In this week's Take Two, we debate whether Oklahoma can grab one of the top two seeds in the College Football Playoff.
Take 1: Jake Trotter — Yes
First off, why is getting a top-two seed important? Because the Cotton and Orange bowls are the College Football Playoff semifinal sites this year. If the Sooners grabbed a top-two seed, the CFP selection committee would slot them close to home in the Cotton Bowl, where they'd enjoy the home-field advantage.
I don't know if Oklahoma will occupy one of the top two slots Tuesday evening when the CFP selection committee updates its rankings. But the Sooners could be there when the final rankings come out Sunday.
No team in college football has been more impressive than Oklahoma since Oct. 11, when the Sooners inexplicably fell to Texas. They lead all Power 5 offenses in rushing since then. They have a Heisman-caliber quarterback in Baker Mayfield. And they have an average margin of victory during that span of 33 points per game. The committee recognized that last week by bumping the Sooners up to No. 3. And since then, all Oklahoma has done is beat the No. 11 team on the road by five touchdowns.
Oklahoma's resume is beginning to compare favorably with Alabama, who holds the No. 2 spot. The Sooners now have three wins over teams that will be ranked in the top 20 of the CFB rankings. It's very possible Alabama, at the moment, won't have any.
Yes, in Texas, the Sooners have a worse -- much, much, much worse -- loss than Alabama's (Ole Miss could make a New Year's Six bowl). But the committee has indicated it values who you beat way more than who you lost to.
Alabama has ascended up the rankings because of how it passes the eye test. But the Sooners have been just as impressive to watch these last several weeks.
Oklahoma, however, might not even have to pass Alabama to grab a top-two seed. Clemson faces a very dangerous North Carolina squad in the ACC championship game. If the Tar Heels knocked off Clemson, Oklahoma would have a great chance of snagging a top-two seed.
Take 2: Brandon Chatmon — No
The Sooners are one of the hottest teams in college football, no arguments there.
Yet, it’s hard to simply slot them into one of the top two spots in tonight’s College Football Playoff rankings. No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama haven’t done anything to slide behind the Sooners even with No. 3 Oklahoma dominating No. 11 Oklahoma State in Bedlam. Clemson is undefeated, and there’s no reason to think Deshaun Watson and company aren’t worthy of the No. 1 spot they’ve held in every ranking thus far. The Crimson Tide’s lone loss -- at home to Ole Miss -- is looking better down the home stretch with Hugh Freeze’s team taking down LSU and Mississippi State in back-to-back weeks.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma still has an unexplainable loss to Texas dragging it down. An undefeated Sooners squad would be easily in the top two. But that’s not the scenario. Oklahoma laid an egg against the Longhorns and is paying for it.
Above all, these words from Jeff Long lead me to believe Oklahoma, while worthy, still has a ways to go before seeing a No. 1 or No. 2 next to its name.
“While there has been plenty of stability at the rankings 1 and 2, the race for the playoff and the New Year's Six bowls is intense,” Long said last week.
The College Football Playoff committee chairman’s statement -- along with the fact Clemson and Alabama have been No. 1 and No. 2 since Nov. 10 -- makes it seem like the committee considers the Tigers and Tide a step above the rest.
And I don’t expect that to change tonight.