Four years and three Oklahoma quarterbacks ago, fans inside Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock witnessed a duel for the ages.
Baker Mayfield and Texas Tech’s somewhat-talented quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, traded jabs in a riveting, 66-59 OU win that set some absurd offensive marks.
Mayfield threw for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns while Mahomes set the NCAA FBS single-game record for 734 passing yards. Somehow, the Red Raiders lost that hours-long slog of a game.
Saturday’s game in Lubbock was not nearly as exciting as the head-to-head in 2016, but it did feel as if it would never end.
As the Sooners were pouring it on the Red Raiders, you couldn’t help but look at the clock and wonder if Daylight Savings Time happened at a much earlier time this year.
It didn’t, and yes, you watched a first half that took more than two hours to complete.
When the game was mercifully over, Oklahoma had a lot of reasons to feel good about itself in a 62-28 win at Texas Tech.
First Takeaway: Tech’s Explosion And Implosion
Texas Tech began the game on a mission against Oklahoma.
The Red Raiders scored a touchdown on a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive in under four minutes. OU went three-and-out when it got its hands on the ball.
It was the equivalent of TTU figuring out how to drop a Mentos in a liter of Diet Coke and spraying the Sooners with a fountain of mint and sugar.
Oklahoma’s offense then scored six touchdowns on its next six drives while Texas Tech’s offense stalled. Red Raiders quarterback Henry Colombi drilled two passes that bounced off his receivers and into the hands of OU’s Tre Norwood.
Tech also committed seven penalties in the first quarter alone.
It was as if Tech saw the damage one Mentos did to OU and wanted to find a way to drop three or four Mentos in a liter of Diet Coke.
Alas, the mint and sugar fountain wound up drenching the Red Raiders before they even dropped the second Mentos in the bottle.
Second Takeaway: Familiar Faces Make Their Return
As News 9 reported late Friday, Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson would be able to suit up for the Sooners against the Red Raiders after serving separate suspensions.
The suspensions stem from late last season when Perkins, Stevenson and wide receiver Trejan Bridges were held out of OU’s season-ending loss in the Peach Bowl (Bridges’ return to the field is still not known).
Their return must have had some impact on Saturday’s result, right? Perkins recorded a modest four tackles in his season debut.
Stevenson, who led the country with eight yards per carry in 2019, was an entirely different story.
On his first touch of the year, Stevenson rumbled in for OU’s first score of the game from six yards out. He would score twice more before the night was through.
The Sooners, by definition, are a different team. The return of Perkins means the return of perhaps the best defensive player on the roster.
Stevenson adds a dimension to the offense it did not have to start the season. It is also reasonable to expect to see more of freshman Seth McGowan line up as a wide receiver, in addition to the backfield, for the rest of the season.
Third Takeaway: What’s In A Number, Anyway?
Before the college football season begins, the Associated Press poll usually told us what to think about a school and what its prospects could be for that season.
In recent years, the AP poll has served as the Poll That Matters before the BCS Standings, and later the College Football Playoff rankings, take the baton around the midway point of the season and guides us until a champion is crowned.
The Associated Press poll used to be the standard by which national champions were determined, but it is losing relevance a little bit at a time.
In a 2020 season where conferences were able to be ranked even if they started playing as early as September or as late as November, the AP poll has never been more meaningless.
During the AP’s Week 7 college football rankings two weeks ago, four teams held top 25 rankings without playing a game this season. A 4-0 SMU team (No. 17) with a win over an AP-ranked opponent was not enough for voters to rank them ahead of an 0-0 Wisconsin team (ranked No. 16).
This week, Oregon and USC are ranked No. 14 and No. 21 respectively, but neither team will play its first game until Nov. 7.
The Sooners hopped back into the AP poll last week at No. 24 heading into the Texas Tech game after throttling a mediocre TCU team. They will likely rise some after destroying a sub-.500 Texas Tech team.
Up in Stillwater, No. 6 Oklahoma State’s undefeated season came to an end after the Texas Longhorns upset the Cowboys in overtime.
Are these Sooners one of the best 25 teams in college football? Was Oklahoma State playing on the level of a team on the outside looking in from a potential spot in the College Football Playoff?
Of course not. To make matters worse: The first College Football Playoff rankings won’t be out for another four more weeks.