The Oklahoma Sooners are currently the greatest show on turf, grass, or whatever surface is present. They put up 59 points against West Virginialast night in Morgantown to earn a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. Kyler Murray is an absurd talent. His offense boasts a 22.4 SRS, almost double the next-most efficient team. Oklahoma’s overall SRS is sixth, which matches their place in the playoff rankings headed into this week. They’ll now get a chance to exact revenge against Texas. With a win, the Sooners will be 12-1 and watch the final reveal with great interest.
Oklahoma likely needs two losses from those ranked higher. They are guaranteed one, with Alabama-Georgia looming. All eyes will turn to Columbus in a few hours, where Ohio State has a chance to knock off Michigan, opening the door for Lincoln Riley’s team. Much of the discussion has focused on the Buckeyes also having a chance to crash the party.
My question would be: how? In what world would Ohio State leapfrog Oklahoma? The committee has already shown there’s a gulf between the two teams. The latter would be winning a road game, then a neutral site game. The former would be winning a home game and a neutral site game. Oklahoma’s two opponents would be better than Ohio State’s two opponents (the other being Northwestern). What … am I missing?
It pains me as a Big Ten-bred milk-drinker, but here’s the truth: so much of the playoff discussion seems to be centered around the idea that the Midwestern conference is very good. After watching it all year, I’m not so sure. Yes, the Wolverines have been fantastic. Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State have all been lesser versions of their vintage squads.
And as I wrote last week, the Buckeyes’ defense has been nearly as lenient as Oklahoma’s. A lot has to happen for 12-1 OU and 12-1 OSU to fight for one final spot. But if it comes to that and Urban Meyer’s team sneaks in, it will be the biggest travesty of the playoff era.