And so, as another fascinating season college football season begins to wind down, we’re left with an interesting question. Between the Oklahoma Sooners and Ohio State Buckeyes, who is the better football team? Who’s more deserving of a spot in the playoff?
As the rankings currently illustrate, the Sooners are one spot ahead of the Buckeyes. Should Ohio State be deemed the superior school? Let’s do a little digging. Sooners and Buckeyes fans, you may want to look away – we’ll be shining a light on some of the dark corners in the parlor room for this piece.
The first logical step in our analysis is to examine the one loss each team suffered during the regular season. Oklahoma lost to Texas on a neutral field by a mere three points. Ohio State, by comparison, lost to unranked Purdue in West Lafayette. By a lot. 29 points, to be exact. It was a definite drubbing.
Those Buckeyes can thank their lucky stars their porous defense didn’t let them down again at the end of some other close contests this season. It took overtime for the Buckeyes to put Maryland in their place, and old nemesis Penn State held Ohio State in check for most of the game in Happy Valley. They simply couldn’t close it out, losing yet again by one point. Perhaps worst of all, Ohio State had to fend off a challenge (at home, no less) from Nebraska. This is a program that, although it improved throughout the season, went 4-8. The Buckeyes only won by five. Yikes.
Oklahoma has had their fair share of struggles during the regular season as well, as their record isn’t exactly spotless either. Like Ohio State, there are several games where the Sooners simply survived. If we’re discussing porous defenses, well, Oklahoma gave up at least 30 points SIX times this season.
The Big XII isn’t exactly known for Saban-esque defenses, but any school that gives up 40 points to a bottom-feeder like the Kansas Jayhawks deserves some extra scrutiny. This year’s Sooners squad also held off close challenges from Texas Tech (51-46), Oklahoma State (48-47), and West Virginia (59-56). Unlike Ohio State, Oklahoma has the opportunity to avenge their only regular season loss when they clash with the Texas Longhorns for the Big XII title.
So, with all of that in mind, after the dust clears this weekend, who can we expect to see punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff? Based on each team’s resume, if both teams win their conference title games by at least 10 points, I give the edge to the Sooners. As hideous as their defense has been, their only loss is more impressive than Ohio State getting embarrassed at the hands of the 6-6 Purdue Boilermakers. Beyond that, the Buckeyes’ close contests were against some inferior opponents. Maryland and Nebraska? I’m looking at you.
Of course, all of this speculation will be irrelevant when the Georgia Bulldogs pounce on Bama and both the Sooners and Buckeyes get knocked from playoff contention, right?