OU’s Playoff Hopes are Still Alive…but Barely

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While many people may have left them for dead, there’s still an outside chance that OU can squeak into the College Football Playoff this year. And just to clarify, we’re talking about the real OU, not those idiots out in Norman that don’t understand how abbreviations work. Sure, the Bobcats chances took a big hit Tuesday night with an unexpected loss at the hands of Akron, but all hope is not lost in Athens, OH. After crunching some numbers, running millions of simulations (manually, by hand, because Milliron Sports didn’t have much room in the technology budget this year) and studying dozens of résumés from playoff hopefuls, it appears that Ohio still has an outside chance. Admittedly, it’s a pretty big long-shot, but it’s not impossible. Hear me out…
Let’s start with the obvious: Ohio needs to win the MAC Championship in order to have a shot. The CFP committee loves conference champions. Of the 12 teams to participate in the College Football Playoff so far, only one failed to win (or even make it to) its conference championship game. And that team was really, really, really, really good and totally deserved to be in the playoff. You would have to be absolutely crazy to think that team didn’t belong…but I digress. The Bobcats were in the driver’s seat to win the MAC East until Tuesday night’s setback. Now they need some help. In order to make it to the MAC Championship OU needs to beat Buffalo next Friday and Akron needs to lose to a 2-9 Kent State team next Tuesday. While that isn’t likely, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. From there, Ohio would likely face off against Toledo in the championship game, a team they’ve already beaten once this year. Beat them again? That’s what you call a résumé builder. If you can find another team that can say they’ve beaten the MAC West champion twice this season, I’ll eat my hat. Go ahead and try. I’ll wait. Still, even with a MAC Championship under their belts, the Bobcats need some help.

If we’re projecting out the rest of the conference champions, it most likely shakes out like this:

  • AAC: UCF
  • ACC: Miami
  • Big 12: Oklahoma
  • Big Ten: Ohio State
  • Conference USA: Florida Atlantic
  • Mountain West: Boise State
  • PAC 12: USC
  • SEC: Alabama

Even if the Bobcats win the MAC, it’s hard to put them ahead of any of those teams except maybe FAU. How could OU possibly jump ahead of those teams in the eyes of the committee, you ask? It’s simple, really. All the Bobcats need is a nationwide recruiting scandal to rock the college football world. We’re talking free gear, crazy stripper parties, paying players, guys making money off of their YouTube channels, and any other heinous act that these schools try to get away with these days. We’ve already seen one far-reaching NCAA scandal earlier this year with Adidas basketball schools. Think of that, but with Nike and on a much greater scale. All the top Nike schools get wrapped up in it, and they all self-impose postseason bans in hopes of easing any potential NCAA sanctions. That means no more Alabama in the College Football Playoff. No more Oklahoma. No more Ohio State. USC? UCF? Boise State? All gone. That also eliminates some non-conference champions that would likely be placed ahead of the Bobcats. Bye bye Clemson. See you later TCU. Try again Georgia. Also, in a shocking turn of events, the NCAA decided to forgo the investigation against Alabama since their infractions were so egregious, and they hit Alabama with the death penalty and the school was forced to disband its football program permanently and Nick Saban is forced to serve as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach for the next 5 years.

So now I think that gets us down to 6 legitimate candidates: Miami, Notre Dame, Auburn, Wisconsin, Mississippi State and Ohio. Miami, who should still be undefeated at this point, is in for sure. Notre Dame is pretty hard to keep out too, with their only losses coming from tough Georgia and Miami teams. Auburn probably gets a nod too, even though they’ll likely be adding a third loss to Alabama at the end of the year. So we’re basically looking at OU, Mississippi State and Wisconsin for the final spot. If Wisconsin loses to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, they’ve got no shot at getting in. Even if they manage to win that game and finish the season undefeated, I think they’re out. I mean honestly, who have they really played this year?

That just leaves Ohio and Mississippi State battling for the final spot. Nothing immediately jumps out here to give one team the edge over another, so we have to dive a bit deeper. Looking at their schedule, Mississippi State lost to Auburn, who lost to LSU, who lost Troy, who lost to South Alabama, who lost to Louisiana Lafayette, who lost to Tulsa, who lost to Toledo, who lost to Ohio (twice, in this particular hypothetical scenario). This clearly shows that the Bobcats are the better team here, so they earn the fourth and final playoff spot.

And there you have it. The Bobcats have a pretty clear path to the playoff, they just need a few things to break their way. It obviously starts with a win over Buffalo the last week of the year, and the rest is out of their control, but I have a pretty good feeling about this. I am looking forward to the world finally getting to experience #MACtion on the biggest stage. No word yet if the playoff committee will move the games to a Wednesday night, but I’m not sure how you can have it any other way.

OU, oh yeah!

One thought on “OU’s Playoff Hopes are Still Alive…but Barely

  1. Pingback: Wake Up With Whitty – 11/26/2017 | Milliron Sports

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