Given Oklahoma’s track record it easy to understand why some Sooners are a little weary being atop the BCS rankings. “Not that I don’t think we’re one of the best in the country, I don’t think we deserved it yet,” said Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis in an AP report (via USA Today). “I think we’ve played two good games and then the rest have been inconsistent.
Lewis has a point. Oklahoma is undefeated with resounding victories against Florida State and Iowa State. They have won on the road against a BCS bowl participant each of the past two seasons, Cincinnati. Oklahoma has narrowly edged other schools like Utah State and Air Force and they let Texas get back in to a game they really had no business being in. So excuse Lewis for being a bit pessimistic about his team being given the top billing in the initial BCS rankings.
“We’re still 80th or 90th in the country in defense, and we’ve got a lot to work on,” Lewis said. Oklahoma ranks 71st in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed, averaging 19.0 points allowed per game. “Just don’t mention it, don’t think about it, don’t make it an issue.”
He is not alone either.
“I know the BCS came out this past week, but before in the AP poll, it was Alabama,” defensive end Jeremy Beal said. They went down. Ohio State, they went down.” Could Oklahoma be the next number one to fall? Beal added “If we’re ranked No. 1 on Jan. 11, come talk to me. I’ll have something to say about that.”
History is not kind to the teams that are awarded the top ranking in the initial BCS rankings. Only twice in 12 years has the season’s initial BCS number one finished the season in the same spot. Only six have gone on to play for the BCS championship. Needless to say, Oklahoma is at risk.
Road to the BCS Championship
First, here is a look at the remainder of Oklahoma’s 2010 schedule, including this weekend’s road contest at undefeated Missouri. Home games in all capital letters
10.23 – @ Missouri
10.30 – COLORADO
11.06 – @ Texas A&M
11.13 – TEXAS TECH
11.20 – @ Baylor
11.27 – @ Oklahoma State
The two games that stand out the most are this weekend’s match-up with the Tigers and the regular season finale against Oklahoma State, who saw their own BCS dreams ruined by the Sooners last year.
It looks pretty favorable that Oklahoma can work their way through the rest of their regular season without taking a hit, as long as they avoid an upset this weekend. Oklahoma State’s defense is not up to par with what Oklahoma can do on defense, which will make them an underdog by the time these teams meet. There is no reason to expect Oklahoma takes a loss at home against Colorado or Texas Tech and Baylor, though improved, is a far way from giving the Sooners a scare (watch the TCU game if you disagree).
As long as Oklahoma wins these games then a shot at the BCS championship will come down to a Big 12 championship game, possibly against Nebraska. After the Huskers went down against Texas last week the Sooners have become the team to beat in the Big 12.
They have the talent to get there. Quarterback Landry Jones may not have the passing statistics as others do in the Big 12, but he has only throw three interceptions while passing for 14 touchdowns. Running back Demarco Murray leads the conference in rushing attempts and has scored 11 touchdowns, second only to Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez’s 12. The conference’s leading receiver with receptions (61), Ryan Broyles suits up in an Oklahoma uniform. And of course the defense is improving as well. If the Sooners defense can avoid letting teams back in games they will be fine, and with the idea of playing for a national championship now officially on the line we will learn a lot about the whole team. Is this a team that can step up and prove they are worthy of the top ranking, or will they succumb to the pressure?
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