College Football Playoff: Why Oklahoma Sooners will be in playoff when top 4 rankings are released
11:00 AM, Dec 5, 2015
TULSA - Better to be lucky AND good.
That's the path Oklahoma took to the 99.9 percent sure playoff appearance for college football's national championship.
The final rankings will be released at noon Saturday.
I will be very honest with you. When I saw Oklahoma ranked #3 in the College Football Poll Nov. 24, I was shocked. Yes, they had just beaten Baylor in Waco, and survived TCU at home with a fingertip stop of a 2-point conversion, but I didn't expect a jump from No. 7 to No. 3.
But they had lost to a really bad Texas team in early October. Most saw how terribly OU played, and how they couldn't tackle. To me that loss was a bad one.
The Sooners were lucky for these reasons. That Texas loss happened before the committee even got together...and they also caught their three toughest rivals dealing with significant injuries. Baylor, TCU and OSU had to go without their starting quarterbacks.
But OU also looked the part the last seven games of the season, winning by huge margins, and impressing the committee when it was the right time to impress. Just like a band playing and marching at its best when they go by the judges stand. Perfect timing.
Here's what I think got the Sooners over the top. The win at Tennessee.
That's SEC territory, and that looks gigantic compared to the Baylor win over Lamar. I have been trying to tell people non-conference strength of schedule counts, and kills. It killed Baylor last year, it helped OU this time.
And finally, the OU brand didn't hurt. You may not like OU, but it is as recognizable as any in the college football world.
If the season had ended last week, OU would be playing Alabama in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 31, with Clemson playing Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
With OU not playing in a conference championship game, and being idle this week, it may cause a shift in the top 4. The Sooners could move down to No. 4, and in that case it would be a trip to Miami. But don't look for OU to get shut out of the playoffs. Not going to happen.