Oklahoma football: Midseason Sooners’ snapshot, performance grades

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NORMAN, OK – SEPTEMBER 4: The Sooner Schooner circles the field after a touchdown by the Oklahoma Sooners against the Tulane Green Wave in the second quarter at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2021 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners won 40-35. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

It’s been an up-and-down Oklahoma football season through the first half of the 2021 campaign, yet the Sooners are undefeated (6-0) and ranked in the top five in both major national polls.

Former NFL head coach Bill Parcells liked to say, “You are what your record says you are.” I’m not sure that applies in assessing the Oklahoma performance so far this season.

The Sooners played their best game of the season, both offensively and defensively, in the final 30 minutes of the game this past weekend against longtime rival Texas. In that same game, OU played the worst it has all season in the opening half.

That seems to describe the type of year it has been so far midway through a season that was filled with super-high expectations from the outset but has struggled to resemble a team worthy of championship standing.

Head coach Lincoln Riley has been saying all season that the Sooner offense is “so close” to be hitting on all cylinders. The closest we’ve seen to that being the case was in the second half against Texas, and that came with a quarterback change.

Whether Riley will continue to go with the one whose brought the Sooners this far, in Spencer Rattler, or ride the current momentum and the offensive spark created by backup quarterback Caleb Williams is perhaps the biggest question facing Oklahoma as it crosses over into the second half of the season beginning this Saturday at home against TCU.

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