Oklahoma definite outsider in this College Football Playoff
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA — No team in the College Football Playoff has claimed more national titles than Oklahoma.
History, though, doesn’t carry much weight in this year’s field.
The Sooners are the clear outsider.
No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson have established themselves as the nation’s best teams over the course of the long season. All three have 13-0 records. All three have sampled the top spot in either the CFP or Associated Press rankings.
Then there’s fourth-ranked Oklahoma (12-1), which had to overcome a shocking loss to Kansas State and get a lot of help just to nab the last spot in the four-team field.
The Sooners are a whopping 13 1/2-point underdog heading into their Peach Bowl semifinal against LSU on Saturday, one of the widest betting lines in CFP history.
And, yes, that stings a bit.
“It’s crazy, man, how they’re dogging and looking over us like this,” cornerback Parnell Motley said Thursday. “It is so disrespectful, like we’re not a national contender team.“
That’s certainly not the case.
Oklahoma is the school of Wilkinson and Switzer, of Sims and Selmon, of Mayfield and Murray — one of the most storied programs in college football history.
While the Sooners do have the longest national championship drought of the four teams — their last consensus title came during the 2000 season — they have finished No. 1 in the AP poll seven times, a tally topped only by Alabama (11) and Notre Dame (8).
In recent years, Oklahoma has maintained its place among the nation’s elite programs. This will be the third straight year (and fourth time in the playoff’s six-year history) the Sooners have earned an invitation.
Of course, they have yet to clear the next big hurdle: winning a semifinal.
In 2015, the Sooners were blown out by Clemson 37-17 in the Orange Bowl. Two seasons ago, there was a heartbreaking 54-48 overtime loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl. A year ago, Alabama built a four-touchdown lead by early in the second quarter on the way to a 45-34 triumph in the Orange Bowl.