The Oklahoma Sooners Scare Me: 3 Reasons Why I'm Skeptical Of OU's Place In The Final Four

"Man, I didn't think we'd beat the brakes off of Oklahoma State like that. I need a drink." – Uncle Bill

My Uncle Bill is not only the seminal father figure in my life, but he's also serves as a good barometer on the quality of our favorite college football team, the Oklahoma Sooners. So when he called me midway through the third quarter of Bedlam as OU was up four touchdowns, I picked up the phone curious as to what he had to say. My Uncle's tone was muted, as he sounded almost beleaguered to what was being broadcasted by his cable provider. I shared in my Uncle's befuddlement, as the reality we were facing as Sooners fans was a simple one.

Are the Oklahoma Sooners really this good? Are they worthy of a #3 ranking? Can they actually win a national championship?

Don't take this as cautious pessimism, although if you know me, then I understand you questioning my ability to be objective about my provincial love for the Sooners. However, there are a few things that are unquestionably true and should ring all the bells and whistles of concern relating to a team being Final Four worthy.

ONE: OU's loss to Texas is the worst loss in college football this season

The fact that OU has been able to rebound from such a heinous loss is remarkable, but the moment the clock hit triple zeroes in the Cotton Bowl with Texas escaping with a 24-17 win, I penciled the Sooners in for eight wins and a trip to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. Texas is an awful team this year (even if they had three losses decided by three points or less) and are currently ranked 104th in total offense and 86th in total defense (out of 128 FBS teams) with one game remaining against Baylor. Those rankings are probably going to get worse.

Given OU's stature this season, the loss is inexcusable. Some might say that Oklahoma has a non-conference win over an eight-win Tennessee plus three big conference wins over top-25 ranked Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State to lean on. That's when I remind you of the following...

TWO: OU avoided playing against Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State's best QB

Technically that statement is not 100% accurate, as Oklahoma State's QB1 Mason Rudolph limped in for three pass attempts, one of which was a pick-6 interception that essentially buried the Cowboys.

Nov 21, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners safety Steven Parker (10) deflects the pass attempt by TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Bram Kohlhausen (6) on a two point conversion try during the fourth quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma's November schedule was served to Bob Stoops as a gauntlet to determine whether his Sooners were actually legit this season. On the road at #6 Baylor, at home vs. #18 TCU, on the road at #11 Oklahoma State. Three big wins later, OU clinched their place in the Final Four. However, under closer examination...

  • OU 44, Baylor 34: Baylor's QB1 this season was Seth Russell, and as the Bears signal caller he went 7-0 while scoring no less than 45 points in each contest. Russell suffered a broken bone in his neck (!!!) and was summarily shut down for the year. Yes, Baylor was fortunate enough to bring in the #1 ranked HS quarterback to replace Russell in Jarrett Stidham, but Stidham only had one game (vs. Kansas State) under his belt before facing Oklahoma. Stidham's effort was admirable, but OU dodged a major bullet by missing Russell.
  • OU 30, TCU 29: Missing Russell is one thing, avoiding the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy in Trevone Boykin is something else altogether. Add on top of that missing arguably the best receiver in college football in Josh Doctson, and Oklahoma was poised to cruise to an easy victory. With a 30-13 lead, TCU took out Baker Mayfield (concussion) and their third-string QB Bram Kohlhausen did his best Boykin impression to get the Horned Frogs to pull off a major upset. Steven Parker's pass deflection on the critical two-point conversion saved OU, and officially made the Sooners a possibly in the Final Four.
  • OU 58, Oklahoma State 23: We mentioned Rudolph's 0-3, 1 Pick-Six performance in this game earlier, but the reality is that JW Walsh stepped in the QB1 role with just 29 pass attempts for the season. Walsh threw the ball 42 times but was highly ineffective in keeping up with Oklahoma in a track meet. Rudolph's ability to pass on a shaky OU secondary plus Walsh running read option in the red zone would've made for a very interesting contest in Stillwater. instead, we got a blowout.

Oh, and that Tennessee victory? Bob Stoops said it "maybe my favorite" win of his career, because Oklahoma had no business winning that game.

THREE: This might be the stupidest team in OU history

There's a great benefit in young and stupid, as that lack of awareness can allow for people to try and do things they have no business doing.

Watching Baker Mayfield pull off his greatest imitation of Russell Wilson and Johnny Manziel is part magic trick, part athletic ability, and part stupidity.

Watching Eric Striker blitz on every single down is part lunacy, part genius and part stupidity. It's one thing for Mayfield and Striker to play with reckless abandon, partly because their ambition is what drives OU's success, but the rest of this team suffers mightily from lacking judgment, awareness and intelligence.

