NORMAN — When am I going to learn that college football is unpredictable?
In 30 years' time, I've seen enough of the game to know better. And yet, for some reason, I thought a week ago that Oklahoma would not be able to get back into the national title conversation.
At 7-1 and four regular-season games to go, the Sooners still aren't quite there. But they made enough progress in one week, just one week, to demonstrate they could get there in the next month.
It took one undefeated team, Clemson, losing and Oklahoma again asserting it can play like an elite team – no small feat for one Saturday, the last Saturday, in October.
Snap of the fingers and, just like that, OU is already back up to sixth in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
The Sooners play one of the teams ahead of them, No. 3 Oklahoma State (Dec. 3). No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama play one another this week. No. 4 Stanford has to play No. 8 Oregon next week.
A door that I thought was shut is now creaking open, more and more.
There were, and still are, two sides to the resurrection of the title hopes. There's the internal and external.
First, the Sooners had to go out and play a game to convince me, and a whole bunch of other folks, that the Texas Tech game was a fluke and not the norm. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but something seemed to clicked with OU after it got behind 17-14 in Manhattan.
Yeah, Kansas State wasn't in a fair matchup, because it couldn't keep up with Oklahoma's speed. But for the Sooners to reel off the final 44 points of the game in a 41-point win? That showed something, to do that to a team that hadn't lost previously. And to do it on the road, sometimes a bugaboo in the Bob Stoops era.
Now OU has to prove that it can play at a high level each week and that it doesn't require a top-10 opponent or ESPN's “College GameDay” showing up for them to get up for a game.
The Sooners are two-touchdown-plus favorites against Texas A&M, and it should be a team to get its attention because of last year's result in College Station and the Aggies' overall talent level.
Then, there's the other side, the things and teams the Sooners cannot control.
I thought there were too many remaining undefeated teams with (relatively) easy schedules for OU to wiggle back into the race. There's evidence already that I thought incorrectly.
Georgia Tech had been horrifically bad on both sides of the ball the past two or three weeks, and it dominated Clemson. I thought Stanford would easily get past Southern Cal, but it took three overtimes for the Cardinal to escape.
How quickly I've forgotten that Nevada sneaked up and got Boise State last season. Why couldn't TCU beat the Broncos this year?
No, this isn't over. Lesson learned. Again.
It's possible. Probable? No, that's pushing it. But possible, so long as OU continues to win and win impressively – and college football keeps being college football.