ODDS AGAINST A POSSIBLE 12-1 BIG 12 CHAMPION SOONERS FOR A FINAL FOUR APPEARANCE
Going into the first week of real voting to get to the Final Four of college football at the end of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners are a team outside looking in to make the cut. Yes, the chance of OU to be one of the four teams is ever present this Monday in early November, but the way the landscape looks and the chips that have to fall for a coveted spot is not in favor of a Big Twelve team. Let’s look into what the Sooners have to do and the reasoning that does not paint a good picture for OU. It is a fact that it is going to be tough sledding for OU to play for the National Championship for the 2019 college football season.
First, this edition of the Sooners must win out from here on to the final seconds of the Big Twelve title game in Jerry’s World. That alone will not be an easy task even the accomplishment of the the feat is not a given. A win in Norman against Iowa State next this Saturday night is very likely, yet with a defense that gave up a massive amount of yardage to Kansas State last Saturday tells the college football world that even a suspect offensive team can move the ball on OU and do have a fighting chance to pull the upset. Iowa State, not having the season expected, can right themselves with that coveted upset.
The week following the ISU battle, the Sooners go to Waco to meet the upstart and still undefeated Baylor Bears. The hostile environment that will meet OU on the Brazos River game will be intense. With a less than stellar performance for OU, this game could bring the Schooner to another grinding halt as of the wagon wreck of two weeks ago. As with Baylor, the Bears will give OU all they want. OU has the better players, but anyone putting this game in the Sooner win basket right now is just not understanding of college football. Baylor, for OU, will be a bitch.
TCU follows in Norman and the Frogs have improved from game one of their season. Finding a nice freshman quarterback in Max Duggan, the game favors OU but Gary Patterson will have a team ready for a fight. Not a easy task for OU if they do not play well.
OU ends the year in Stillwater and that game pits a dangerous Oklahoma State Cowboy team that has shown it can run the ball with the best back in the country in Chubba Hubbard. Spencer Sanders, the freshmen quarterback, when limiting turnovers, is highly effective. The fourth regular season game left in the schedule, will be a closely fought one that could go either way. OSU’s defense has improved as much as OU’s so this game could be a score fest or a defensive struggle. Long controlled drives by either team could make it close at the end. Do not underestimate this Bedlam as it could be a barn burner. Both offensives can pile up yardage and points but both defenses are better than in the recent past.
With four wins still out there for OU, look for the Sooners to play in the Big Twelve title game, probably against Baylor. If the Sooners stumble in one of these games, a spot in the title game will possibly evaporate as of their loss to K-State (only two loses) which could slip in to play Baylor.
A win in the title game would give the Sooners a 12-1 season record. That might not be good enough for a spot in the Final Four, depending what happens in the other Power Five conferences. I will say right now, it will have OU OUT in the Final Four.
A KEY GATEWAY FOR OU IS THAT THEY MUST WIN OUT
What else does OU has to worry about?
Clemson Tigers, the defending National Champs, are assured a spot in the Final Four if they win out. They should do so. Yes, like everyone, they could get upset, but people, do not put your hard earned money on it. The good thing to say about Clemson is that if they do lose a game, their chances of making the Final Four would be less than OU. A loss and OU does not need to worry about a one loss Tiger team.
A KEY GATEWAY FOUR OU IS THAT CLEMSON GETS BEAT
The PAC 12 comes into play in 2019. The committee would love to make this conference happy and Utah and Oregon can make this happen. If either of these two team win the rest of their regular season games, the winner of the two in the PAC title game will have great chance to be in the Final Four. The fact that both would have one loss hurt them, but not as much as these two would give the committee the reason to put a PAC 12 team in (the Final Four). That is significant. The regular season schedules of both are equal or better than OU’s. Plus both would have to suffer a major upset before the PAC 12 title game and that is not happening.
A GATEWAY KEY IS THAT THE PAC 12 WILL SEND EITHER OREGON OR UTAH TO THE FINAL FOUR OVER OU IF EITHER REMAIN A ONCE BEATEN CONFERENCE CHAMPION
The issues that OU has to deal with regarding both the SEC and the B10 are that both of these conferences could send more than one team to the Final Four, especially the SEC. With the runner-up in the B10 either being Penn State or Ohio State, that team could be with only one loss, in the B10 title game. Both could trump OU from gaining a spot.
A GATEWAY KEY IS THAT OHIO STATE OR PENN STATE ARE IN THE FINAL FOUR IF THEY STAY UNDEFEATED WHEN THEY GO TO THE B10 TITLE GAME. WINNER IS IN AND THE LOSER IS IN THE SAME SITUATION AS OU. ONE LOSS. REALISTICALLY, THE B10 WINNER MAKES THREE.
LSU and Alabama play Saturday and the loser has a great chance to make the SEC the conference with two in the Final Four. Yes, some of the things mentioned above must happen, such as Clemson losing, or a PAC conference winner with two loses, or a B10 winner also with two loses. Possibilities, but the SEC runner-up, or a one loss Alabama or LSU will get significant support to be in the final four. Right now, I have LSU/Alabama winner playing Georgia for the SEC title. That winner is in and the loser and the loser of LSU/Alabama will also have a strong case. So case in point, you have three deserving SEC teams right now and two could make it in the end.
A GATEWAY KEY IS THAT THE SEC HAS THREE QUALITY TEAMS THAT COULD (and probably would) TRUMP OKLAHOMA
With the Big Twelve and SEC agreement, the Big Twelve winner or runner-up will play in the Sugar Bowl. Baylor could beat OU, win the conference title and still would not make the Final Four. I do not see an undefeated Baylor making the Final Four as of a bias against this program and the Big Twelve. That would put the Bears in the Sugar Bowl. But I do not expect the to win out.
I see OU playing in the Sugar Bowl in all likelihood. We know that an SEC team will match up with a Big Twelve team in that game in New Orleans. Currently, I think it will be Alabama, as of a loss to LSU Saturday night (prediction). That loss would keep the Tide out of the SEC title game. That means the Tide will have only one loss but a rather suspect non-conference schedule will not be advantageous for them. If Alabama or LSU does get the nod for a Final Four even after losing to LSU (or the same with LSU in a loss to Alabama) OU’s opponent would be Georgia.
My ranking of who is in and who is looking from the outside
The winner of the SEC title game
The winner of the Big Ten title game
Clemson if they win out
The Winner of the PAC if the team has only one loss
The Runner-up of the SEC
The winner of the Big Twelve title game if it is a one loss OU
The winner of the Big Twelve title game if it is an undefeated Baylor
The runner-up team of the Big Ten if with only one loss
The third place team of the SEC
The runner-up of the PAC