Oklahoma should be ahead of Ohio State
While it’s not likely to happen, Oklahoma should be ahead of Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff rankings for the Sooners’ head-to-head win over the Buckeyes, Sports Editor Mark Podolski writes.
When all else is pretty much equal, a head-tohead matchup is the easiest and fairest way to break a tie.
“The eye test” is a popular thing these days as it pertains to college football rankings, and in some cases that’s not a bad thing.
Some might say that in this particular case, but when ranking Ohio State and Oklahoma it’s not that complicated.
The 7-1 Sooners deserve to be ranked ahead of the 7-1 Buckeyes. It probably won’t happen when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released Oct. 31 on ESPN.
Unlike the Bowl Championship Series, which used computers to rank teams, the CFP committee is comprised of individuals, and thus rankings are subjective.
Let’s examine each team’s case: OHIO STATE » The Buckeyes have wins over Indiana (49-21), Army (38-7), UNLV (54-21), Rutgers (56-0), Maryland (62-14), Nebraska (56-14) and Penn State (39-38).
The win over Penn State is by far OSU’s best win to date, and its schedule gets more difficult with road games at Iowa (5-3) and Michigan (62) and a home contest with Michigan State (6-2).
When analyzing Ohio State, it’s easy to fall in love with the win over the Nittany Lions, and rightfully so. The 18-point comeback win was epic, and it’s fresh in every college football fan’s mind.
That’s what those on the CFP committee are — fans, just like you and I. They’re influenced by recent results, and it’s easy to chalk up a performance such as the Buckeyes’ 31-16 loss at home to Oklahoma in early September with the defense of it being the second game of the season.
Fans of strength of schedule can use OSU’s record of it opposition, which is a solid 30-23. That figure is helped by playing 7-1 Oklahoma and 6-2 Army. OKLAHOMA » By comparison, the Sooners’ strength of schedule loses out to the Buckeyes.
Oklahoma’s opponents are a combined 27-38, thanks to 0-8 UTEP and 0-8 Baylor, a team OU struggled to beat, 49-41.
OU has also beaten Ohio State (31-16), Tulane (56-14), Texas (29-24), Kansas State (42-35) and Texas Tech (4927).
Its lone loss is to Iowa State at home, 38-31. At the time, it looked like a bad result, but Iowa State is 6-2 after beating TCU on Oct. 28.
That win has created a four-way tie atop the Big 12 among 4-1 teams Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State.
The Sooners can make up for that lackluster SOS by winning out. They play at 7-1 Oklahoma State Nov. 4, then host 7-1 TCU and 5-3 West Virginia. Kansas (1-7) won’t provide much help in the SOS category.
What will help is the head-to-head win at Ohio State, much the same way it helped the Buckeyes in 2016 get into the CFP without playing in the Big Ten Championship game. CFP PREDICTION » The committee has proved to be unpredictable, so ignore this week’s Associated Press and Coaches polls.
Here’s one man’s guess how the CFP committee’s Top 4 might look on Oct. 31:
1. Georgia, 2. Alabama, 3. Notre Dame, 4. Ohio State.
1. Georgia 8-0 (3) 2. Alabama 8-0 (1) 3. Notre Dame 7-1 (4) 4. Oklahoma 7-1 (6) 5. Ohio State 7-1 (7) 6. Penn State 7-1 (2) 7. Miami (Fla.) 7-0 (8) 8. Wisconsin 8-0 (9) 9. Clemson 7-1 (10) 10. Iowa State 6-2 (NR) WATCH LIST » Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, TCU, Washington, USC
This week’s top games Oct. 31
• Bowling Green at Kent State, 8, ESPNU
• Miami (Ohio) at Ohio, 8, ESPN2
• Northern Illinois at Toledo, 6, ESPNU
• Penn State at Michigan State, noon (WJW)
• Auburn at Texas A&M, noon (ESPN)
• Wisconsin at Indiana, noon (WEWS)
• Ohio State at Iowa, 3:30 (ESPN)
• Iowa State at West Viriginia, 3:30 (ESPN2)
• Wake Forest at Notre Dame, 3:30 (WKYC)
• Clemson at N.C. State, 3:30 (WEWS)
• South Carolina at Georgia, 3:30 (WOIO)
• Stanford at Washington State, 3:30 (WJW)
• Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 4 (FS1)
• Minnesota at Michigan, 7 (WJW)
• Texas at TCU, 7:15 (ESPN)
• LSU at Alabama, 8 (WOIO)
• Virginia Tech at Miami (Fla.), 8 (WEWS)
• Oregon at Washington, 10 (FS1)
• Arizona at USC, 10:45 (ESPN)
1. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
2. Saquon Barkey, RB, Penn State
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
4. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
5. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford