Beating Texas would retool OU season
If OU loses to Texas, then 2009 officially goes in the clunker file as far as Sooner seasons. A 3-3 record in late October? Disaster.
But what if the Sooners beat Texas? A 4-2 record and the Big 12 South lead? What does that do to OU outlooks, and I’m not even talking about the emotional satisfaction of wrecking the Longhorns’ national title hopes.
Here’s a brain-teaser. Before this season, there was a good chance OU was going to be 5-1 on the evening of Oct. 17. Go 5-0, then lose to Texas. OU-Texas is usually a tossup game no matter the circumstances, and eyeballing these Sooners, they weren’t quite as good as we all thought. So even if you reverse those one-point defeats to BYU and Miami, there’s a decent chance OU would fall to Texas and be 5-1.
But if the Sooners find a way to beat the Longhorns now, OU will be 4-2.
So, which would you rather be: 5-1 with a loss to Texas or 4-2 with a victory over Texas?
I say the latter. And not because you would have a pair of Longhorns on your dashboard. If the Sooners get to 4-2, they will control the Big 12 South race and be on pace to win a fourth straight Big 12 title. At 5-1, OU would have a better record but would be behind Texas in the divisional race and would be hoping for Texas to stumble, either two losses or some kind of three-way tie to repeat from 2008.
I don’t think OU was making another national title game with a loss to Texas. The Sooners did that in 2008 and two things would prohibit a repeat. 1. Cosmic forces. No way are we headed for another three-way tie. Far too many things have to happen, and no team seems likely of going 7-1 besides OU and Texas. OSU has too many holes after injuries and ineligibilities. 2. Voters. Lose to Texas and the voters won’t be as kind as they were a year ago, when the coaches narrowly voted OU ahead of UT in the poll and subsequent BCS standings that determined the Big 12 championship game participant. No way would voters let OU slide in again. Which means the Sooners would be counting on Texas to lose twice. Uh, I don’t see it in this watered-down conference. Maybe in Stillwater, but where else?
Of course, at 4-2, OU’s national title hopes are virtually gone as well. LSU made the title game (and won) in 2007 with two defeats but needed all kinds of help. LSU had extenuating circumstances that season; both its defeats were in overtime. Of course, OU has extenuating circumstances; both its defeats were by one point with Sam Bradford sidelined by injury.
Could OU get enough help to rise all the way to No. 2 by season’s end? Doubtful. It would need another USC defeat; some Big Ten losses by the combination of Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State; another Virginia Tech loss; losses by Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and Miami. That’s a long laundry list.
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