Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
These opinions are falling like leaves.
n Pucker up, Big 12.
After last weekend’s cataclysmic outcomes, this conference just might have kissed the College Football Playoff good-bye.
The biggest stunner, of course, was then-No. 5 and undefeated Oklahoma losing, 48-41, to Kansas State. That was shocking.
Besides the Sooners crashing, formerly No. 15 Texas lost to TCU, 37-27; Oklahoma State knocked off then-No. 23 Iowa State, 34-27; and Kansas upset Texas Tech, 37-34.
What do those losses have to do with Oklahoma, perhaps, being on the outside looking in at four other CFP participants?
It speaks to the overall competitiveness of the conference. One school pretty much has to rank head and shoulders above the rest of the league members in order to gain a berth in the College Football Playoff.
If that isn’t the case, which last weekend’s Big 12 outcomes seem to indicate, then the odds are that conference won’t be represented in the CFP.
That’s the limbo Oklahoma lives in now.
Yet, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley refuses to succumb to that sort of thinking.
“We know what it takes to do this thing and we have to get better,” said Riley on the Big 12’s weekly conference call on Monday. “Now, you’ve got to respond to adversity and that’s what we plan on doing.”
After all, Riley has been there, done that.
In 2016, 2018 and 2019 Oklahoma reached the College Football Playoffs despite having one loss. In ’16, Oklahoma lost to Texas, 24-17, during the regular season. In 2018, the Sooners were defeated by Iowa State, 38-31. And Oklahoma still reached last season’s CFP despite losing to Texas, 48-45, during the regular season.
So, during the conference call Monday Riley was asked if this defeat felt any different than the three previous times the Sooners lost, yet still advanced to the College Football Playoffs with one loss.
“Not at all,” he replied. “I feel no different. I think this team is just as capable as the teams we’ve had in the past. Now, we have to narrow our focus. We can’t worry about all that on the outside.
“We’ve got to get back to playing our very best ball on all three sides [offense, defense and special teams]. If we do that, then I think it will take care of itself.”
Perhaps, Riley is right.
The problem is the potential field for the 2020 CFP contains some nuances the previous fields didn’t have. For example, it’s very unlikely Ohio State and Clemson are going to lose. And the winner of Alabama-LSU probably will be undefeated. So, could a one-loss Oklahoma get the CFP bid ahead of a one-loss Alabama or a one-loss LSU?
It’s very doubtful.
That’s the potential reality Oklahoma is facing.
n Conference USA’s coaches preseason men’s basketball poll did something for Marshall University head coach Danny D’Antoni.
A great big favor.
When Marshall was ranked a lowly No. 11 out of 14 C-USA basketball programs, D’Antoni had to act disappointed outwardly.
He was doing hand-springs.
That’s because this ridiculously low No. 11 ranking takes all the pressure off Marshall’s young team. Yet, at the same time, it places the proverbial chip squarely on the Herd’s shoulders.
It’s a win-win situation.
Thanks, C-USA coaches.