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Sooners could be just as strong this time around

By John Rohde Published: July 25, 2004
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Snow White is back, and she's angry.

Heisman Trophy winner Jason White also is back. And he's not all that happy, either.

Oklahoma's fairy tale season of 2003 became a nightmare when Kansas State tackled the Sooners and humiliated them 35-7 in the Big 12 championship game.

Last season, when the Sooners were on a record-setting pace, the Big 12 Conference looked like OU and the 11 Dwarfs. That was, until two humbling losses ended the Sooners' season.

Does that mean the dwarfs have a chance for hope and happily ever after and could cut the league giant down to size? What does it look like in the mirror, mirror on the wall? Not likely.

With nearly half of the preseason All-Big 12 team 10 by our count wearing crimson, with the Heisman Trophy winner under center, the nation's top high school player and nearly all of its offense back, chances of knocking off the Sooners may be far away for the rest of the league.

Far, far away. BIG 126C Big 121C

The 2003 tumble
It all started in 2000.

The Sooners won a national title in the 2000 season, a Cotton Bowl title in 2001, a Rose Bowl title in 2002 and sprinkled in a pair of Big 12 championshipsMore of the same appeared to be on its way when OU breezed through the 2003 regular season.

If the Sooners finished the year unbeaten, many football historians figured to proclaim them the finest squad in the program's storied history.

But Kansas State, a 14-point underdog and ranked 13th nationally, turned history into old news. The Wildcats beat OU so convincingly on Dec. 6, 2003, it couldn't possibly be written off as "just one of those things."

KSU got the Snow White Sooners all dirty on a 30-degree night and made no apologies for doing so.

On the field after the game, Wildcats defensive tackle Scott Edmonds told several Sooners to "go win the national championship for the Big 12. But I doubt they heard me. I think they were in just total shock."

Four weeks later, LSU beat OU in the Superdome. For the second straight game, the Sooners had lost.

"We must have done something to them because I know they did not play up to their standards," Edmonds said of the Sugar Bowl. "Sure, LSU was a great team. But I personally thought Oklahoma was the best team in the nation last year. I'm not sure what happened (in the Sugar Bowl)."

How had KSU figured out how to beat the unbeatable? Inquiring minds wanted to know. And were eager to copy the blueprint.

But contrary to what's been tried and implied, there's no such master plan for slaying the giant.

Just ask Kansas State coach Bill Synder.

The secret? Mistakes
Snyder heard the magic question while riding to the airport en route to Big 12 media days last week in Kansas City, Mo.

Is there a blueprint?

"I doubt that very seriously," Snyder said. "There isn't any particular formula for how that can take place, I don't believe. I would like to think our youngsters were well-prepared and motivated. They played extremely hard and played extremely well.

"Oklahoma may not have played as well as they're capable of. If you put those things together, sometimes things can happen. We were fortunate, but then again, our youngsters deserved the victory."

OU coach Bob Stoops hasn't seen any blueprint, either.

"All of the sudden there's some master plan?" Stoops said.

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