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?
Those Buckeyes were ranked 13th in the preseason AP poll. They got up to No. 5 on Oct. 6, 2002, and fell back to No. 6 on Oct. 27. By Nov. 3, those Buckeyes were up to No. 3. On Nov. 10, they rose to No. 2 and stayed there until upsetting Miami.
These Sooners checked in at No. 7 in AP, then fell back to No. 10 courtesy of Utah State. Then weekly, their ranking was seventh, eighth, eighth, sixth, sixth and now third in AP, No. 1 in the BCS.
I'm not saying these Sooners are driving down Buckeye Boulevard. I'm not saying OU will run the table and reach the Big Bowl, and I'm certainly not saying the Sooners will win if they get there.
Forget Missouri; a BCS title game is a Show-Me game for Oklahoma. Show-Me you can win.
But I am saying you don't always see championships coming.
Ohio State won that 2002 championship with Craig Krenzel at quarterback. If you rank Buckeye QBs of the last 10-12 years, Krenzel ranks behind Terrelle Pryor, Troy Smith, Joe Germaine and probably Todd Boeckman in terms of talent.
But Krenzel won and produced in close games. Does anyone know if Krenzel is German for "Landry Jones"?
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.