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Horning: If Sooners can win with style, they can do much better than sneak into playoff

  • 2 min to read
OU V Texas Tech Football

OU’s Caleb Williams scrambles on Oct. 30 during the Sooners’ victory over Texas Tech at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Williams has put a jolt into the team and if it can win with that same electricity down the stretch, it could do much better than a No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Can of corn. Piece of cake. Are there any other food or baseball metaphors to describe the easiest things in the world?

I ask because I’m seeking ways to describe how easily Oklahoma will reach the College Football Playoff if it can just keep from losing.

No, the Sooners cannot afford a loss as in previous seasons, but given how they’ve played to date is there a world in which they’d deserve to reach the playoff with another setback?

There is not.

Still, the fear remains OU could be left out with no losses, because it is at No. 8 and here’s one-loss Alabama at No. 2, one-loss Oregon at No. 3, one-loss Ohio State at No. 4, one-loss Michigan State at No. 6 and one-loss Michigan at No. 7.

It feels like collusion by selection committee, but as OU takes the field today against No. 13 Baylor, it has nothing to worry about as long as it wins.

That’s because, when you take a look at the landscape, two things become clear.

One, Georgia is more dominant than anybody realizes. Have you seen the Bulldogs’ scores?

Here they are:

10-3, 55-7, 40-13, 62-0, 37-0, 34-10, 30-13, 34-7, 43-6.

When the best case you can make against the Bulldogs is they only beat Clemson by a touchdown on opening day, your argument is weak.

Nobody else has been in the game with them. It’s just so hard to see them in that light because they represent a school located in Athens, not Tuscaloosa, but those two programs could well meet in the SEC title game and one of them is clearly better this time around.

Two, everybody else in front of OU is likely to lose, many before they get to their conference title games.

Alabama could absolutely lose at Auburn two Saturdays from today. Last Saturday, at home, the Tide beat an unranked team with a lame duck coach, LSU, by six points. They are not invincible and should ’Bama get there, Georgia can prove it on Dec. 4.

Oregon could absolutely lose at Utah a week from today because the Ducks just aren’t that good unless Cal is really good, UCLA is really good and Washington is really good, because all have played them close. And if Utah doesn’t get them in a week, the Utes can get them two weeks later at the Pac-12 title game.

Ohio State should lose again because it’s got Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan left to play and that’s before, should it get there, getting Wisconsin or Minnesota, probably, in the Big 10 title game.


The Bearcats are suddenly living dangerously and still with SMU to play and a road date at East Carolina. Each could beat them and if they don’t, Houston could totally beat them in the AAC title game.

That leaves Michigan and Michigan State, who have the same three teams left, just not in the same order of course: Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State.

Between the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Spartans, two must go down and all three very well will.

OU just has to win.

Or, because it hasn’t been doing it up to this point, win with some style, the way it finally won two weeks ago, and the way it still can against — for the Big 12 — the murderers’ row that remains: Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and probably the Cowboys all over again in Arlington.

Because if OU can win with some style, it doesn’t have to finish No. 4. Why do that when it can finish No. 2.


There’s so much football still to play and so many are about to go down.

The Sooners have played their way into another dramatic November. They might as well take advantage.

Clay Horning

405 366-3526

Follow me @clayhorning

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