Examining Texas Longhorns' and Oklahoma Sooners' Bodies of Work
Much has been made of the argument that Oklahoma’s “body of work” is the reason that they jumped Texas in the BCS polls—Texas didn’t schedule tough enough non-conference foes, didn’t have any strong road wins, etc.
These claims are often repeated by people who don’t bother to dig into the facts and actually compare. Let’s look at some of the claims:
1. Claim: “Texas didn’t schedule non-conference foes as tough as the ones that Oklahoma faced (and beat).” Oklahoma’s wins against TCU and Cincinnati are always mentioned in this argument, but Texas wins are ignored as insignificant.
In fact, Texas opened the season with defending Sun Belt Conference and New Orleans Bowl champion Florida Atlantic and thumped them 52-10. Oklahoma opened against Division 1-AA Chattanooga.
Texas next travelled to El Paso and trounced UTEP 42-13. UTEP isn’t a powerhouse, but they were only one game short of bowl eligibility this year.
Still, the edge does go to Oklahoma in game two for defeating an eventual conference champion (Cincinnati). It’s not as big a discrepancy as the first games of the season were, but an edge, nonetheless.
Game three is quite another matter. While Texas was blowing eventual Conference USA West co-champion Rice away 52-10, Oklahoma was defeating Washington—the only Division I team in the country that failed to win a single game all year.
Game four was essentially a repeat of game two. Texas beat historically tough Arkansas 52-10 (again) in a down year when they missed bowl eligibility by one game (although they did defeat defending national champion LSU).
Oklahoma beat a stronger TCU, giving them the edge. As with the Big 12 South, this argument also ends in a tie.
But the tiebreaker has to be the non-conference road game comparison: UTEP was a much tougher opponent than Washington. The edge goes to Texas for scheduling tougher non-conference foes, not Oklahoma.
2. Claim: “Oklahoma had a tougher schedule overall than Texas,” defeating now #13 Cincinnati, #11 TCU, #14 Oklahoma State, and #7 Texas Tech. But at the time the games were played, Cincinnati was unranked and TCU was #23.
Oklahoma then lost to #5 Texas and didn’t play another ranked team until then-#2 Texas Tech. Texas, on the other hand, beat #1 Oklahoma, and #11 Missouri, #7 Oklahoma State on consecutive weekends before falling in the last second on the road to #6 Texas Tech.
That four-game stretch was so tough that absolutely nobody gave Texas a chance of pulling four wins off, except Texas.
Texas also thumped Kansas (unrated, but receiving votes) on the road late in the season—the same Kansas that beat Missouri last week and gave Oklahoma a scare in Norman!
Oklahoma has defeated more currently ranked top 25 teams, but at the time the games were played, it’s dead even and Texas defeated more top 10 teams.
3. Claim: “Over the course of the season, Oklahoma won by an average of 28.5 points.” Texas won by an average of 25.3 points. The slight difference is due to the fact that Texas pulls starters long before Oklahoma even thinks about it.
If the argument is how well teams did over the course of the season, then Oklahoma has a slight edge, but not enough to overcome that 10-point loss to Texas.
After their double-digit loss to Texas on a neutral field, Oklahoma blew all of their opponents away by an average of 29 points. Texas blew all of their opponents away by an average of 31 points after their last second loss in Lubbock at night.
If the argument is how teams compared in the last few games (after their single losses), then Texas wins again.
4. Claim: “Oklahoma frequently scores more than 60 points a game.” True, but they intentionally run up the score by keeping their starters in the game long after the game has been decided.
To the scoffers who disagree, I ask that they recheck the box scores. Who scored the final OU touchdown with 25 seconds remaining in the game against OSU? Starting tailback Chris Brown.
Ahead by two touchdowns with 25 seconds to go in the game and they CHOSE to use starters to run up the score past 60. They also give up a massive number of points per game, including 41 points to Oklahoma State and 45 points to Texas.
They don’t perform nearly as well against a decent defense. Texas would have taken a knee, and has done so game after game at that point in the game.
Texas pulls their starters when the game is well in hand—usually in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.
Who scored ALL of the fourth-quarter touchdowns the same weekend for Texas in their game? Fourth-string tailback Cody Johnson and second-string quarterback John Chiles. This took place while they were in a “run out the clock” ground game.
5. Claim: “Oklahoma’s loss to Texas was only because they lost a star defensive player to injuries early in the game.” But Texas played the entire Texas Tech game without the top defensive player in the country and their top receiver, who were out due to injuries.
But Texas adapted much better than Oklahoma did, outscoring both Oklahoma and Texas Tech by significant margins in the second half of both games.
The term “body of work”, when used as a reason for putting Oklahoma in the title game, is a hollow claim. The correct term is “piece of work.”
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