As of Monday, OU playoff chances were once again trending upward on Google.
Algorithmic predictions aside, reality has proven less optimistic for Sooner fan hopes.
The College Football Playoff committee released its rankings tonight, and the current top four teams are Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson. OU comes in at No. 8, and Oklahoma State sits at No. 10.
OU (9-2, 9-0 Big 12) appeared to have made a convincing statement Saturday to the College Football Playoff committee with its 56-28 road rout of West Virginia (8-2, 6-2 Big 12) in Morgantown, W.V.
Despite a dominant performance on the road against a CFP top-15 team, however, OU climbed only one spot in Tuesday night’s new poll. Worse even, two-loss Penn State (No. 7) and Wisconsin (No. 6) from the Big 10 remain ranked above the Sooners.
The prospect of any Big 12 team reaching the College Football Playoff seemed unlikely, if not impossible, three weeks ago. Losses by Ohio State (9-1), Washington (9-1), Clemson (9-1) and Louisville (9-2) created hope for OU and OSU fans.
OSU’s playoff hopes hinge on the same factors facing OU, and Cowboy fans want recognition of a strange loss to Central Michigan that occurred on a play that officials later admitted should not have been allowed.
OU playoff chances hurt by schedule
The Sooners strength of schedule does not help its playoff case: Five of the nine teams OU has beaten have at least six losses each. Also, the teams OU has defeated have a combined record of 43-52.
Hope is not entirely lost for the Sooners. No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan face off Saturday in Columbus, meaning at least one team ranked above OU will lose this weekend.
A two-loss Ohio State, however, would likely still be ranked above OU by the CFP committee given its stronger strength of schedule, not to mention its Sept. 17 handling of the Sooners in Norman by 21 points.
OU playoff chances were greatly narrowed after a season-opening loss to the University of Houston and the subsequent thumping by Ohio State, on the same weekend President-elect Donald Trump held a fundraiser in Norman.
The Sooners and the Cowboys will square off 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Owen Field in Norman. The contest will also determine the Big 12 champion.