OU Football: Are the Sooners the Best Team in the Big 12 Right Now?


It is a difficult argument to make that a one-loss OU football team is the best in the Big 12 when there are two other teams that are still unbeaten.

That is the situation that Oklahoma finds itself in as it gets ready to go up against three of the Big 12’s four best teams this season.

The Sooners are 8-1 as they get ready to face the 9-0 Baylor Bears, ranked in the top-five nationally all season and currently No. 6 in the College Football Playoff standings. Many college football experts pretty much wrote off OU as a national title contender, let alone their chances of winning the Big 12, after the Sooners stumbled early last month in their annual rivalry game with Texas.

Nov 8, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Keith Ford (21) runs during the game against the Baylor Bears at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Since then, however, Oklahoma has played like a team possessed, rolling over four straight opponents by a combined score of 250-32 while also applying a stranglehold defensively. Quite frankly, that is what most of the experts believed they would see out of the Sooners all along, but to be fair, the strength of the competition hasn’t been what they are about to go up against the next three weeks.

ESPN college football analyst Danny Kanell, a former quarterback in the NFL and at Florida State, is one who believes the Sooners are playing the best football in the Big 12 and perhaps at just the right time. See what he has to say about Oklahoma in this video of an ESPN college football segment on Monday.

Oklahoma State disposed of previously unbeaten and top-10-ranked TCU with relative ease on Saturday, to stay unbeaten themselves and stake their claim as the Big 12’s best team this season.

The Cowboys did escape Texas, but Oklahoma’s wins over Kansas State, West Virginia and Kansas were more impressive than the Oklahoma State victories over those common opponents.

TCU is now tied with OU for second place in the conference standings, and the Horned Frogs must play at Oklahoma the weekend after this one and possibly without their leading receiver and one of the best in the country. The Horned Frogs have had problems all season with defensive breakdowns and injuries, and it was just a matter of time before they ran into a team that they couldn’t just outscore in order to win. That time came against Oklahoma State, a team that plays tough defense, and the Frogs are likely to experience it against when they visit the Sooners.

Everybody knows about Baylor’s immense firepower offensively. There isn’t a defense in the country that is going to shut down the Bears’ prolific offense and keep them off the scoreboard. But two weeks ago, Baylor lost its starting quarterback, Seth Russell, for the rest of the season because of a broken bone in his neck.

More from OU Football

Russell’s replacement, freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham, was one of the most highly recruited QBs coming out of high school, but this is his first season of college ball. He made his first start last week against Kansas State and played fairly well, but the Bears were only able to pull out a seven-point win, in large part because they were not able to stop the K-State running game.

Kansas State gashed the Baylor defense for 258 yards rushing. The Wildcats managed just 65 yards on the ground against Oklahoma and only 45 more through the air. Both games were played at Kansas State. Kansas State ranks eighth in the Big 12 in rushing; the Sooners are fourth in the conference in that category, averaging 203 rushing yards per game, and that number has been steadily going up in recent weeks.

Oklahoma State has already opened up some eyes with the dominant way the Cowboys handled TCU last weekend. In Round 2 of the three-week Chase for the Crown in the Big 12, Oklahoma and Baylor will get the opportunity to make their case as a legitimate title contender and in front of a prime-time national television audience.

One thing we are certain of: The best team that night will come away with the victory.