NORMAN — Like scores of other teams around the country, Oklahoma, as everyone around here knows, employs that “tempo” brand of offense from time to time.
But that word works both ways. As much as it has defined the Sooners' quick pace, going all the way back to Mike Leach, perhaps now more than ever is the time to slow things down.
Vegas set the over-under for Bedlam at 78. That would normally be a giant number, but not this year in the Big 12. (Baylor and Texas Tech were an astronomical 80 1/2 Saturday night, and they got there early in the fourth quarter — with Robert Griffin out of the game.)
Point is, Oklahoma needs to do whatever it can to keep the score under, and potentially well under, 78 points if it would like to win in Stillwater. That's not a gambling tip; that's a suggestion if OU would like to make it back to the Fiesta Bowl and win another conference title.
Saturday's very ugly, very boring win — win, mind you — against Iowa State provided the Bedlam Blueprint.
Oklahoma held the ball for 33 minutes against the Cyclones. It ran 45 times. It passed 45 times. That's balance rarely talked about, and even more rarely achieved, in OU's offensive scheme.
Take out the 35-yard loss on the poor punt snap, not the offense's fault or doing, and the Sooners ran 44 times for 288 yards. That's a 6.5 yards-a-carry clip, aided greatly by Trey Franks' two reverses for 88 yards.
This is the reality of OU football right now, with the Sooners giving up a bunch of big plays on defense and unable to lean on Ryan Broyles on offense.
When this season began, I would have said it didn't matter. I would have liked Oklahoma's odds in a shootout, just as much as a slugfest. But things have changed, as they so often do through the course of a long, strange season. Now slowing the game down has become OU's best chance to win Bedlam.