A win against #24 Kansas this week this week will not bring back hopes of a BCS bowl. That goal has been wiped from the chalkboard.
Lose to the Jayhawks, and a season that finds OU in a tailspin could crash right on Kivisto field.
This game may be the difference between a respectable Cotton bowl showdown, or a lowly Alamo bowl. Both pit Big-12 and SEC teams, but only the Cotton will satisfy Sooner fans wondering where it all went wrong.
Holliday bowl you say? With a loss in Lawrence this week end, they would likely pass over OU for a team like Kansas, or even NU. Leaving, gasp, the Alamo bowl. Not good. Not good at all.
This saturday will mark the 101st meeting(67-27-6 OU, 30-14-3 OU in Lawrence) between the two football programs and will be the 4th between the two head coaches. As many may remember, coach Mangino came to Kansas by way of Oklahoma, where he was the offensive coordinator(2000-01). But the ties between the pair reach back to Youngstown,OH. Stoops' hometown and Mangino's Alma Mater.
Just another friendship to be put on hold, if only for a few hours. Thus is the game of college football. Nothing new for these two.
Bob Stoop's does still find something new this week. A season on the brink of disaster. But thankfully for him, the numbers seem to play in his favor.
The 'fightin Mangino's' are 2-5 against ranked opponents at home with the last win coming in the 05 season and 2-4 against ranked foe's while being ranked themselves(one of those losses to OU last year).
KU is 5-17 all time against ranked teams under Mangino.
The most telling stat may be 3-0, Stoops' record against the Jayhawk head coach. Although, none of those wins came in Lawrence.
If Oklahoma is to avoid a trip to San Antonio, 'big game' Bob needs to notch a road win against his long time friend.
It won't be easy either.
Todd Reesing and crew lit the OU defense up last year to the tune of 491 yards. Reesing was 24 of 41 with 342 passing and two scores. You can say that OU has shored up the holes that the KU signal caller exploited a year ago, but the position he plays requires confidence.
After his performance last year, I would venture to say he is not as intimidated as one would like. Reesing is an Austin native, and if being from Austin isn't enough,as a senior, this Tod's last crack at OU.
As one of the nation's most under rated qb's, his numbers are impressive(330 passing YPG, 27 completions PG, both 3rd in the nation), and he has shown that if he gets in a groove, the only way to beat him is to out score him. Landry may be good, but do you trust him to come out on top in a shoot out on the road?
KU comes into this game with the #4 rated passing offense at 347 yards a game, and while Reesing has the arm, it would be for naught without a guy to catch the rock. In this case, guy's.
The first being the 6-3 200 lbs. junior Dez Briscoe. Who also pasted the Sooner secondary in last years losing effort for a school record 12 grabs, with 103 yards and 1 touchdown. He currently leads the nation in recieving (134 YPG). Think shutting down Shipley(UT WR) was difficult? This reciever may be more talented.
What is not in question is the raw talent of the second guy, converted quarterback Kerry Meirer. Who is 2nd in the nation in receptions(9 per game). Kerry has been known to come up big in games that KU needed someone to make a play. Rarely does he drop a ball, even with contact.
To beat Kansas, these three need to be be held in check, the OU secondary feels up to the challenge.
Coach Venables seems to have finally found the right 'mix' back there. Last weeks loss to the ugly orange saw OU put Joseph Ibiloye in that Roy Williams 'hybrid back', a promising sign. Ryan Reynolds, OU MLB, came out and Keenan Clayton moved up from his SS position. They also switched Sam Proctor and Johnathon Nelson, both FS, in and out due to Nelson's coverage ability.
With this group on the field, Colt McCoy admitted he saw blitzes he had never seen before last week. That's saying a mouthfull. He will finish his career as the winningest qb in NCAA history. You would think he has seen it all.
You would think if it confused Colt, it would puzzle Reesing. You would think.
The Sooners come in boasting a few of they're own numbers as well. #8 total defense, #5 against the run at 68 YPG, #31 in the air at 190 YPG, #4 in sacks with 3 1/2 a game.
But they have yet to stop a team on the road when it counted, Kansas will most certainly give them another chance.
The game will most likely be won or lost here, Sooner D vs. Jayhawk O.
Coach Kevin Wilson (OU offensive coordinator) has said that the Oklahoma offense is close to breaking out, that we are just that one play away. Dont get me started coach. If OU TE Trent Ratterree holds his block a split second longer on UT's Aaron Williams, Demarco Murray would have scored on the opening drive of the RRR. If Clayton just holds onto ONE of those would be int's, he goes for six.
"We've been moving in a good way behind the scenes. we've got to transfer that into big games." he said tuesday morning.
That was most likely about the picked on offensive line. Who last week needed senior TE Brody Eldridge to play OG, and thus became the only Sooner to play three different positions in one single year. No one knows if that's good or bad.
Bad for the line likely. Could only be good for Eldridge though.
Asked if the senior TE, who was recruited from the state of Kansas(prarie view HS), could play any other position, Stoop's quipped "D end". He meant it too.
The edge may go to the Sooners offense this week. Kansas' defense is not as stout as years past. the #53 total defense will have a tough task at hand saturday.
Landry Jones may not be Bradford, but TU can attest that if you take the OU pass game lightly, they will steam roll you.
Jones has thrown a touchdown in every game he has played exept in the BYU game, which a very unexpected apperance. He has two complete games and has had to 'step' in twice when Sam went down with an injury. The former New Mexico gatorade player of the year has thrown for 1111 yards on 91-154 completion rate with 5 int's.
Not to bad for a freshman. Especially with only about half the snaps as everyone else.
One good thing about Jones starting is that no one has scored on us with him taking the first snap. OU recorded back to back shut-outs against Idaho st. and Tulsa.
We dont need a shut out though, but we do need a win. Any way we can get it.
Because if we leave Memorial field in Lawrence without one, any chance of being able to salvage a season torn with injury and heartbreak, will vanish.
Because the Oklahoma Sooner fans are looking to travel to the Lone Star State to go 'bowling', but to the familiar Cotton bowl in Dallas, not the unheard of Alamo bowl in San Antonio.