Sooner Football Shows Up Big Against Big 12’s Big Three


It has been a marvelous 36 hours for Sooner football fans after Oklahoma became the first team in a Power 5 conference to win its conference championship with an impressive demolition of previously 11th-ranked Oklahoma State last weekend and virtually punching its ticket to this year’s College Football Playoff.

The Big 12 does not officially hold a conference championship game in football, but this season it can claim “one true champion,” with Saturday night’s Bedlam showdown between the Sooners and Oklahoma State serving as a de facto title game.

The Sooners and the Cowboys entered the game with identical 7-1 conference records, the only teams in the Big 12 with fewer than two losses. Baylor was still in the mix before Friday with just one league loss (to Oklahoma), but that changed with TCU’s two-overtime win over the Bears in a driving rain storm on Friday night.

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) gets a hug from Mike Stoops after defeating Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma won 58-23. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

With the back-loaded schedule in the Big 12 this season, the top four teams in the conference all played each other during the month of November. Entering the month of November, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State were all ranked in the top-25 nationally and undefeated in conference play, sporting a combined Big 12 record of 14-0. Oklahoma was the only one of the four teams with a league loss to that point after being upset in its annual rivalry game with Texas, despite going into that game as a 17-point favorite.

Baylor still has one game remaining, on Saturday at home hosting Texas. The Sooners, Oklahoma State and TCU have all finished the regular season. In the month of November, with all four of the contenders facing each other over a three-week stretch, the Sooners ran the table, going 4-0 in November.

Baylor split its four games during the month, defeating Kansas State and Oklahoma State, both on the road, and losing to Oklahoma in Waco and to TCU in Waco in what many at the beginning of the season believed would be for the Big 12 championship.

TCU suffered a 20-point loss at Oklahoma State the first weekend in November and lost its leading receiver, Josh Doctson, to a wrist injury in the process. The following weekend, the Horned Frogs struggled mightily against winless Kansas, eking out a costly six-point victory. Quarterback Trevone Boykin left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and wasn’t available when TCU played at Oklahoma. The Sooners might have won their matchup with the Horned Frogs handily, but without quarterback Baker Mayfield in the lineup in the second half of that game, held out with concussion symptoms, TCU fought back to within a single point, but failed on a two-point conversion try to win the game, preserving a 30-29 victory for the Sooners.

The Horned Frogs rebounded against Baylor, which had lost its starting quarterback a month ago and the primary backup in the win over Oklahoma State and was down to its third-string quarterback, a converted wide receiver for the game with TCU. The Frogs not only eliminated Baylor from the conference title chase, but gained some redemption for the Bears’ incredible 24-point comeback victory a year ago.

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Samaje Perine (left) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

So here is how the Big 12’s big four teams fared in November: Oklahoma 4-0, Oklahoma State 2-2, Baylor 2-2, TCU 2-2. As could have been expected, the league leaders beat up on each other during the month, while the Sooners skated through the gauntlet unscathed and now has the opportunity to play for even higher stakes than the Big 12 championship.

The wins over Oklahoma State, TCU and Baylor gives Bob Stoops’ boys five wins over ranked teams this season in as many games, the only team in the country that can make that claim.

More than just the wins themselves, it was the way the Sooners went about their business in a show of strength that clearly separated OU as the best team in the Big 12 this season.

Consider these impressive stat lines from Oklahoma’s matchups against the top three teams in the Big 12 this season:

Scoring: Oklahoma 132, Big 3 (Baylor/TCU/Oklahoma State combined) 86

Average score: Oklahoma – 44, Big 3 – 28.7

Rushing: Oklahoma – 918 yards, Big 3 – 664 yards

Passing: Oklahoma – 623 yards, Big 3 – 811 yards

Third-Down Conversions: Oklahoma – 21/51 (.410), Big 3 – 20/48 (.420)

Turnovers: Oklahoma +5

Yards Allowed: Oklahoma – 1,263 (421 yards/game), Big 3 – 1,571 (523.7 yards/game)

How do you spell dominance in big 12 football in the 2015 season? O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A.