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8-4 and a Holiday Bowl win over Oregon, the Pac 10's second best
team, would be considered a major success at most places, but it's
not going to cut it for a program that spent two straight seasons
playing for the national title. However, it wasn't nearly the down
year that many believed it was.
First there was the schedule, which arguably turned out to be among
the toughest in college football history with eight of the 12 games
played against teams that finished with winning records, six games
against teams that finished with nine wins or more, three games
against conference champions (TCU, Texas and Tulsa) and six against
eventual bowl winners.
Of the four losses, one was to the eventual national champion
(Texas), one was on the road on a controversial final play to lose
by two (Texas Tech), and two (TCU and at UCLA) came before OU was
close to the team it became at the end of last year.
Head coach: Bob Stoops
8th year: 75-16
Off. 14, Def. 17, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 19
Best Sooner Players
1. RB Adrian Peterson, Jr.
2. LB Rufus Alexander, Sr.
3. DE Larry Birdine, Sr.
C.J. Ah You, Sr.
5. LB Zach Latimer, Sr.
6. CB D.J. Wolfe, Jr.
Calvin Thibodeaux, Sr.
8. CB Reggie Smith, Soph.
9. OT Chris Messner, Sr.
10. LB Demarrio Pleasant, Jr.
at Texas A&M
at Oklahoma State
2005 Record: 8-4
Preview 2005 predicted wins
W 37-30 2OT
at Texas Tech L 23-21
Oregon W 17-14
The schedule is once again tough, but inexperience can no longer be
used as an excuse with 18 players with starting experience returning, almost too many talented
sophomores to count in the receiving corps and secondary, arguably the
best defensive ends in America, and one of the nation's best linebacking
corps, and an all-world running back in Adrian Peterson who's fresh and
ready to carry the load.
So is this a national title
but there are still too many question marks on the offensive line and
with the quarterback situation now that Rhett Bomar is gone to assume it’ll be an easy run to a third
championship game in four seasons. 2007 is when the team should be truly
ready to explode and become a juggernaut again.
But while the expectations will be sky-high for a return to greatness,
the one year off, and the national title season from Texas, might have
done wonders to dial things down a little bit in Norman. Now the
Longhorns are seen as the favorites to repeat as Big 12 South champions
and OU can play the role of the underdog hunter, something it does
extremely well under head coach Bob Stoops. No, losing to Texas again
won't be acceptable, but the pressure isn't quite there like it was a few
Even so, the Sooners have to get back the swagger than made them the
baddest boys on the block when they were crushing and killing over
Stoops' first seven years. That's where the Holiday Bowl win comes in. Oregon was the jilted BCS team with something to prove, OU was
the team that wasn't supposed to be ready for primetime thanks to all
the youth and inexperience. But the Sooners came up with a brilliant
defensive performance to send the team
into the off-season with a little bit of an attitude.
If OU can combine any positive carry-over from the post-season and get
all the good young talents to jell, the future, and the recent past,
could be now.
It's not nearly the killer of last year, but there are
landmines beginning with the Holiday Bowl rematch with Oregon in Autzen
Stadium. A win there will mean a 4-0 record before the showdown with
Texas. The big concern after the two big early tests will be the second
half with four road games in the final five. Fortunately, the toughest
game over the second half of the season is Texas Tech, and that's in
Norman. If the Sooners are good enough to beat Oregon at Oregon, they'll
be good enough to win
on the road against teams like Missouri and Texas A&M.
Offensive Player: Junior RB Adrian Peterson. He's saying it's not a
given he'll be off to the big league next year, but it'll be a shock if he
sticks around to put another 300+ carries of mileage on. He's already
one of the favorites for the Heisman and the accolades won't stop coming
all season long, so watch as many try to look for the negatives and the
Defensive Player: Senior LB Rufus Alexander. He does everything well
from stopping the run to rushing the passer to dropping into pass
coverage. He'll be on the Butkus Award short list and should be in the
hunt for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
to a successful season: The entire offensive line. Everything is in
place on defense, the offensive backfield will be great even with the
questions at quarterback, the receiving
corps should be solid, and the kicking game will turn out to be fine.
Everything will fall apart if all the new starters up front aren't
tremendous by the time the Oregon and Texas games roll around.
will be a success if ... OU wins the Big 12 title. There are just enough holes to
prevent a trip to the national championship game, but a win over Texas
on the way to a conference championship would do wonders after last
October 7 vs. Texas. Last year's 45-12 drubbing can be chalked up to
a hurt Adrian Peterson, a not-ready-yet Rhett Bomar, and the magical
Longhorn season. Two straight losses would mean the hex Stoops once held
over Mack Brown would officially be over, but a win would mean last year
might have just been a fluky convergence of everything right happening
for the orange side of the field.
- Fumbles: Oklahoma 31, lost 13 - Opponents 23, lost 10
- Sacks: Oklahoma 45 for 24 yards - Opponents 21 for 10 yards
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 109 - Oklahoma 93
The Last Time Oklahoma…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon)
…missed a bowl game…1998
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Baylor)
…was shutout…1998 (Texas A&M)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Houston)
…won a conference title…2004 (Big 12)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2004 (Jason White)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Adrian Peterson)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Mark Clayton)
…had a first-round draft choice…2005 (T Jammal Brown and WR Mark