Is Oklahoma Worthy of No 2 Ranking? You Bet.

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 6:53 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017 6:53 PM UTC

Is Oklahoma worthy of No 2 ranking? Absolutely. Expect to see the Sooners in the College Football Playoff. Here’s why.

For Oklahoma, the No.2 spot is far from new territory, but it has taken a long time to get back there. This is the highest ranking for the Sooners since 2011. The illustrious program has ventured into the top 5 of the Associate Poll 396 times overall, more than Alabama (367) and Ohio State (359).


Hot, Hot, Hot

The Sooners are the hottest teams in the nation, armed with one of the most lethal offenses behind Heisman chasing (second favorite at +500 odds, updated) quarterback Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma owns a nation-best 12 game win streak in which it is averaging a whopping 580.5 total yards and 46.0 points. Only four Power 5 teams own a greater margin of victory than the Sooners’ 20.8 average in this span: Alabama (25.4), Washington (22.4), Michigan (22.1) and Clemson (22.0). Against the spread, Oklahoma is 9-3 overall, beating the number (-14.9) by 5.9 points per game.

Oh, and that win at Ohio State was something else, the Sooners awarded the Football Writers Association of America’s National Team of the Week award for their efforts. The 31-16 victory is the largest home defeat for the Buckeyes since 1999, and head coach Urban Meyer’s third home chalk loss since taking over in 2012. It was also the Sooners second time ever beating a No. 1 or No. 2 team on the road in non-conference play.


Defense Progressing

What stood out most in the win over the Buckeyes was the defense. Believe in this unit. The Sooners held Meyer’s men to just 350 total yards, almost 100 fewer (443) than in Ohio State’s 45-24 victory at the Palace on the Prairie last year. The Buckeyes ran amok in that game, and easily could have been stuffed for more on Saturday if not for a few individual mistakes by Oklahoma defenders. The hiring of Ruffin McNeill as a defensive assistant over the summer, which many analysts viewed as a steal, looks to be paying dividends early. Through the first two games, the unit is playing team defense with an intensity and aggressiveness not seen in Norman for many years.


Upcoming Schedule

A look ahead at Oklahoma’s remaining schedule features some momentum-carrying wins with just three potential trip-ups: the Red River Showdown with Texas, a home date against TCU, and a tough trip to Boone Pickens Stadium versus Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Series. Thier week 3 rival? Tulane Green Wave.

Despite the Longhorns iffy start to the year, this team is chock-full of talent and always proves a tough matchup against the Sooners. Oddsmakers pegged Oklahoma 8-point favorites in advanced wagering over the summer for the Week 6 meeting at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. This number will climb, but bettors beware. Despite some poor teams over the last few seasons, the Longhorns are 2-2 SU in the last four meetings and each of the Sooners’ wins were just by 5 points.

On November 4, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State clash in Stillwater in the Bedlam Series. Advanced lines placed the Sooners 1-point chalk for the matchup. Oklahoma has dominated at Boone Pickens in recent years, going 14-3-1 in the last 18 road trips. Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy has more than enough firepower offensively with quarterback Mason Rudolph and company to hang this season. This will be must watch television.

A Week 11 home date with TCU is no gimme either. Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson makes it competitive every year. The series has been determined by a touchdown or less in seven of the last eight meetings. The Sooners won 52-46 in Fort Worth last year as 3.5-point favorites on the college football odds.

Potential trap games include a road trip to Kansas State and the regular-season finale hosting West Virginia. The Sooners have won by 20 points or more in each of the four meetings over the last two years. Unless a rash of injuries affect Oklahoma, they should roll again.

The Sooners are deserving of a No. 2 ranking, and will have room to lose a game, or maybe two, in seeking a college football playoff invitation. The Big 12 is bringing back its championship game after a seven-year hiatus, which is a boon for teams looking to make the final four.

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