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Oklahoma football: Lackluster victory raises questions about OU's BCS hopes

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — It's looking more and more like the Big 12 could get two teams into BCS bowl games — thanks, Alabama — but Oklahoma's performance on Saturday didn't do anything to show the Sooners deserve one of those spots.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 10, 2012

NORMAN — As Oklahoma lined up to try and keep Baylor from notching a two-point conversion and pulling to within one score late in Saturday's game, a cheer went up from the top of Section 32.

Nothing had happened on the field.

But something had on another one.

The Sooner fans sitting high in that lower-bowl section could see televisions in the suites above them, televisions that were tuned to the Alabama-Texas A&M game. When the Aggies intercepted the Crimson Tide and scored the season's biggest upset, folks erupted.

The national title picture continues to come into focus, and it looks more and more like the Big 12 is going to have two teams in the BCS bowls. But on a night that OU won 42-34 and struggled to put away Baylor — the Sooners didn't keep the Bears from converting that two-point try and needed to recover an onside kick in the game's final minutes — you have to wonder if OU is going to get one of those BCS spots.

The assumption has been that OU would win out.

Play again like it did Saturday, though, and that isn't the foregone conclusion that we thought.

“I feel like we just need to push,” Sooner tailback Damien Williams said. “Everybody just keep pushing as a team.”

OU didn't seem to do that Saturday. There was no sizzle. There was no spark.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops called it a good solid win.

I can buy that.

But against a Baylor team that lost to TCU by four touchdowns and Iowa State by two touchdowns, OU was expected to have more than a good solid win.

It was supposed to blow the Bears' doors off.

That didn't happen.

It was primarily because of the Sooner defense, which as been spectacular all season. Even though the Sooners held the Bears to a season-low 424 yards of offense, they gave up 252 yards rushing. That's a big number for any defense to surrender, but for a defense that's been as good as OU's, it's big and shocking.

“The way we had to defend them with the pass,” Stoops said, “we knew we'd pay for it on the run.”

And the Sooners did.

Even though Bob tried to explain the rushing numbers as a necessary evil of defending Baylor's passing game, Brother Mike and his marauding horde of defenders said the total was unacceptable.

Only Texas and Kansas allowed Baylor more rushing yards this season, and I'm pretty sure no one in crimson and cream wants their defense compared to those two.

The big rushing number wasn't the only problem for the Sooners. There were wide open receivers running behind the secondary. There were five red-zone scores on five red-zone opportunities. There were 11 of 20 third-down conversions.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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