Oklahoma football: Three reasons Oklahoma needs a statement win against Nebraska

Dec 4, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner defensive tackle Stacy McGee (92) celebrates after the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Big 12 championship game at Cowboys Stadium. The Sooners beat the Cornhuskers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner defensive tackle Stacy McGee (92) celebrates after the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Big 12 championship game at Cowboys Stadium. The Sooners beat the Cornhuskers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Before the opening of the 2022 season, I wrote a piece in which I pontificated at great length and provided my thoughts on “must-win games for Oklahoma football during the 2022 regular season” and why I felt the way I did.

Among those five teams that I stated, OU needed to squash for the first season under new HC Brent Venables to be a success was the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Consider the following paragraphs as an extension of the points made in that initial piece, in light of recent developments and current events being what they are.

Now I could pontificate further and rehash my original points about “Strength of schedule” and the “eye test.” Still, these last two weeks of college football have provided me with new material to further my narrative.

Here are three significant reasons Oklahoma needs to go thundering into Lincoln, Nebraska, and not only win but deliver a sound beating to one of their oldest and most storied rivals, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Reason 1

Currently, the Nebraska Cornhusker football program finds itself in utter disarray; now, what does the chaos above have to do with the Oklahoma game, you ask? Well, allow me to elucidate.

While the Nebraska Cornhusker football program is storied, it might be a bit of an understatement to say that the program has been lacking these last few seasons.

Saturday night marked a new low for the football team when they got into a boat race with the Georgia Southern Eagles…  and lost… at home… to Georgia Southern.

As can be expected when you are a historic program and you drop one to Georgia Southern, the very next morning, as my father would put it, the U-hall was called on Scott Frost, and his possessions in his office were thrown out on the lawn, (which is just a more comedic way of saying that he was fired)

Now, it is worth pointing out that Frost was not fired solely because of the loss; more like the last few seasons and the start to this season culminated in his firing, and the loss to Georgia Southern was just the match on the gasoline.

Nebraska is now 1-2 to start the season, with their only win coming against North Dakoda, and they just fired their head coach less than one week before their game against the #6 team in the country Oklahoma (one of their most storied rivalries of all time)

Not only could Oklahoma not take a loss against this Nebraska team in its current state, but they also might not even be able to take a close win.

Oklahoma cannot get boat raced by a team who just finished on the losing end of a boat race against a far inferior team to OU and fired their head coach.

This Nebraska team is at its most vulnerable right now, coming off an embarrassing loss, a bad start to the season, and their head coach’s firing. This is the perfect time for OU to stroll into Lincoln and deliver a molly whopping, and the media will expect them to do just that, and I have a terrible feeling it will not be a good look if they don’t.

I stated earlier that I wasn’t going to expand upon points I already made in prior pieces regarding the strength of the schedule, but in light of recent events, those points gained even more validity.

Reason 2

Alright, look, I was just as happy with Oklahoma’s victory over Kent State last Saturday and immensely enjoyed the second half of the game. Still, alas, there are two halves to a football game, and during the first half, OU did not look the way we all expected them to look, and indeed, they should have looked.

They did not score a point against Kent State until the final 20 seconds of the half.

Even though they came out the second half and won the game in a blowout fashion, that was a game where I think most people figured that OU would have the clarinet player from the band playing quarterback by the fourth quarter, so for OU to struggle for even a half against Kent State was unexpected and not very welcome, especially after they had just put up 21 points on UTEP in the first quarter alone the week before.

Oklahoma can prove their first half against Kent State was a fluke by going out on Saturday and thumping Nebraska at home. Still, if they struggle, even if it ends up working to a win, the powers might start to question an OU team that struggles with Kent State at home and a Nebraska team that just lost to Georgia Southern and fired its coach.

Reason 3

Last season, a game everyone expected to be a rather lopsided victory for Oklahoma football, turned out to be anything but. Nebraska came to Norman, and Oklahoma had their hands full for four quarters, and that was a Nebraska team who might not even be as good as this one in some ways.

Now, you probably think I’ve lost my mind, making such an erroneous statement as that, but bear in mind that I believe current Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson to be an improvement over Adrian Martinez.

Unlike last season’s Nebraska team, this Nebraska team is lacking a significant position (its head coach), but I think that is going to put a rather large chip on the shoulders of the players; I’m talking they might need salsa for those chips.

This Nebraska team has had a terrible start to their season. They are coming off an emotional and embarrassing loss to an inferior team, resulting in their coach being fired.

No doubt, there are probably those among them that consider themselves responsible for the firing of their head coach and are now out for a bit of retribution, and what better way to feel vindicated than knocking off the #6 team in the country (not to mention one of their greatest rivals) when absolutely everyone is expecting them to get smashed.

Nebraska will have all this on their minds and more when OU gets off the bus on Saturday, and last year, they nearly beat OU at home with an inferior quarterback without the motivation that this game is bringing with it.

Last season Oklahoma had one of the most brilliant offensive minds in college football as head coach in Lincoln Riley and one of the top QB recruits in the country at quarterback in Sponsor Rattler, and still only beat Nebraska by a touchdown.

It would be a loud statement for OU to go into Lincoln, with a new head coach, a new quarterback in Dillan Gabriel, and several new players, and not only win but win definitively against their rival.

Now, despite all the points I have made above, would OU and the OU faithful be happy if OU left Lincoln with a close win? Of course, they would.

Regardless of the current state of the Nebraska football program, they are still a power five school, they are still a member of the big ten conference, and any win over another power five schools, even a close win, should still be worth quite a bit in the eyes of the CFP committee.

This is a rivalry game (regardless of wins, losses, and rankings, it is always played with intensity and passion), and it is being played in Lincoln. Nebraska’s fan base has continuously aired on the side of class, but classy as they might be, that stadium will be loud, and those fans would love nothing more (especially after the week they have had) to watch their team beat Oklahoma.

Because of these reasons, while I believe everything I wrote in the piece you see before you, I also don’t think many people would kick up too much of a fuss if Oklahoma had a narrow escape. Still, I believe an outright molly whopping would be far more impressive, but Saturday is right around the corner, and we shall see.

Boomer Sooner.