Oklahoma’s Hunt For The Playoff: Week Four

(via CFBPlayoff on Twitter)

(via CFBPlayoff on Twitter)

It’s week four of the College Football Rankings, and the picture is becoming clearer. Nine teams remain in the hunt for a Playoff spot. More than any year prior at this point in the season. Oklahoma has jumped from #15 to #8 from week one until now. The Sooners remain in striking distance with a Top 10 matchup next week, and a chance to add “Conference Champion” to their résumé.

As I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, the road to the Playoff has been much more difficult in 2016 than it was a year ago. The situation in the Big Ten has thrown a wrench into things, but the chances at the Playoff are continuing to rise. Fivethirtyeight.com actually has Oklahoma in the Playoff as of today. Let’s take a look at the teams in front of the Sooners in this weeks’ rankings:

1. Alabama (10-0)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs #13 Auburn
Dec. 3rd in the SEC Championship game (would play #15 Florida if it were today)

Even with a loss against Auburn, the Crimson Tide will dominate Florida in the SEC Championship. Alabama is in.

2. Ohio State (10-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs #3 Michigan

Ohio State does not control its destiny in their division. It is truly a unique situation that the committee will have to decipher. With a win against Michigan, the Buckeyes will have a chance to cement themselves as the first team to make the College Football Playoff without winning their conference.

3. Michigan (10-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th @ #2 Ohio State
Dec. 3rd in the B1G Championship Game (would play #6 Wisconsin if it were today)

The Wolverines can assert themselves into the Playoff with a win against Ohio State, and a win in the B1G Championship. Simple. The Game has not had this much postseason implications since 2006.

4. Clemson (9-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs South Carolina
Dec. 3rd in the ACC Championship Game (would play Virginia Tech if it were today)

Clemson handled a sneaky Wake Forest team, but now face their in-state rival in South Carolina. Like I’ve said previously, South Carolina could give Clemson a tough time. If Clemson loses to the Gamecocks, and then wins the ACC Championship, do the Tigers get in?

5. Washington (10-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 25th @ #23 Washington State
Dec. 2nd in the Pac-12 Championship Game (would play #9 Colorado if it were today)

Washington has two tough games ahead of them, yet they do not necessarily get into the Playoff with just winning out. The Huskies and their fans need to root for a Penn State loss, or an Ohio State loss. Even with a Pac-12 Championship, I can see Washington remain on the outside looking in because of Ohio State’s three wins against Top 10 teams.

6. Wisconsin (9-2)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs Minnesota
Dec. 3rd in the Big 10 Championship Game (would be against #3 Michigan or #7 Penn State)

All Wisconsin has to do is take care of business against Minnesota and whoever they play in the B1g Championship to get in the playoff. It’s simple.

7. Penn State (9-2)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs Michigan State
Dec. 3rd in the B1G Championship Game (would play #6 Wisconsin if it were today)

Michigan State looks like a game that Penn State could struggle in. The Spartans have controlled the clock the last two weeks, and pushed Ohio State to the ledge last week. Penn State must survive this game, and hope for Ohio State to win The Game. Penn State is not even close to the best team in the country, but has taken care of business when they have needed to.

8. Oklahoma (9-2)

9. Colorado (9-2)

Schedule:
Nov. 26th vs #22 Utah
Dec. 2nd in the Pac-12 Championship Game (would play #4 Washington if it were today)

Not even going to update this: The Buffs still have a chance at the Playoff due to their ability to add quality wins to their résumé, and a Conference Championship.

 R.I.P

Louisville (9-1)

Schedule:

Nov. 17th @ Houston
Nov. 26th vs Kentucky

Louisville continues to maneuver their schedule. They must play their best to win the next two, as Houston and Kentucky will be the toughest teams the Cardinals have faced since Clemson.

Auburn (7-2)

Schedule:

Nov. 12th @ Georgia
Nov. 19th vs Alabama A&M
Nov. 26th @ #1 Alabama
Dec. 3rd in the SEC Championship game (would play Florida if it were today)

Auburn must win out, which means getting wins on the road in Athens, Alabama, and a neutral site game in Atlanta. They, like Wisconsin, would have a unique argument for the Playoff. I do not see them winning out, but if they do, Auburn will likely jump anyone who is an at-large hopeful in front of them.

Texas A&M (7-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 12th vs Ole Miss
Nov. 19th vs UTSA
Nov. 24th vs #13 LSU

The Fighting Aggies have a chance at a College Football Playoff for the first time since the Playoff’s inauguration. They must root for Washington to lose the Pac-12 because Washington would get the nod for being a Power Five Conference Champion. Texas A&M does not control their destiny even though they are at #4, but they sit in a good spot if they can win out.

Nebraska (7-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 12th vs Minnesota
Nov. 19th vs Maryland
Nov. 25th @ Iowa
Dec. 3rd in the Big 10 Championship Game (would be against #3 Michigan or #6 Ohio State)

Nebraska would have two quality losses, but no quality wins after this weekend. This is all under the assumption that the Cornhuskers lose this weekend to Ohio State. If they can find a way to win in Columbus, Nebraska will be in the thick of the Playoff chase. A Big 10 Championship with one loss would guarantee the Cornhuskers’ spot in the Playoff.

Florida (6-1)

Schedule:
Nov. 12th vs South Carolina
Nov. 19th @ #13 LSU
Nov. 26th @#22 Florida State
Dec. 3rd in the SEC Championship game (would play #1 Alabama if it were today)

Florida has arguably the toughest stretch of games to end the season. If the Gators can survive trips to Fayetteville, Baton Rouge, Tallahassee, and Atlanta, the Gators won’t only be the SEC Champion, but the best team in the entire country. I do not see this happening, but as a college football fan, you have to see just how tough this stretch of games can be.

LSU

Schedule:
Nov. 12th @ Arkansas
Nov. 19th vs #11 Florida
Nov. 24th @ #4 Texas A&M

If the Bayou Bengals can survive this stretch of games, they will play in the SEC Championship and then have a chance at the playoff. Three games against teams ranked higher than them stand in the way, but LSU has a chance to make up for their two early losses starting this week in their game against the Crimson Tide.


As you can see, Oklahoma has a long road ahead of them, but the scenarios that have to play out is not as difficult as the common fan would think.

  1. Win out. Oklahoma must beat Oklahoma State. This next game will play large into the momentum the Sooners can build heading into the 2017 season with a Playoff or not.
  2. Washington can not win the Pac-12. If Washington wins out, the Huskies are in, along with the SEC, ACC, and B1G Champions.
  3. Ohio State beating Michigan in The Game. I’ve changed my stance. Look below.
  4. Penn State losing to Michigan State. Yeah, I believe that Ohio State gets in over Oklahoma now. Penn State must lose so the B1G can only get one team in.
  5. Throwing in a Clemson loss here. Clemson and Washington could lose a game and Oklahoma to get in that way. The Tigers still do not like primed for a chance at the National Championship.

Oklahoma will need point 1, 2 or 5, and point 4 to happen to get into the Playoff.

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