Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia prediction: Ride with the Cowboys

1 year ago 130

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By law, we indispensable sermon the archetypal College Football Playoff rankings. I’ve agelong mocked the made-for-TV lawsuit since nary acceptable of rankings matters until the last release, but adjacent if the bid doesn’t substance overmuch close now, the playoff has been astir agelong capable to person learned a batch astir it.

Only during past year’s unusual and unbalanced COVID-shortened run did each of the apical 4 teams from the archetypal acceptable of rankings scope the last four. In 4 of the six erstwhile seasons, lone fractional of the apical 4 teams from the archetypal acceptable of rankings reached the playoff. In 2014, No. 16 Ohio State roseate to triumph the nationalist championship. In 2015, No. 15 Oklahoma earned a berth. Oklahoma ascended from No. 7 successful 2018, past again, from No. 9, successful 2019.

As galore arsenic 3 spots are up for grabs this season, if Georgia defeats Alabama successful the SEC rubric game. Even if some superpowers advance, the different 2 spots look improbable to beryllium held by the teams presently successful playoff position. No. 3 Michigan State has won 3 games by 5 points oregon less and has 1 of the hardest remaining schedules successful the nation. No. 4 Oregon has already been upset once, has been shaky successful 3 single-digit wins and cannot amended its résumé successful a anemic Pac-12, which hasn’t reached the playoff successful 5 years.

So, who could assertion the unfastened spots? (The committee has already screwed Cincinnati, making it No. 6, contempt the information the Bearcats are ranked No. 2 successful the different large polls and won astatine No. 10 Notre Dame).

No. 5 Ohio State is the astir evident candidate, representing the Big Ten. No. 8 Oklahoma looks similar the adjacent champion bet, fixed its endowment and caller backmost and six-year reign successful the Big 12, but the Sooners’ biggest rival could go this season’s biggest surprise.

Oklahoma State backmost   Spencer SandersOklahoma State backmost Spencer SandersGetty Images

Unlike No. 9 Wake Forest, which has struggled to stay unbeaten contempt playing 1 of the softest schedules successful the country, No. 11 Oklahoma State has already earned a noteworthy win, implicit No. 12 Baylor, successful summation to a roadworthy triumph astatine Texas. The Cowboys volition get an adjacent bigger accidental astatine location successful the regular-season finale against the shakiest Oklahoma squad since 2014, erstwhile the Cowboys past claimed Bedlam. (Oklahoma inactive has to play astatine Baylor and against Iowa State, which bushed the Sooners past season.)

Oklahoma State has the fourth-ranked defence successful the nation. The Cowboys person rushed for astir 200 yards per game, enabling them to support possession longer than immoderate squad successful the Big 12. Best of all, Oklahoma State (-3.5) enters its crippled astatine West Virginia with six consecutive covers.

I’m not picking the Cowboys to scope the last four, but they’re an charismatic agelong shot, successful a akin spot arsenic past playoff teams.

LOUISIANA (-12) implicit Georgia State

The Ragin’ Cajuns are backmost successful the rankings — successful the AP Poll, astatine slightest — aft winning 7 consecutive games. The Sun Belt person has struggled arsenic a large favourite this season, but has been a antithetic squad astatine home, wherever it has won by an mean of much than 23 points per game.

BOSTON COLLEGE (+3) implicit Virginia Tech

Take the points erstwhile 2 of the worst offenses successful the ACC meet. Home turf is conscionable a bonus.

Missouri (+38.5) implicit GEORGIA

After 3 consecutive spotlight games, the Bulldogs volition turn bored aft moving retired to a monolithic lead. Look for Missouri — owed to screen for the archetypal clip this play — to marque a precocious complaint done the backdoor, arsenic Kentucky did successful Athens 3 weeks ago.

NEBRASKA (+15.5) implicit Ohio State

Understandably, the dense enactment is connected the Buckeyes, who person won 4 of their past 5 games against the Cornhuskers by astatine slightest 35 points. But Nebraska is much balanced — ranking 23rd successful full discourtesy and 40th successful full defence — than manager Scott Frost’s blistery spot would pb you to believe. That is wherefore nary of its six losses person travel by treble digits, though the Cornhuskers person faced 4 ranked teams.

Nebraska manager  Scott FrostNebraska manager Scott FrostGetty Images

NORTH CAROLINA (-2.5) implicit Wake Forest

“The preseason polls bash not substance and don’t travel into our discussions,” Playoff Selection Committee seat Gary Barta said with a consecutive look Tuesday night. Then, whitethorn I ask, wherever would Wake Forest — the lone undefeated squad successful the ACC and the lone squad successful the federation to people astatine slightest 35 points successful each crippled this play — beryllium ranked if its sanction were Clemson?

PURDUE (+3) implicit Michigan State

There is lone 1 absorption for the Spartans to spell aft an affectional comeback triumph against their biggest rival. Purdue’s 14th-ranked passing onslaught could instrumentality vantage of the problems that Michigan exposed past week against 1 of the worst secondaries successful the nation.

Navy (+20.5) implicit NOTRE DAME

Remarkably, the Midshipmen person won 2 games this play without completing a pass, but their underrated defence has been the cardinal to one-possession losses against Cincinnati (8-0), SMU (7-1) and Houston (7-1).

TEXAS A&M (-4) implicit Auburn

Bo Nix has been amended of late, but the Auburn backmost — who was held to 144 yards passing successful past year’s gathering — volition instrumentality to maddening signifier against the SEC’s second-best defence and 100,000 oregon truthful of its closest friends.

Baylor (-7) implicit TCU

A bizarre crippled begins without ex-TCU manager Gary Patterson connected the sideline for the archetypal clip successful 2 decades, but successful beforehand of the stadium successful statue form. The Horned Frogs person mislaid 5 of their past six games — including 3 consecutive by treble digits — and the abrupt dismissal of a manager who had been expected to discontinue successful Fort Worth volition further fluster a squad successful shambles.

Wisconsin (-13.5) implicit RUTGERS

During their four-game triumph streak, the Badgers are giving up 8.5 points per game. Rutgers, which is averaging 12 points per crippled successful Big Ten play, whitethorn ne'er marque it to the reddish zone.

Rutgers manager  Greg SchianoRutgers manager Greg SchianoAP

Tulsa (+22.5) implicit CINCINNATI

I knew the committee couldn’t beryllium trusted to bash close by the Bearcats. Now, Cincy has to gain backmost our spot aft back-to-back underwhelming efforts against monolithic underdogs.

ALABAMA (-28.5) implicit Lsu

Last year, DeVonta Smith seized the Heisman Trophy by signaling 219 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns by halftime of a 55-17 triumph implicit LSU. This weekend, Bryce Young makes his strongest lawsuit to go the archetypal Alabama backmost to triumph the award, facing an hostile that was incapable to tract capable players for signifier past week owed to galore injuries.

MICHIGAN (-20.5) implicit Indiana

Despite their illness astatine Michigan State, the Wolverines are inactive successful power of their season. The Hoosiers (2-6) — and their freshman quarterback, Donaven McCulley, who is making his 2nd commencement — volition marque it casual to bounce back. Even Jim Harbaugh can’t messiness this 1 up, I think.

WASHINGTON (+7) implicit Oregon

The Ducks person failed to screen their past 4 games arsenic favorites, repeatedly dropping hints of an inevitable 2nd nonaccomplishment this season. Good teams win. Playoff teams cover.

Best bets: Oklahoma State, Navy, Baylor
This play (best bets): 59-74-2 (16-11)
2014-20 record: 904-866-15