Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma could still make the playoff with two losses, albeit a long shot

A Big 12 championship win will all but guarantee a spot in the College Football Playoff for Oklahoma. But could the Sooners get in even if they lose to the Horned Frogs on Saturday?

Sports Illustrated writer Chris Johnson posed the question, “which College Football Playoff contender can afford to lose this weekend?” in a Thursday article. The quick answer, Johnson thinks Clemson and Oklahoma might be the only teams actually capable of  ‘affording to lose’ and still make the College Football Playoff top four.

Oklahoma would obviously, however, need a lot help.

“Oklahoma, despite its shaky defense, also should factor into the committee’s deliberations even if it can’t take down TCU for the second time this season,” Johnson wrote in the piece. “For starters, the Sooners arguably would be a more deserving candidate than the Horned Frogs. Hocutt noted in a teleconference on Tuesday that the committee has been impressed with TCU’s defense, whereas the Oklahoma ranks 73rd nationally in yards allowed per play. And, unlike the Sooners, the Horned Frogs would have a league crown to counterweigh Oklahoma’s non-conference road victory over Ohio State. But that same W could elevate the Sooners over Ohio State if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.”

It would almost be insane to think Oklahoma could actually get into the playoff with a loss on Saturday, there would nearly be too many variables.

But things going for Oklahoma: a two-loss team is going to make the playoff if Auburn beats Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. So, the precedent of only 1-loss teams making it in would be out the window.

The other thing going for Oklahoma is its win over Ohio State. In the debate between should a conference champion Ohio State team get in over a 1-loss, non-conference champion Alabama team, the end result is based on the eye test and résumés. But a two-loss Oklahoma team vs. a two-loss Ohio State team? The Sooners’ 31-16 win over the Buckeyes back in September would be all the evidence needed.

The College Football Playoff committee’s rationale has been unpredictable, to say the least. After moving Auburn above Oklahoma in the rankings, it’s safe to say Oklahoma’s margin for error is probably small. But here are a few scenarios to consider if Oklahoma were to lose to TCU and if Ohio State were to beat Wisconsin, based on FiveThirtyEight’s College Football Predictions generator (the teams in bold are the four with the best odds to get in the top four):

Scenario 1: Clemson wins ACC, TCU wins Big 12, Auburn wins SEC, Ohio State wins Big Ten

 Team Odds to make CFP Conference champion
Oklahoma 14% No
TCU 22% Yes
Clemson 99% Yes
Miami <1% No
Wisconsin 5% No
Ohio State 78% Yes
Auburn 99% Yes
Georgia <1% No
Alabama 49% No

Scenario 2: Miami wins ACC, TCU wins Big 12, Auburn wins SEC, Ohio State wins Big Ten

 Team Odds to make CFP Conference champion
Oklahoma 11% No
TCU 21% Yes
Clemson 28% No
Miami 96% Yes
Wisconsin 3% No
Ohio State 74% Yes
Auburn 99% Yes
Georgia <1% No
Alabama 43% No

Scenario 3: Clemson wins ACC, TCU wins Big 12, Georgia wins SEC, Ohio State wins Big Ten

Team Odds to make CFP Conference champion
Oklahoma 10% No
TCU 19% Yes
Clemson 99% Yes
Miami <1% No
Wisconsin 4% No
Ohio State 73% Yes
Auburn 17% No
Georgia 99% Yes
Alabama 55% No

Scenario 4: Miami wins ACC, TCU wins Big 12, Georgia wins SEC, Ohio State wins Big Ten

 Team Odds to make CFP Conference champion
Oklahoma 7% No
TCU 17% Yes
Clemson 31% No
Miami 96% Yes
Wisconsin 3% No
Ohio State 67% Yes
Auburn 11% No
Georgia 99% Yes
Alabama 50% No

Oklahoma’s best bet if it loses to TCU would appear to be Clemson, Auburn and Ohio State winning their conference titles, but even then, the odds aren’t great.

Oklahoma — and the College Football Playoff — can avoid these chaotic scenarios by beating TCU again on Saturday. The 2017 Big 12 Championship Game is set for a 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff on FOX.

The post Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma could still make the playoff with two losses, albeit a long shot appeared first on Diehards.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X