It’s a phrase you hear in far too many Sooner seasons: It all comes down to this. It was true Saturday night in Norman, and it’s true again Saturday night in Stillwater.
I really haven’t experienced anything quite like last Saturday Night at Owen Field. I remember saying this ahead of time:
Texas Tech is favored to win the game, but I can’t help but remember what huge favorites the Longhorns were going into the 2000 OU-Texas game. No one seemed to think OU’s defense could stand up to the Texas attack. Then something…happened.
I can’t do better than this description from the Crimson And Cream Machine:
I’ve been attending Oklahoma football games since 1985 and I can honestly say that I don’t remember having ever seen a home crowd like the one we had Saturday nigh for the Texas Tech game. Bob Stoops threw down the gauntlet earlier in the week and the fans rose to the challenge.
The crowd of 86,646 (a record at crowd at OU) came early, stayed late and made constant noise. There is no way you’ll ever convince me that the Red Raiders weren’t rattled. Don’t believe me? Check out the looks on Mike Leach’s and Graham Harrell’s faces when the crowd took a moment to “Jump Around.”
I was in The Pride in 1985, and I never saw anything quite like it, either. It wasn’t like the OU-Nebraska game eight years ago, where the fans stormed the field afterward—but the crowd energy was tangible. You could feel it. After the game, the players came over to the band and the other student sections, and climbed on the walls, thanked the fans, took laps around the stadium—I’ve seen that at Big 12 championships, or bowl games, but never at a home game. I can’t find anyone else who remembers anything like that at a home game, either.
And now the regular season ends Saturday night in Stillwater, in Bedlam, but not (if forecasters are right) in Ice Bowl II. The Sooners need to win to stay in the Big 12 South (and, more distantly, the BCS National Championship) race. It would help if Texas A&M wins on Thanksgiving night, but because of the odd ways the tie-breakers work, if Texas wins on Thursday night, we need Texas Tech to bounce back at home and beat Baylor on Saturday afternoon.
If all three teams win (not including OSU, since obviously OSU and OU can’t both win, and OSU can’t win the division no matter what happens now), the division title goes to the team with the highest BCS ranking on Sunday afternoon. In this scenario, OU significantly narrows its gap behind Texas in the computers by beating #11 OSU, but neither Texas nor Tech does all that well by beating unranked teams.
According to the invaluable Jerry Palm, assuming that the poll vote numbers stay exactly the same, OU needs to jump one rank in three of the four computer rankings that could help (there are six BCS computers, but the formula throws out the high and low scores for each team from the six, so only four of them count), OU would pass Texas in the computers and take the #2 spot in the rankings. Texas needs to expand its lead in the polls, or needs Florida State to beat Florida, because that might give the Longhorns more points in the polls since Florida is between OU and Texas in the Coaches’ poll.
So, if you’re a Sooner Purist, this weekend, in addition to rooting for OU, you’re rooting for Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Florida. I’m not sure if an Alabama loss would give Texas more points than Oklahoma in the polls, but it would complicate the situation even further.
As for The Pride, I take it as a compliment that clips of them in last year’s Macy’s® Thanksgiving Day Parade dominate NBC’s commercials for this year’s parade, but they’re all at home resting this year, as we hope you are too. The band’s public schedule for Saturday is now on our Events calendar, and they’ll be wearing those all-red uniforms—debuted just a year ago in the Macy’s Parade—to Stillwater for the very first time.
And it all comes down to this: 7:00 PM CST on ABC in high-definition, broadcast from coast to coast. Put on your red and white and prepare to shout until you lose your voice!