It was a Thanksgiving weekend feast that featured plenty of surprises which will result in a brand new College Football Playoff Top 4. The past three weeks have brought fans the same Top 4 – Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Michigan. That will change thanks to a huge win by Ohio State in the Buckeyes annual rivalry game with the Wolverines. The Pac-12 no longer has any hope for a CFP berth, but the Big 12 is still alive. Here’s how it all might shake out.
The Case for Ohio State The Buckeyes dismantled the best defense in the country on Saturday putting up a record 62 points on Michigan in a 62-39 victory. The win earned Ohio State the Big Ten East Division title and a second consecutive berth in the conference championship game. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins became the first player to ever throw for five touchdowns against a Wolverines defense. He also broke Drew Brees’ Big Ten record for most touchdown passes in a season.
The Buckeyes are 11-1 with an absolutely horrible loss to Purdue. Head coach Urban Meyer’s team struggled to beat Nebraska (4-8) at home and had to go to overtime to beat Maryland (5-7). The Buckeyes average over 43 points and 544 yards per game on offense. The defense gives up nearly 26 points a game, but at least they are better than Oklahoma.
The Case for the Sooners Speaking of the Sooners, Lincoln Riley’s squad is also 11-1 after a 59-56 victory over No. 13 West Virginia. Oklahoma leads the nation in scoring averaging over 50 points per game. Quarterback Kyler Murray is outstanding and one of the nation’s best. He has thrown for 3,674 yards and 37 touchdowns. Wide receiver Marquise Brown has been the recipient of 70 of Murray’s passes for 1,264 yards and RB Kennedy Brooks (993 yards) will go over 1,000 in next week’s Big 12 title game.
Oklahoma will have a chance to redeem its only loss of the season, a 48-45 last-minute loss to the Longhorns, next Saturday. With a win, the Sooners might be on their way to the CFP. In the way stands a defense that is simply bad. Oklahoma is the first FBS team to allow 40 or more points in four consecutive games and win them all. Their lowest output of the season was in a 28-21 overtime win over Army. The offense is so good that the CFP committee might not care.
So Who Is it? Ohio State has spent the past few weeks at No. 10. They will likely move up with the victory over Michigan and the loss by No. 8 Washington State. Oklahoma has been ranked ahead of the Buckeyes for most of the season. Will Ohio State’s big win help them leapfrog the Sooners in the rankings? Not likely. Alabama, a 52-21 winner over Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl, will remain No. 1. Second-ranked Clemson beat rival South Carolina 56-35, so they aren’t going anywhere. Notre Dame will stay at No. 3 after beating USC and… <drum roll> … Oklahoma will check in as the new No. 4.
And it can all change after next week’s conference championship games.