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Bob Stoops' Sooners keep surviving the rapids of college football

by Berry Tramel Modified: October 17, 2010 at 10:53 pm •  Published: October 17, 2010

This isn't Bob Stoops' best roster. 2001 was better. So was 2003, 2004, 2008 and probably 2009.

But the current Sooners don't have to beat those predecessors. They just have to beat the teams on their schedule.

Which they've done enough to check in at No. 1 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings. Who would have thought?

These Sooners so far have figured out college football. They've survived the rapids.

This sport is not a race and much of the time it's not a beauty contest, even though some say it is. College football is white water rafting. It's all about avoiding the boulders, those you can see (like Missouri this Saturday) and those you can't (Utah State, Air Force).

Here's who these Sooners remind me of so far. The 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes.

That Ohio State team won the national championship with a 14-0 record. Everyone remembers the double-overtime epic against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

What few remember is the rapids. Ohio State won seven games — half their games — by a touchdown or less.

Those Buckeyes beat Cincinnati 23-19 at Paul Brown Stadium; that Cincy team finished 7-7. Ohio State won 19-14 at Wisconsin, which finished 8-6.

Beat Penn State 13-7; those Nittany Lions finished 9-4. Won 10-6 at Purdue, which finished 7-6. Won 23-16 at Illinois, which went 5-7.

Beat Michigan 14-9; those Wolverines finished 10-3. Then Miami.

Remind you of anyone? Remind you of 31-24 over Utah State and 27-24 over Air Force and 31-29 over Cincinnati (at Paul Brown Stadium) and 28-20 over Texas?

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