The latest rankings could show something is afoot for the playoff selection
Big 12 Report: Did the Big 12 get set up by the selection committee?
The latest college football playoff rankings have me thinking the committee might have a scheme for the Big 12. There are a few elements to this scheme, so let's see what all the elements are to my conspiracy theory.
The Baylor Jump
November 2️⃣6️⃣ #CFBPlayoff Selection Committee Rankings:— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 27, 2019
7️⃣. Oklahoma // @OU_Football
8️⃣. Minnesota // @GopherFootball
9️⃣. Baylor // @BUFootball
🔟. Penn State // @PennStateFball
A victory at home against a disappointing Texas team got Baylor a five spot jump? FIVE SPOTS?
That is crazy! A few weeks ago Oklahoma barely budged when they beat Baylor in Waco but somehow this week the Bears jump five spots because of a victory over the Longhorns? This is one of the wildest moments by this version of the committee so far.
Oklahoma holding steady
That's another win in #ChampionshipNovember.https://t.co/Qo7jWuVWAm | #OUDNApic.twitter.com/lIkRvEyrac— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) November 24, 2019
The Sooners jumped up two spots with the losses of the Oregon Ducks and Penn State. They trail only the undefeated teams, Georgia, Alabama, and Utah.
It is important to note that while the Sooners moved up, it wasn't on their own virtue, it was two teams losing in front of them. Oklahoma though, has a leg up on Alabama and Utah down the stretch.
They have two ranked opponents left on their schedule with a rivalry game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater and a Big 12 Championship showdown with Baylor. Neither Utah nor Alabama can face a team ranked as high as Baylor or a second ranked team.
Now, obviously if Baylor slips up against Kansas the Big 12 is screwed.
A top ten victory over the Bears would be a great data point that Alabama nor Utah would possess. The committee added the best win among the contenders for the fourth spot to the equation with how they ranked Baylor.
Rewarding attempted tough scheduling
Here are the non-conference games for Oklahoma, Utah, and Alabama.
vs South Dakota
vs Northern Illinois
vs Idaho State
vs Duke (neutral site)
vs New Mexico State
vs Southern Mississippi
vs Western Carolina
At some point, the committee needs to reward someone who isn't undefeated but scheduled harder than their opponents. Oklahoma scheduled a team that was supposed to compete for the best Group of 5 team mantle in the Houston Cougars. UCLA was supposed to be solid this year under Chip Kelly.
Utah has a built in rivalry game with BYU which isn't a bad team but isn't a good team. The other two games aren't on UCLA or Houston's level. Alabama's non-conference was a joke this season. They didn't leave the South and didn't play a true road game.
The selection committee needs to eventually reward scheduling when records are equal and the conference's are unbalanced.
Oklahoma's case is solid, but they might need help
An easy victory over Oklahoma State and Baylor would go a long way towards the Sooners making the playoff yet again.
They need help though. Oregon beating Utah would go a long way to keeping the discussion limited to Alabama or Oklahoma for the final spot in the playoff. Auburn slowing down Alabama and playing them close might help the Sooners too. If backup quarterback Mac Jones struggles, the Crimson Tide could be losing support as one of the top four teams. Also, a Georgia upset of LSU in the SEC championship likely voids Utah, Alabama, and Oklahoma's chances.
Of course, should Auburn upset Alabama, the Sooners would be near locks to make the playoffs.