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OU-Florida State will be a big early season test

by Jenni Carlson Published: August 13, 2011

NORMAN — Less than three weeks to the start of the season, and everyone's talking about big games on the schedule.

The 2012 schedule, that is.

With conference realignment all the rage once again, Sooner imaginations run wild about who Oklahoma might be playing. Oregon? Stanford? USC? Alabama? Florida? LSU? Could those be conference foes a year from now?

It's juicy to consider, isn't it?

But in a season where the Sooners have an eye on a national championship, big games abound in the next few months. Missouri. Texas. Texas A&M. Oklahoma State.

No game is bigger, though, than Florida State.

It will set the tone for the Sooners' season. It may determine their national title chances. Not to mention, it is a grand matchup. These are two of college football's most recognizable powers, programs that have clashed with national championships on the line several times. When they last met with a title on the line, it became a game for the ages.

OU has played for the national championship three times since that 2000 title. FSU has played for none. Heck, the Seminoles haven't even played in any BCS bowl since 2006.

But with a speedy defense, a dangerous offense and a top-five preseason ranking, the Seminoles look like contenders once again.

Of course, plenty of folks thought they were contenders a year ago when they stormed into Norman for a game against the Sooners. They left with a 47-17 whipping that could've been much worse; OU called off the dogs and went vanilla on offense against a defense led by Bob Stoops' brother, Mark.

Had Florida State's defensive coordinator been named Mark Smith instead of Mark Stoops, OU might've had Mike Lupica on its backside again.

Still, it wasn't even close.

“That's why I don't understand all the noise coming from their place,” Sooner linebacker and leader Travis Lewis said last month at Big 12 Media Days.

Noise? What noise?

“You beat us like that because it was in Norman. Wait till you all go to Tallahassee. It's gonna be a different story,” Lewis said, providing a laundry list of what the Seminoles have said.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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