Archive for Sunday, December 1, 2002

Oklahoma’s arrogance is showing

Sooners should prepare for Oklahoma State like they do for Texas

December 1, 2002

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— Sooner Magic is officially a hoax. Who knew that Les Miles, Dave Campo's tight ends coach before leaving for Oklahoma State two years ago, would be the one to expose it?

A year ago, the Sooners were 27-point favorites and ticketed for a return to the national championship game before falling to Oklahoma State, 16-13. In its own way, Saturday's defeat at Lewis Field was just as stunning.

Oklahoma was only a 14 1/2-point favorite this time around, but the Cowboys blew them away, turning a 22-point halftime lead into a 38-28 win.

We can close the book on those arguments that the Sooners are actually a better team than Ohio State. That sentiment has been expressed in many corners, mainly because the Fiesta Bowl-bound Buckeyes won so many games by small margins.

The fact is that, when it has mattered, Oklahoma has not been as good as Oklahoma State the last two seasons.

This one may not have cost OU a trip to the national title game, but who knows? A Miami loss next weekend to Virginia Tech would have cleared the way for the third-ranked Sooners. Fans in Norman won't be holding their breath for a Hokies victory now.

"It's a difficult loss to take for many reasons," coach Bob Stoops said.

Some might try to stamp the "meaningless" label on this one because the Sooners clinched the Big 12 South title a week ago and play Colorado for the Big 12 championship on Saturday in Houston.

But come on. The Sooners lose to OSU, historically, about once every six years. These teams share little in the way of accomplishments. Since 1950, Oklahoma has won seven national titles and Oklahoma State has had one top-10 finish (No. 7 in 1984).

And yet look how close Miles got the Cowboys to a Big 12 title berth. They finished 5-3, behind the 6-2 Sooners and Longhorns. Oklahoma State lost to Texas, 17-15, in Austin, just missing a late two-point conversion. That's how close they came to traveling to Houston next weekend.

This much can be determined from Saturday's game. The same arrogance that serves Stoops and the Sooners so well when they come to Dallas to trample Texas undermines them when they play their in-state rival. Last offseason, Stoops took several shots at OSU fans and the school's program.

"Why do you think the OSU people are crowing?" Stoops said then. "Because they won four games? It's because they beat Oklahoma, the defending champions. It's easy to win three, four or five games. You try and win 11 or 13 games."

Although there were no inflammatory words coming from OU coaches this week, they displayed their arrogance with a game plan that featured far too much single coverage on the Big 12's best receiver, Rashaun Woods.

If Oklahoma can make a rapid attitude adjustment, the Sooners can claim another Big 12 title Saturday and with it, a probable trip to the Orange Bowl.

Oklahoma State (7-5) appears headed for a bowl game, possibly in Boise, Idaho, or Shreveport, La., which may not sound like a fitting reward. But bragging rights within the state for another 365 days isn't a bad consolation prize.

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