Tramel: OU 11th in first College Football Playoff rankings, close enough to challenge for a bid
The College Football Playoff committee placed OU 11th in the initial rankings of the group that will decide the four-team field in this pandemic-stricken season.
That’s excellent news for a Sooner team trying to climb back into playoff contention after losing its first two Big 12 games.
The Sooners are ranked above unbeaten Pac-12 teams Oregon and Southern Cal (both 3-0). The Pac-12 is playing an abbreviated season due to COVID-19, with a maximum of seven games.
Committee chairman Gary Barta, the Iowa athletic director, was asked about the Pac-12’s ceiling, with such fewer games.
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“I don’t want to predict a ceiling, but with three games, let’s take Oregon,” Barta said. “They’re playing at a high level. They haven’t yet played or beaten a ranked team. Right now, we have three games to evaluate. We put them where we think they should be for now. We have four more weeks of the CFP meeting. I’ll look forward to having more games in that resume’, to see where they go from here.”
By winning out, the Sooners could finish 9-2 and ostensibly would jump above No. 9 Georgia and No. 10 Miami. But to rise further, the Sooners would need some help with defeats from the top eight teams.
Barta admitted the rankings were a challenge with such a disparate number of games played.
“We knew that coming in,” Barta said. “You’re evaluating teams that have played three games against teams that have played eight or nine games, but we embraced the chaos and really had a good time putting this first ranking together.”
OU has come from far back in the rankings to make the playoff, but only when they’ve had one defeat.
In 2015, OU was 15th in the first rankings, with a 7-1 record, but rose all the way to No. 4 and was selected for the playoff.
Last season, OU was 10th in the first rankings, with a 7-1 record, but again rose to No. 4 and made the field.
OSU was ranked No. 23, with a 5-2 record. Other Big 12 ranked are No. 13 Iowa State and No. 17 Texas.
Tulsa also made the rankings, at No. 25.
The playoff committee never has selected a two-loss team for the field.
Here is the committee’s top 25:
1. Alabama 7-0
2. Notre Dame 8-0
3. Clemson 7-1
4. Ohio State 4-0
5. Texas A&M 5-1
6. Florida 6-1
7. Cincinnati 8-0
8. Northwestern 5-0
9. Georgia 5-2
10. Miami 7-1
11. Oklahoma 6-2
12. Indiana 4-1
13. Iowa State 6-2
14. Brigham Young 9-0
15. Oregon 3-0
16. Wisconsin 2-1
17. Texas 5-2
18. Southern Cal 3-0
19. North Carolina 6-2
20. Coastal Carolina 8-0
21. Marshall 7-0
22. Auburn 5-2
23. OSU 5-2
24. Iowa 3-2
25. Tulsa 5-1