turnovers and held the Red Raiders to just four of 13 on third-down conversion tries.

It was Oklahoma’s most complete performance of the season, and now the question becomes where will the Sooners debut in Tuesday night’s initial College Football Playoff rankings?

Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller feels that Georgia is the clear-cut No. 1 but sees a debate for spots two through seven in the rankings. According to Miller, Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Oregon each have a case for inclusion in the initial CFP rankings top four.

Here’s what Miller had to say about Oklahoma’s case for and against.

Case For: The only 9-0 team in the country hails from the third-best conference.

Undefeated in the Big 12 isn’t quite as impressive as undefeated in the SEC or Big Ten, but it’s still quite the achievement for the Sooners. And aside from that bizarrely slow start in the first half against Kansas in Week 8, they have been humming on offense since making the switch from Spencer Rattler to Caleb Williams at quarterback.

Perhaps more than anything else that could come from Tuesday night’s rankings show, I want to hear selection committee chair Gary Barta say something about how it is handling its evaluation of Oklahoma based on the quarterback situation.

We can’t sit here and say that Oklahoma would have more convincingly beaten Tulane, Nebraska, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas if Williams had been the starter back then. However, it’d be fair to acknowledge that this team has been different over the past month and make an effort to rank the Sooners based on their current state.

Case Against: Too many close calls and a surprisingly weak schedule.

Oklahoma’s first five wins against FBS opponents were each by a one-possession margin. It was dreadful defense against Tulane and Texas; dreadful offense against Nebraska and West Virginia. Without suffering a loss, the Sooners slipped all the way from No. 2 to No. 6 in the AP rankings, and it often felt like they didn’t even deserve to be that well off in the polls.

And making matters worse, Oklahoma has not yet faced a currently ranked opponent.

That’s going to change in a big way down the stretch against Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, but the Sooners had a painfully weak nonconference schedule and have thus far only faced the bottom 60 percent of the Big 12.

Again, they’ve looked good lately, winning three straight by multiple scores. But strength of schedule and those early margins have to matter, right? – Miller, Bleacher Report

Oklahoma doesn’t have the signature win yet like Michigan State, who rallied to beat Michigan 37-33 yesterday or, say, Oregon’s 35-28 non-conference win at Ohio State back on Sept. 11.

The Sooners are still perfect, though, and that’s something Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon will have to fight against as one-loss teams.

In its four previous College Football Playoff trips, OU debuted at No. 15 in 2015, No. 5 in 2017, No. 7 in 2018, and No. 9 in 2019.

The first CFP rankings will be announced at 6 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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