OU football: Mediocre on the road
OU’s road record — 6-6 in the Sooners’ last dozen Big 12 road games — got me to wondering how the Sooners compare to other schools on the road. In college football, it’s difficult to compare straight up on road games, because some schools play periodic losable road games. OU, USC, Florida, etc. Some schools do not.
But conference schedules are a different matter. They’re not all equal — an SEC road schedule is not the same as a Big East road schedule; plus OU, Texas, Georgia and Florida play their annual stiffest opponent on neutral sites.
But still, conference road record is a very good barometer to see how well a team plays in hostile environs.
Using that 12-game measurement, I ran the conference road records of all the BCS-league teams. In the Big 12, OU’s 6-6 conference road record ranks fifth. OSU (9-3), Texas (9-3), Nebraska (9-3) and Missouri (8-4) rank above the Sooners. Sure, the North Division schools have an easier time of it, but then again, OU never plays in Austin. That’s a good trade, 2010 notwithstanding.
The rest of the Big 12 road records: Texas Tech 5-7, Kansas 3-9, Baylor 3-9, Kansas State 2-10, Iowa State 2-10 and Colorado 0-12. Those North schools rarely win on the road.
So where does 6-6 rank nationally? Of the 65 schools in the six BCS leagues, only four are 6-6 in their last 12 conference road games. OU, Wisconsin, Stanford and North Carolina.
That’s not great company for the Sooners to keep. Wisconsin has been very good for a long time, but Carolina has been mediocre for more than a decade, and Stanford has been mediocre most of this decade until this 2010 renaissance.
The Sooners do not make the top 25 in road performance, using this criteria. They are tied for 26th.
Here are the 25 schools with a better conference road record the last 12 games: Florida 11-1, Ohio State 10-2, Alabama 10-2, Oklahoma State 9-3, Oregon 9-3, Texas 9-3, Cincinnati 9-3, Nebraska 9-3, Michigan State 8-4, Missouri 8-4, Virginia Tech 8-4, Northwestern 8-4, USC 8-4, Iowa 8-4, Penn State 8-4, Georgia 8-4, Arizona 7-5, LSU 7-5, Boston College 7-5, Oregon State 7-5, Florida State 7-5, West Virginia 7-5, Miami 7-5, Pitt 7-5, Georgia Tech 7-5.
If you’re interested, the schools at 5-7 are Texas Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Rutgers, South Florida and California.
So the Sooners are within a game of the likes of Rutgers, Oregon State, North Carolina, South Florida, Pitt and Boston College.
And again, you can’t argue too much about conference strength. Maybe the Sooners have a tougher conference schedule than, say, Wisconsin or North Carolina. But if the Badgers never went to Columbus and the Tar Heels never went to Blacksburg, their schedule would be a lot easier.
OU never goes to Austin, yet still is mediocre on the road.
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