That meant that OU had a chance to put a win against No. 22 Baylor and No. 6 or 7 OSU on its resume.
Win those games, and the Sooners had a legitimate chance to jump the Crimson Tide at the end of the season.
But OU looked off all night. The defense got burned repeatedly. The offense got penalized too often.
No one ever got in sync.
After the Bears took a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter, the Sooners looked dead in the water. No life on offense. No spark on defense. When a fruitless drive ended with a Jones incompletion on fourth down from the Baylor 25-yard line, many of the OU fans who packed Floyd Casey Stadium started heading for the exits.
But then the OU defense got a stop and the OU offense scored a touchdown.
Momentum swung toward the Sooners, and you started to think that maybe these Sooners had a little magic. Reserves like Brandon Williams and Dejuan Miller and Trey Franks were making big plays. That had to be a sign.
After the defense made another stop, the offense marched 77 yards in 10 plays and capped the drive with the Belldozer and a Blake Bell 6-yard run.
The power-run formation was working so smashingly that the Sooners decided to go for the two-point conversion. Why not? Six times that they'd used it, they'd gotten into the end zone on five of them.
But a false-start penalty forced them to kick the extra point instead.
Maybe that was the bigger sign of what kind of night it was and what was to come.
Baylor got the ball on its own 20-yard line with 51 seconds remaining, but a couple of Robert Griffin III runs put the Bears in Sooner territory.
“We were just trying to get in field-goal range,” Griffin said. “But we just started picking up chunks of yards.”
And with less than 10 seconds remaining, Griffin found Terrence Williams in the back corner of the end zone. He was behind two Sooner defenders, a place that the Bears receivers found themselves often Saturday.
“I just threw it up,” Griffin said, “and he made a great catch.”
Touchdown. Ball game and title hopes over.
“In the end, I felt our team came in prepared,” Stoops said. “At the end of the day, they coached better than we did and they played better than we did.
“We fought back, but at the end, they made a few more big plays that we did.”