Let me preface this article by saying I am an Oklahoma Sooners fan. I fly an OU flag from the balcony of my apartment that lies closer to Memorial Stadium than the 448 yards Landry Jones threw for Saturday night against Missouri. I was raised by a man with the OU logo tattooed on his calf. I would consider myself somewhere between "rabid" and "obsessed" on the fan scale.
I am not, however, irrational.
The Associated Press released their weekly poll this weekend and sent ripples through Sooner Nation as our beloved Sooners were moved down to No. 2, swapping places with the LSU Tigers. The backlash in Oklahoma has been as misguided as it was expected. I woke up this morning to find two articles on B/R that used the word "screwed" in their title, referring to the AP's apparent disrespect of the Sooners.
If you take off your crimson-colored glasses (and maybe pop a blood pressure pill) and look at both teams objectively, you can see why the decision was made.
The whole idea is very simple. The AP poll is a ranking. They rank teams based on who they think is better. The decisions are made by people who get paid to cover sports. They watch the games with their eyeballs and use their brains to make educated, mostly unbiased decisions.
There is absolutely no way you can watch the seven combined games played by both LSU and Oklahoma this season and conclude that the Sooners are the better team so far. Not by any metric.
The Tigers have looked much sharper (I'll say dominant) in all three phases of the game while playing a schedule that, at the very least, is on equal ground with the Sooners. One could make an easy argument for LSU playing a tougher schedule thus far.
They both beat a top 5 opponent away from home, but LSU looked far more impressive against Oregon than Oklahoma did against Florida State.
They both beat a middle-of-the-pack conference opponent on the rise (Missouri, Mississippi State) but again, LSU looked far superior. Oklahoma trailed 14-3 in the second quarter against Missouri and the OU defense got shredded for 532 yards, mostly by a couple sophomores in their first seasons as starters.
To top it off, LSU smoked a very good West Virginia team last week which, combined with OU's lackluster performance, propelled them to the top...where they belong.
The only argument that exists for the Sooners to be ranked on top is that they were ranked there when the season started and they haven't lost yet. In most seasons that works fine but not with LSU playing this well and OU squeaking by.
And besides, rankings this early in the year do not matter. LSU still has to play Alabama, Florida, Arkansas and the SEC title game. Oklahoma still has Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. The rankings are going to look very different when things start to matter towards the end of the year.
So save yourself (and your arteries) the trouble and just relax and enjoy the season.
Deeeeeeeep breath. Now count to 10. Feel better?
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