🏈 Sooners still confident in playoff chances
Oklahoma is 10-1 with the potential of closing out the year with two top-10 wins. More on why the Sooners feel good about their playoff hopes if they can finish strong.
✌🏽 Happy Wednesday, friends. Let’s ride.
🏆 Playoff rankings
The Big 12 ain’t too bad this year, is it?
The latest College Football Playoff rankings have Oklahoma at No. 10, Baylor at No. 8 and Oklahoma State at No. 7.
If OU beats Oklahoma State or Baylor loses to Texas Tech, the Sooners will be in the Big 12 championship game, where they will face the Cowboys a second consecutive week.
Back-to-back wins over the same top-10 team would be quite the playoff push for the Sooners, who are still in contention for a playoff berth, especially with both the Pac-12 and ACC out of the mix.
OU winning out might objectively be unlikely, but a College Football Playoff bid is on the table and the coaching staff is fully aware of it.
“We can’t forget the past,” Riley said. “We’ve been through this so much. And if you win, things take care of themselves. … People are going to fold down in the month of November. I mean, it happens every single year.
“… So, you just keep winning. I told our team, even before last week, that the opportunity in front of our team is probably even bigger than what they think it is right now.”
The thing really helping the Sooners? The strength of the conference it is soon to depart.
Oklahoma State provides OU with the potential for two quality wins in as many weeks. And Baylor’s respect from the committee provides OU with as quality of a loss as it can ask for.
There’s still an uphill climb ahead of Oklahoma, but the path is there. At worst, Oklahoma will be going to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl against either Utah or Oregon. If the Sooners win this weekend, a New Year’s 6 bowl seems like a near guarantee.
🗣 Riley speaks
A few highlights from OU coach Lincoln Riley’s Tuesday news conference:
On what OU needs most from Caleb Williams: “The thing I would say for him is we need just a big stack of routine plays out of him. And they certainly don’t make that easy. But the more routine plays that he can make, then I think the big ones from him and from other players on our offense will come that way. And, honestly, when he’s done that, when we’ve done that as an offense, we’ve played pretty well.”
On Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders: “He’s improved a lot through the years. It’s kind of like playing some of these quarterbacks that we’ve played several times over a multi-year period in this league historically. You’ve seen him play as a young guy, and then you see him I think probably making a few less mistakes. He’s always been a tremendous athlete. Everybody’s known that. But he’s obviously running well and a factor with his legs. And I do think he’s really improved in the throw game. Not that he was bad before, but he’s certainly done some nice things this year.”
On Oklahoma State’s defense: “It’s one of the more experienced defenses that, man, I can remember coaching against maybe in my entire career. I mean, it’s got to be top five as far as the most experienced defenses. … It’s a good group top to bottom, and I would say, as you watch them, you don’t just see like a ton of weaknesses on tape. They don’t have an area where you just point to and say, ‘Man, that area is just killing them.’ They’ve got good playmakers at all levels.”
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🤕 Injury report
C Andrew Raym (probable): Raym suffered a knee injury during OU’s game against Iowa State. Riley said he expects Raym to play on Saturday against Oklahoma State.
DB DJ Graham (questionable): Graham sustained a groin injury against Iowa State.
🎧 New podcast!
Joe Buettner and his former podcast co-host, Sean Forster (@onikuno), reunite to recap Oklahoma-Iowa State, a huge Bedlam matchup and the Sooners’ playoff chances.
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📰 Read options
The Oklahoman: How OU's Key Lawrence has become a secondary safety net [Click here to read]
SoonersWire: Mike Gundy doubts Bedlam rivalry will continue after Oklahoma Sooners exit for SEC [Click here to read]
All Sooners: Former Oklahoma CB Tre Brown Out For the Year After Knee Surgery [Click here to read]
OU Daily: Sooners safety Pat Fields named finalist for 2021 Wuerffel Trophy [Click here to read]
OU Insider: Gabe Brkic named a Lou Groza Award finalist [Click here to read]
⏰ On this day
Nine years ago today, Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 51-48 in overtime.