It's one thing to suffer from blown coverages in the secondary or being penalized for being aggressive, it's another thing when players are tagged with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the biggest games or when you quarterback decides to try and win the football game by himself. This is the life and times of a Bob and Mike Stoops coached football team, as the temperature can get really hot or cold. This year, OU has found a way to not overheat, but the radiator's been through hell and back this season.

In a conversation with my brother and fellow Sooner fan Kenny Masenda, we rambled for a bit following OU's drubbing of Oklahoma State, this is customary fare for the both of us. Usually I'm long winded and full of commentary to share while Kenny either agrees quietly or tells me I've lost my damn mind. This time, my thought was simple focused.

"This Oklahoma team is totally capable of winning the national championship. Unfortunately, this Oklahoma team is also totally capable of embarrassing us on national television." -- Me

Baker Mayfield has been the best quarterback in college football this season and will be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon is the best running back duo in college football and both will be playing on Sundays for a long time. Sterling Shepard is now one of the three greatest receivers in Sooners history. There's first-round NFL talent on the offensive and defensive lines for the Sooners, and the back seven is loaded with speed and athleticism...

...and yet I'm terrified to see what happens with Oklahoma in the Final Four. They are the biggest enigma in college football, and the quicker you embrace that fact, the easier it will be to manage your expectations.

If you know an Oklahoma Sooner fan, do them a solid for the holidays and buy them a gift of their favorite vice. Trust me when I say their nerves are shot, they stare off in the distance for minutes at a time, and they're totally unsure of what will happen on New Years. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go smoke a cigarette and wonder what the true meaning of life is.

8 Replies to “The Oklahoma Sooners Scare Me: 3 Reasons Why I'm Skeptical Of OU's Place In The Final Four”

  1. Agreed, Biggest OU fan ever here. But you can do that with every team. A fourth and twenty five with Mississippi. Bama is on the outside with Mississippi in the Ship. If butts- you have to be lucky and good. . The best team MOST OF THE TIME DOSENT WIN. Its about Brand and playing the best at the end and perception. If Oklahoma was TCU last year- Bama has another title. OU is good this year - good enough to win it all. Baker makes that much difference. The best game I have ever seen an OU quarterback ever play was against Bama in the Sugar two years ago. Now he cant complete a pass. Its about consistent play- If our OC runs the ball 30+ times a game- in the next two -we could win it. If he tries to throw every down like against Texas and ( still scratching my head against TCU 17 point lead 3rd quarter and second team quarterback in throwing the ball and playing fast) what? Kenny Wright

    1. I agree that you can do that with every team, so my counter would only be that maybe I'm too close to OU since I'm a fan. It probably makes me more critical than others might be.

      I guess my entire point is that...yes, I think this team is really good, and they can beat any team in the Final Four. I'm also of the belief that OU could get run out the building by a team that's at full-strength and given a month to prepare with their QB1. Thanks for reading @disqus_giHgNbg8Fd:disqus.

      -Ed.

  2. Youre wrong.. The worst loss was UNC vs. S. Carolina.. If you cant find that simple element, no reason to give the rest much consideration.. Perine, Mixon, Mayfield, Stryker, Jordan Thomas (think shutdown corner), Tanner, Sheppard.. Really? This is the most stupid team? That was the second wrong conclusion, the rest is just the self loathing of a misguided sooner fan who somehow BS'd some media outlet to let him write dribble and trash for a column. Look at the FPI, look at the top 40 wins, look at the percentage of games won against teams over .500, look at SOS.. Who the F is this journalist? Your daddy scared you and made you have a bad dream or something? Your brother did what to you when it was dark? Im looking at the best team in CFB over the last 6 games, I dont know who youre looking at.

  3. Looking forward to the "Top 3 reasons" for each of the contenders.................or is Oklahoma being singled out here. Keep writing garbage like this. The only thing "stupid" here is this article, and me for having wasted precious moments of my life reading it, and even worse, taking the time to comment.

    1. this isnt garbage, it is possible. did u live thru the OU/USC national title game embarrassment in 04 or 05? did u see OU last January get HUMILIATED by Clemson & Venables?

      OU has a history of not showing up. I am a huge OU fan and think they have a very good team and could win it all, but every fan has seen OU not show up. Stoops is not the best motivator. And the Stoops brothers have blown it before in not preparing well for big stage games.

  4. i am a big OU fan for many years. I am happy OU will likely be in final four but am concerned too. OU's team that got destroyed, humiliated, embarrassed by USC in the National title game back in 04 or 05 will put a lifetime of 'concern' in any OU fan. We thought OU was great then. Jason White was a Heisman winner. We had Peterson at RB. And we got HUMILIATED. it was sick.

    if you are an OU fan, you will never forget how awful that night was. And although I believe OU is very very solid right now and could win it all, i do have a twinge of fear of NOT SHOWING UP (like for Texas game and for Clemson bowl last January, etc), and OU getting pounded, and the nation once again saying, "why the heck do the overrated sooners keep getting in the title game?" (or now the CFP).

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