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Several questions still unanswered about this OU football team

How good is this Sooners team? Which team will show up on Saturday — the one that went to Stillwater and beat its toughest opponent or the team that collapsed in Columbia and College Station?
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 3, 2010 at 8:23 am •  Published: December 2, 2010

Here's what we know about Oklahoma — it has won 10 games, it is the Big 12 South champion, and it is playing for the conference crown Saturday night.

Here's what we're still wondering — how good the Sooners really are.

This has been an up-and-down bunch throughout this season. There have been impressive wins and imposing stretches, but there have also been disastrous losses and disappointing performances. So, on a weekend when the Sooners have a chance to win yet another Big 12 title and play in yet another BCS bowl, we are still left to wonder about this team.

Is it the squad that went to Stillwater last week and beat its toughest opponent in the most hostile environment it has encountered this season?

Or is it the team that collapsed like a cheap chair in Columbia and College Station?

The truth is, those losses have turned OU into what it is – a pretty darn good team.

“I'm really excited how we're playing,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said. “In all parts of the game, we've been very good and solid.”

Notice the words he used.

Not spectacular.

Not magnificent.

Those adjectives don't describe these Sooners. This is not the 2000 squad with the lights-out defense. This is not the 2008 team with the high-octane offense. But that doesn't mean this edition of the Sooners is a bad team.

The descriptors that Stoops used — very good and solid — seem fitting.

The defense has been very good.

Consider what it has done the past three weeks. It held Texas Tech to a touchdown. It gave up 24 points at Baylor, but a pair of touchdowns came after OU had a 40-point lead and a heavy dose of reserves on the field. Then, it held Oklahoma State's high-octane offense to 27 points.

And remember, this is a bunch that has played short-handed much of the season. Adrian Taylor is gone. Daniel Noble, Casey Walker, Austin Box and Ronnell Lewis have all battled injuries.

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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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This college football season has had its share of great games. But which wins have been the best? We're not talking about games that have been lost, ala Boise State-Nevada. We're talking about games that have been won, victories that have been wrested away from an opponent.

Here's a look at the top five wins of the season:

* 1. Auburn over Alabama, 28-27: The Tigers and their national championship hopes were dead in the water, down 24-0 in the first half on Crimson Tide soil, but in the second half, the defense stiffened and Cam Newton took over. What resulted was one of the most stunning comebacks in college football history.

* 2. Boise State over Virginia Tech, 33-30: The Broncos' national-title hopes would live or die with the season opener. Talk about pressure. But in front of a largely Hokie crowd, Kellen Moore and Co. delivered a come-from-behind victory.

* 3. TCU over Utah, 47-7: Like Boise, this was the make-or-break game for the Horned Frogs. They didn't just go to Salt Lake City and win, a tall task for any team. They obliterated the Utes. Sure, Utah comes from a non-BCS conference, too, but a 40-point win against a top-10 team is big time.

* 4. Oklahoma over Oklahoma State, 47-41: Consider everything that was on the line — bragging rights, a division title and a trip to the conference title game — and the Sooners' victory would be impressive. Add in the hostile environment and the Cowboy comeback, and it is even more eye-opening.

* 5. Texas over Nebraska, 20-13: The Cornhuskers had this game circled for months, but despite that Big Red motivation, the Longhorns managed a victory in Huskerville. Knowing now how bad Texas really was makes this victory all the better.


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