Sooners' Big 12 dominance to be put to the test
With the onset of Big 12 Conference play for the Sooners, very little attention is being paid to this season because conference realignment talk has dominated the college football landscape since Texas A&M’s attempted move to the SEC in August.
Very little attention, that is, excluding the OU football team.
Oklahoma coaches and players have focused on this season’s conference schedule while choosing to largely ignore realignment talk — and for good reason.
The Sooners have had great success in the Big 12, racking up a 93-35 record against conference opponents.
OU also has won seven of 15 Big 12 Championships. Considering Texas (3) and Nebraska (2) are the only two schools with multiple Big 12 championships, that’s a hefty load of dominance the Sooners have dropped on their conference foes.
So even despite the major players in the Big 12 scrambling to secure invites to super-conferences, it makes sense for Oklahoma to concentrate on doing what it’s done better than any other past or current Big 12 member — winning conference games.
And after last year’s 36-27 loss to Missouri that ended OU’s title hopes, the Sooners can’t afford to look even a day past Saturday’s matchup in Norman.
But if they did, they’d see a pretty daunting set of games ahead.
After Mizzou and skipping over a powderpuff matchup against Ball State, OU has games against the other four top-25 teams from the Big 12, starting with No. 19 Texas.
The Longhorns have ditched perennial screwup Garrett Gilbert in favor of former quarterback Colt McCoy’s little brother, Case (since he already has that McCoy-Shipley, buddy-buddy relationship with former wide receiver Jordan Shipley’s little brother, Jaxon), for a big payoff against UCLA on Saturday.
McCoy completed 80 percent of his throws — five to Shipley — and tossed a pair of touchdowns.
Texas is no longer the laughing stock it was last season, not that a bad Longhorn team wouldn’t still bring everything to
Three seemingly throw-away games follow the Red River Rivalry — Kansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State — before the Sooners host No. 8 Texas A&M.
The Aggies are high on life after being accepted to the Southeastern Conference (assuming Baylor lets them leave), and they’re looking to get a few last shots in on the teams who bullied them for the last 15 seasons.
OU should be ready for this one, though — 33-19 isn’t an easy score to forget after the nasty loss the Sooners suffered in College Station last year.
Prior to the Bears’ game against TCU, who would have thought the Baylor game would be a little worrisome for Oklahoma? Baylor is the 17th-ranked team in the country, though, and it is trying desperately to prove its worth just in case this whole Big 12 thing falls through.
Oh, and Robert Griffin III is good. Scary good.
OU’s final home game is against a surprisingly tricky Iowa State team that’s off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2005, except the Cyclones’ opponents this year are heftier than six seasons ago.
ISU quarterback Steele Jantz has made the Cyclones a potential giant-killer, and he’s probably got the coolest name in college football.
The Sooners close Big 12 play with a game in Stillwater, the first time the Bedlam series has taken place in the same stadium in consecutive years since 1986-87.
The seventh-ranked Cowboys will be out for blood after OU stole a wild win last year.
But first, OU has to beat Missouri.
James Corley is a journalism senior and the sports editor for The Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesfcorley.