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A Knight To Remember: Sooner QB, Team Prove Doubters Wrong

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NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana -

Let's just all say it together: we were very wrong.

We were wrong to think Oklahoma couldn't come to New Orleans and beat Alabama to win the Sugar Bowl. We were wrong about a lot of things, and the Sooners made us look foolish.

The problem is we weren't focused on the team that beat Alabama on both sides of the football Thursday night for a 45-31 victory. We weren't focused on the team that went on the road to steamroll Kansas State and upset Oklahoma State in Bedlam to close the regular season.

Related Story: HOW SWEET IT IS: Sooners Stun Alabama In Sugar Bowl

We were too focused on the team that inexplicably didn't employ the quarterback run game in a brutal loss against Texas. We were focused on the team that struggled with West Virginia and TCU and—for a half—Iowa State. We were focused on the team that was embarrassed on offense by a Baylor defense that had been a laughingstock for nearly a generation.

The same thing happened with individual players. It was hard to imagine Trevor Knight being able to throw the Sooners to victory against Kansas State, much less Alabama, after his abysmal start to the season. Yet there was Knight on the floor of the Superdome, shredding the Crimson Tide secondary to the tune of 348 yards and four touchdowns.

The problem is we're supposed to be somewhat skeptical. Sure, Knight had been playing well of late, but the images of interceptions against West Virginia were hard to erase. The same could be said of the team. There's no question the Sooners were coming into the Sugar Bowl playing their best football of the season and had nothing to lose against the Crimson Tide. Yet, the underwhelming nature of some of the Sooners' wins, along with the terrible performances in their losses gave us all pause.

Certainly, the motivation of a team is probably the biggest factor in a bowl game that occurs several weeks after the end of the regular season. Yet, while the Sooners without a doubt had the biggest edge in that category, there was no reason to believe it would be enough to overcome what most people still considered the best team in the country.

So what did we learn from Thursday night's stunner?

Well, we learned how impossible it is to predict a sport played by a bunch of young men. On paper, there are very few reasons why the Sooners should be leaving New Orleans with a trophy instead of their tail tucked between their legs. But the game is played on the field, not on paper, and on the field, the Sooners looked every bit as good as Alabama, the standard of college football today, and became the first non-SEC school to defeat Alabama since the Crimson Tide fell to Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

Motivation is a big thing in this sport and our doubt of the Sooners gave them more than enough motivation to go out and play their best game of the season.

We also learned that there's no better time to evaluate than the present. The Sooners' last national championship in 2000 is not a good indicator of where the program is now. However, the turmoil of the offseason following the 2011 year is also a bad indicator of the program's status. The Sooners are on their way back to the upper echelon of college football and this win will have a bigger impact than we could possibly fathom.

We thought the national perception of the Sooners would change if Oklahoma managed to keep it close with the Crimson Tide. How's it going to change now that the Sooners have dismantled Nick Saban's football factory with a complete performance?

The Sooners' future is extremely bright. Recruiting is turning around; the talent in Norman is hungry, young, and apparently very eager to be coached up. And all that is before this monumental win.

Oklahoma could be on its way back to the national prominence it enjoyed in the early years of the Bob Stoops era. It's impossible to know for sure, but here's betting we're not wrong about that one.

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