In 2014, the Oklahoma Sooners had a record that qualifies as ugly in the Sooner Nation and with College Football betting fans – an 8-5 tally that kept them well out of any conference title possibilities, as well as any high marks in preseason polls. The media ranked OU third in the Big 12 behind Baylor and TCU.
Can Oklahoma Win the Big 12 NCAA Football Odds Title This Year?
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 24, 2015
However, center Ty Darlington was a confident interviewee at media days. He said, “We knew were capable of playing with any team in the nation last year. But we didn’t play to the best of our ability at times.” If you look back at the record that OU turned in, in terms of wins and losses, that seems like a misguided statement. However, if you look closer, you’ll see that it’s not that far off the mark.
For example, three of those five losses came by four points or fewer. Many of those games came down to just one play that could have sent things the other direction for them. For example, OU lost to TCU (the ballyhooed #2 team in this year’s preseason polls) by the score of 37-33. However, the game was tied at 31 at the start of the fourth quarter, when OU quarterback Trevor Knight tossed a pick-six.
The TCU game wasn’t the only example of OU having just a play or two go the wrong way. OU lost to Kansas State by the score of 31-30. In that game, Sooners kicker Michael Hunnicutt, who was one of the best kickers in all of college football last year, yanked a 19-yard field goal wide with fewer than four minutes left in the game.
Counting the Sooners losses and their effects
When OU lost to Oklahoma State in overtime, 38-35, the Sooners were up by a touchdown with fewer than four minutes left in regulation. OU punted the ball, and the Cowboys picked up a penalty for running into the kicker. OU coach Bob Stoops opted to kick the punt again after having the penalty walked off, hoping to pin Oklahoma State deep. That strategy backfired as Tyreek Hill dashed the other way 92 yards with that punt return for a touchdown.
When Oklahoma lost to Clemson and Baylor, the scores were not nearly as close, but an 11-2 season would have had the Sooners a lot higher in these preseason polls than an 8-5 season did. As Coach Stoops put it at the Big 12 media days, “We look at it also in some of those games, we’re one play away, maybe having a chance to have a couple more wins if you don’t give up one play on defense or you don’t have a turnover for a touchdown, you don’t miss a field goal, you don’t punt the ball one more time if you have a poor decision by a coach.”
Final Prediction for the Oklahoma Sooners
Pretty much all the breaks went in favor of Baylor and TCU last year, while many of them went against Oklahoma. If just a few of those breaks go the other way this year, then Oklahoma could definitely contend for a conference championship.