Alabama is the best team in college football this year. They’re arguably the most storied franchise in history and this may be their best team relative to the competition in decades. Now, the fight to be the first team sacrificed at their playoff altar begins following Ohio State’s dismantling of #4 Michigan.
The Oklahoma Sooners are currently ranked 6th. They’ll likely be ranked 5th heading into conference championship week unless the selection committee decides to do some crazy calculus following #4 Michigan’s loss. That puts the Sooners in the driver’s seat to take the final spot in the playoffs because Georgia, currently 5th, will have to play Alabama in the SEC championship game.
This is being written a bit prematurely. It could be a moot point if either Notre Dame or Clemson lose. At the time of this writing, both are in tighter-than-expected games. If there’s a big upset, I’ll update this post.
If there’s no upset Saturday night, that leaves the Sooners and Buckeyes hoping Alabama wins next week. If they lose to Georgia, they’re almost certainly still going to get the #4 spot in the playoffs. If Georgia loses, OU and OSU will be most likely to take the 4th spot, assuming they win their championship games.
Barring an upset, who should go?
Even if we give them both a fresh slate and not take into account OU being ranked four spots higher going into this weekend, the Sooner still deserve the final spot. It helps that OSU’s biggest win came in the last regular season game, while the Sooners barely escaped Morgantown with a decent win in a game that didn’t feature defense. But the whole body of work for the season favors the Sooners.
OU had the better loss. Texas beat them on a neutral field. OSU lost to unranked Purdue.
Games have been tight for both teams with OSU struggling to put away teams they should easily beat while OU’s defense proved almost as good at giving up points as their offense is at getting points. But style matters, and other than the Michigan game, OSU has struggled to make a statement even when they win.
Lastly, the prospects of a battle of the offensive titans between QBs Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa cannot be overstated. Most other years either one would be a lock for the Heisman. This year, they have to face each other. Murray has slightly better statistics other than having more interceptions. Tagovailoa has been consistently awesome and hasn’t lost this year. Seeing these guys trade shots down the field will be incredible football for those who don’t like defense…
…except for the fact that Alabama has a defense. It’s one of the best in the country to go along with one of the best offenses. The Sooners are dominant on one side of the ball with the most explosive offense anyone has seen since the 2005 USC Trojans. Sadly, their best defensive game of the year was against West Virginia when they scored two touchdowns off fumbles. You know the defense is bad when they “best” game had them allowing 56 points.
Alabama looks awesome on both sides.
There’s still a full week of football and plenty of room for shakeups. Georgia could block both teams by winning. Texas could hit the Sooners for the second time this year. The committee could get creative. We’ll see who gets the nod in a week.