Being the “favorite” makes the long wait for the big bowl game a little easier. However, this season, Sooner fans really do not know what to expect from their early January Cotton Bowl match-up.
Texas A&M is a solid team, with the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, but the Sooners are no pushover. Though, until we see more adjustments on the defensive side of the ball and a more consistent run game, it is a little concerning with the Aggies as favorites.
Now maybe Sooner fans like being in the underdog role, and maybe it helps motivate the players and coaches to work even harder. It certainly did for the 2005 and 2009 teams.
Though, let’s take a look at how the six Bob Stoops’ teams performed when ranked below their opponent in the postseason.
2009 Sun Bowl – Oklahoma 31, #19 Stanford 27
Not exactly the Heisman winner, but a weird coincidence the last time OU was ranked lower than their opponent in a bowl game was against a team with a Heisman finalist. Who could forget a younger Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles tearing up the Stanford defense and the Sooners doing just enough to stop Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart?
2009 BCS Championship – #1 Florida 24, #2 Oklahoma 14
Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham did as much as the QB-TE tandem could, but Florida scored ten unanswered points after the Sooners tied it at 14 early in the fourth. It was just not meant to be against a Gator offense led by everybody’s favorite football player, Tim Tebow, who put the game out of reach with a touchdown pass to David Nelson in the fourth quarter.
2005 Holiday Bowl – Oklahoma 17, #6 Oregon 14
The Sooners had a subpar season following their demoralizing loss to Southern Cal, but the 2005 Oklahoma Sooners ended their year on a high note. After falling down 7-3 in the first half, Kejuan Jones and a Rhett Bomar toss to J.D. Runnells put OU up 17-7. Oregon had a chance with under a minute to take the lead, but Clint Ingram intercepted an errant Brady Leaf pass to ensure a Sooner victory over the Ducks.
2005 Orange Bowl – #1 USC 55, Oklahoma 19
Yeah, you know what happend. I know what happened. Let’s move on.
2004 Sugar Bowl – #2 LSU 21, #3 Oklahoma 14
Oklahoma had a chance to tie up the game, but Jason White could not come through and was unable to end his Heisman season with a National Championship. If there was a bright side to any of this, at least Oklahoma didn’t potentially have to share a National Championship with USC? Yeah, let’s go with that.
2003 Rose Bowl – #8 Oklahoma 34, #7 Washington State 14
Quentin Griffin ran wild on the Cougar defense and helped OU rout Washington State to become the fourth school in college football history to win all four BCS bowls. It was a great defensive performance from Oklahoma, and at the time, made Bob Stoops 2-0 in BCS bowl games. That would soon change, but impressive for a young coach.