Over at CBSSports.com, Ben Kercheval lays out three reasons to favor Oklahoma over Georgia, while Barrett Sallee goes the opposite way. (Interestingly, both agree that the Rose Bowl winner will go on to take the national championship.)
There’s a certain amount of touchy-feeliness in both pundits’ analyses that I can’t take straight. When you’re having to make Kercheval’s “Oklahoma’s defense ain’t that bad” in the context of a national semi-final game, you’re on shaky ground — is there any other unit in the CFP one has to make excuses for? — and I can’t help but cringe at Sallee’s “Georgia, team of destiny” pitch.
Mixed in, though, are some Pro Football Focus rankings that reinforce how deep and diverse the Sooners’ offense is. Look at their top receivers:
Receivers Jeff Badet, Mykel Jones and CeeDee Lamb rank in the top 15 nationally, respectively, in wide receiver rating* and in the top 10 in offensive success rating (i.e. the percentage of targets that go for a positive play). Additionally, Marquise Brown, the team’s leading receiver with 981 yards, averages 20 yards per reception. That’s fourth-best among receivers who have at least 40 catches on the season.
Take a look at how PFF has them ranked among wideouts with 200+ snaps.
Four of the top twenty nationally? Whew.
And while we naturally assume Georgia has the advantage at running back, perhaps it’s not as big a gap as we perceive it to be.
Here’s a look at how Pro Football Focus ranks the top running backs in the College Football Playoff.
That’s a 2-2 tie. Yes, D’Andre Swift makes for a formidable number three, but Abdul Adams hasn’t exactly been a slacker for Oklahoma in that department, although he has had some injury issues.
Let’s just say we’re going to see a lot of firepower next Monday. Maybe I should buy into that team of destiny stuff a little more.