Worst losses of the Bob Stoops era: No. 4, USC 55, OU 19 (2005 Orange Bowl)
When: Jan. 4, 2005
Where: Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Oklahoman headline: FINISHED.
Why it’s on the list: After this Orange Bowl, national championship-game rout, USC running back Reggie Bush said he felt bad for the people who “paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for tickets and didn’t see much of a game.” Indeed. Oklahoma lost its second straight national title game, and this one was ugly. The Sooners took an early 7-0 lead, but Matt Leinart threw four first-half touchdown passes to give the Trojans a 38-10 lead at the break, leaving fans in such a bad mood that they loudly booed Ashlee Simpson’s halftime performance. It was the worst bowl beating in OU football history. Leinart, the Heisman Trophy winner, finished with 332 passing yards and 5 touchdowns; Jason White, the previous year’s Heisman winner, threw three interceptions. Just all in all one of the ugliest, most embarrassing games Stoops has coached at OU, and it couldn’t have possibly come in a worse year — Auburn, the SEC champion, finished the season undefeated but left out of the title game. In five of the six BCS title games since then — the last five, in fact — at least one SEC team has been represented (two last year) and in each of those games, the SEC won the title.
Here is Berry Tramel’s column from the game:
It looked like it would be an unforgettable night from the beginning — and that it was
MIAMI — The night started so gloriously for all things Sooner.
In pregame, Selmon brothers Dewey and Lee Roy, and blood brothers Keith Jackson and Barry Switzer, a quartet that helped write a big chunk of Orange Bowl history, each stepped onto a stage for one more Miami roar.
Then the Pride of Oklahoma and the Spirit of Troy dueled with those songs that are the sound of college football, and out came Jason White with nimble feet and a touchdown pass, and you thought, this really is going to be one unforgettable night.
How right you were.
With a 20-minute spree of the worst football the Sooners have played under Bob Stoops, and maybe anyone else, OU fell under the rampage of the mighty Trojan horses.
With a 55- 19 rout, Southern Cal stamped itself as America’s top college football machine, an admission the Sooners yield grudgingly but without retort.
Worse yet, what was supposed to be a majestic Orange Bowl again shoved the Sooners to fraud status.
For the second straight year, the American sportsman is left to assume that the wrong team made the BCS championship. A year ago, USC was denied the Sugar Bowl, and LSU beat the Sooners 21-14 in a sloppy final that cried out for the Trojans.
This was worse.
This was embarrassing.
“There’s nothing you could say outside of we just got whipped,” Stoops said.
The Sooners got whipped vs. LSU, too, but made a game of it because LSU was limited. USC was limitless.
Now the Sooners know how Texas feels after one of those inexplicable Cotton Bowl brow-beatings.
Now Stoops is one more season removed from being college football’s wonderboy. One more season that ends more with startling questions than answers or even hope.
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