Before college football adopted the College Football Playoff, detractors argued that having a playoff would harm the regular season, making the results of some games irrelevant. Well, in practice, the CFP is making some early season games more relevant than ever before.
A loss in this game wouldn’t ruin Oklahoma’s chances at winning the Big 12, but it would effectively destroy Oklahoma’s chances at a national title before conference play even began.
For Ohio State, a road win against Oklahoma would be a major boost to the resume of a team that’s played a somewhat soft (Bowling Green, Tulsa) non-conference schedule thus far.
So while this game isn’t exactly a CFP quarterfinal, it kind of has that feel to it.
Oklahoma Storyline: This is a must-win for the Sooners. It seems like they’ve been written off by a lot of people following a season-opening loss to Houston, but this is still an Oklahoma team that qualified for the playoff last year. Houston is a team many consider a legit playoff candidate this year, so I’m not sure why everyone is in a rush to bury the Sooners for it. Whatever the reasons behind it, a win over Ohio State would be a great way for the Sooners to restore their credibility nationally, but in order to do that, the Oklahoma secondary will have to perform better than it did against Houston.
Ohio State Storyline: There were plenty of questions surrounding Ohio State coming into the season as the Buckeyes had to replace so much talent from last year’s team. The early returns on the replacements are all overwhelmingly positive, as the Buckeyes have won their first two games by a combined score of 125-13. But neither Bowling Green or Tulsa are quite Oklahoma, and now a young team will hit the road to play in a hostile environment for the first time. The good news for Ohio State is QB J.T. Barrett has been through this before.
Game Pick: Ohio State -2.5. If I had to put my confidence in this pick on a level of one to 10 with 10 being the most confident, I’d probably be at a four or so. This is the first time Oklahoma has ever been a home underdog in Bob Stoops’ tenure, and I really do fear that this is all an overreaction, and the Sooners are poised to sabotage the Buckeyes. Saying all of that, though, I do have serious concerns about the Oklahoma secondary, so even if the Sooners offense finds success against a very talented Buckeyes defense, I believe J.T. Barrett and company can outscore the Sooners over 60 minutes.
For full Week 3 picks against the spread, check out our Expert Picks page.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / No. 3 Ohio State at No. 14 Oklahoma line, game pick: An early playoff game?