Oklahoma: The Other Ohio State

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Oklahoma: The Other Ohio State

It happened again.

When Ohio State was thrashed in this year's early season spotlight game against Southern California, the college football world collectively said the same thing: “We knew it.”

The Buckeyes dropped out of the top 10 in the rankings.  The pollsters even voted the Buckeyes below fellow Big Ten school Wisconsin, a team the Buckeyes will likely defeat handily in three weeks.

Now it will take multiple losses by every SEC and Big 12 team, a Conference USA upset of East Carolina, and a meteor destroying Los Angeles—among other things—for the Buckeyes to have another crack at the national title game.

 

No one wants to see the same team storm through a mediocre conference schedule only to turn the national title game into a laugher.

 

Because of this, the college football world needs to be proactive in seeking out the other potential frauds that are primed to punch their tickets to Miami.

 

The place to start the investigation is Norman, Oklahoma.

 

Just like Ohio State, Oklahoma has played in four BCS bowls in the past five years.  Ohio State won its first two, and Oklahoma won zero.

 

Ohio State's last two seasons, when the Buckeyes dominated their regular season schedule only to suffer embarrassment in the BCS title game, were exactly like Oklahoma's 2003 and 2004 campaigns.

 

In 2003, Oklahoma was took its Heisman-winning quarterback into the BCS title game as a seven-point favorite.  And exactly like Ohio State in 2006, the Sooners were clearly outplayed on the national stage.

 

Heisman winners Jason White and Troy Smith combined for no touchdowns, three picks, and showings poor enough to warrant returning the trophies to the Downtown Athletic Club.

 

In 2004 and 2007, players from both teams took every opportunity to work in the phrases, “All about the team,” “Only focused on a championship,” and “Earn everyone's respect” during interviews.  Once again, both teams were the boys in the Men versus Boys matchups that became the BCS title games.

 

Think going back to 2003 and 2004 is unfair to Oklahoma?  Fair enough.  All players from the 2004 USC beatdown are gone.  Comparing only the past two seasons can get the point across as well.

 

The 2006 campaign was a relative rebuilding year for Oklahoma (a compliment to the program), yet it still managed to take back its Big 12 crown. But no matter how much of a rebuilding year it was, the Sooners never should have lost to their WAC counterparts in the Fiesta Bowl.

 

And no, despite some great plays, Boise State was not a great football team in 2006.  Their players were smaller and no more talented than Oklahoma's.  The Broncos flat outplayed them.

 

Last year, Oklahoma started the year ranked ahead of Ohio State.  The only reason Oklahoma didn't get pasted in the BCS title game instead of Ohio State was the Buckeyes played more consistently during the year.  Oklahoma slipped twice, against Colorado and Texas Tech, and Ohio State only slipped once.

 

Even if Sam Bradford wouldn't have been injured against Texas Tech, he could not have stopped the Red Raiders from running off 27 straight first half points.

 

Even so, after the Sooners manhandled Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game, some media members were calling for them to be granted a spot in the BCS title game.  Their matchup with West Virginia was deemed the five-star lock of bowl pools around the nation.

 

Yet after it was all said and done, the Sooners lost by 20—and looked terrible doing it.

 

Basically, despite the fact that Ohio State performed more consistently during the regular season and played better competition in its BCS bowl last year, the Buckeyes' reputation took a far worse beating than the Sooners' did.

 

Admittedly, there's no way to predict how a team will perform in big games from year to year.  It's even possible Ohio State could make its way back to the BCS title game this year only to find itself with a favorable matchup for once.

 

But for those that just knew Ohio State would wet the bed this past weekend—because they've been doing it for so many years—any expectations about the Oklahoma Sooners should be examined further.

 

Much like last year, Oklahoma started this season by destroying its early season opponents and looking unstoppable on offense.  They've jumped to the top spot in the polls for all schools not named USC.

 

In fact, the Sooners seem to be on a collision course with Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game.

 

The dream matchup of unbeaten Missouri and Oklahoma in early December would undoubtedly be dubbed The Game of the Century by ABC during the week leading up to it.  Hopefully, if it comes to this, the game will live up to the hype.

 

Many are still bitter about the last Game of the Century: 2006 Michigan versus Ohio State.

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