Oklahoma is probably the Power Five team with the most to prove and sitting at No. 9 after the initial Playoff rankings isn’t a great spot to start.
After all, Oklahoma is coming off a humbling loss at Kansas State and had the week off to let everything soak in. The Committee didn’t do the Sooners or the Big 12 any favors. Oklahoma has three other one-loss teams that are ranked ahead of them, plus Baylor is undefeated and didn’t even crack the top-10.
Now Coach Lincoln Riley needs his players to rally behind him in a pivotal game against Iowa State. The Cyclones have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Brock Purdy and play solid defense. However, Oklahoma needs to play ranked opponents to climb back in the rankings.
Texas is out of the polls, which was Oklahoma’s best win to date. Surprisingly, the Longhorns are the only FBS opponent with a winning record the Sooners have a victory over this season. What really hurts Oklahoma’s resume is all of its’ wins are against opponents with a combined 21-30 record and that doesn’t include FCS foe South Dakota.
The Sooners have Heisman hopeful Jalen Hurts at quarterback, who’s No. 1 in the FBS in total points responsible for. CeeDee Lamb is arguably the nation’s best wide receiver and talented running backs seem to grow on trees in Norman. The offense can pretty much score at will, but the unit won’t always answer the bell in shootout Big 12 games.
It’s the defense that got exposed against the Wildcats. Purdy and the Cyclones have a potent passing attack and will put a lot of pressure on the Sooners’ secondary. It will be a great measuring stick for Oklahoma’s defense and will show if the units’ performance during the last game was just a fluke.
Iowa State is just as hungry for another conference win also. Although they need a lot of help to get back into the mix, the Sooners aren’t completely out of it. Oklahoma’s remaining opponents will have to continue winning. Kansas State has to finish strong, Baylor must remain unblemished and Oklahoma State needs be ranked in the top-15 heading into Bedlam.
Most importantly, the Sooners need the teams ranked ahead of them to lose. One team will fall in the Alabama-LSU game, but probably not out of the top-five. Oregon and Utah are on a collision course, plus Clemson has very little margin for error. Georgia still has to face a dangerous Auburn team and has the SEC Championship Game.
There’s still a lot of football to be played with November just starting and it’s a new season every week. Riley and the Sooners need style points to go along with the wins to impress the Committee. It all starts this Saturday under the lights at home for the Sooners to show if they’re still worthy.