Originally Published: Oct 16, 2010 11:5 AM CDT
The Sooner players wake up this morning knowing they host a 24-point underdog in a house where they just don’t lose. Iowa State may give them a test, much like the other teams that this team seems to have played to the level of the competiton.
The heartbeat of the Sooners is not pounding the way they did in their last game in Dallas. They know undefeated Missouri lies in wait next Saturday in Columbia. They know they finish with four road games in their final sixmost losable unless they find their killer instinct.
It will be easy for this club to dismiss the game tonight. This game presents a test that will tell us a lot about the maturity and potential of this 2010 club. If the young pups follow the leadership of vets like Travis Lewis and continue to improve then they are perhaps on a path for something special. It they wallow around and fail to put away a substantial road dog then they are probably headed for a loss or two down the stretch.
We’ll check in with you late tonight with some answers. I’ll go with a three-TD Sooner win.
How’s the new Big 12 looking? Nebraska is back to being Nebraska. Of course they and CU are fleeing for greener pastures after this season. Didn’t seem like such a big deal when Bill Callahan left his Schnelly-Boo mark on the Huskers. Now, it’s huge.
Nebraska hammered K-State into submission in Manhattan. Ouch. K-State called off the dogs after pummeling former Husker star Turner Gill’s Kansas Jayhawksin Lincoln. Double ouch. Gill is a swell guy but there was a reason he was never given a shot at the NU job after Tom Osborne quit.
Iowa State puts up 52 points on Texas Tech. Great. At least one north weakling is coming alive. But triple ouch when the Cyclones had 68 put on them by new Pac-Ten member Utah. At home. So NU leaves and the mighty north all of a sudden sits there with those three programs somewhere between poor to ugly.
Then there’s the south, which I’ve argued for years is the best division in college footballincuding the big, bad divisions in the mighty SEC. And maybe I’ve been right. But now, Mike Leach is gone and Tech gets rolled at Iowa Stateand you saw what happened to ISU last week. I’m a Tubberville believer but his team is apparently not with me yet on that one.
I love Art Briles, but Baylor’s defense is not capable of supporting star QB Robert Griffin to make the Bears much more thanwell, much more than another Baylor.
The jury is out on OSU but early indications are that they continue to be on the rise. But critics can point to the fact that nice-but-nothing- special SEC teams tear them up when they play in bowl games. Then there’s the other reality that Mike Gundy has yet to beat OU and Texas.
Texas A/M doesn’t seem to have returned and Texas looks like it will lose its third straight today and it doesn’t help that one loss was to weak sister UCLA and the other to the Big Red that’s de-pledging.
Then there’s OU. The Sooners may surprise me and run the table and even be in the BCS title game conversation. But I don’t see it. This is not the 200 team, not one of Jason White’s elite clubs and while Landry Jones is solid, this is not a Sam Bradford team. Especially not the Sam Bradford team that was every bit as good as the terrific Tim Tebow team that beat the Sooners for the BCS title. And how can it be the real OU with a defense that is ranked 93rd in the nation in total defense?
OU has a chance to be in the conversation with those special teams mentioned next season. But can they be a legit BCS title team without the Huepel, White, and Bradford caliber of play? Texas will be Texas. But can they be a legit BCS title team without a Vince Young or Colt McCoy? We’ll see. Those teams should continue to be the ring-leaders of the conference.
Without Nebraska and with the state of about seven teams in the conference the Big 12 will take a sizeable step down with the defection of the Bo Pelini Huskers.