Everything was set up perfectly for Oklahoma on Saturday night. Oklahoma State had lost on Friday to Iowa State and earlier in the night Oregon had dropped to USC. All the Sooners had to do was beat a team that they were 20-0 against. Simple task, right? Wrong!
It appears that I've been overly complimentary of this team as the season progressed. I've stood up for them through ugly wins and done my best to explain away their shortcomings. I was there in person when they destroyed Texas and I witnessed first hand the loss to Texas Tech. I can honestly tell you that after each game I thought this team was one of the top teams in the country and had a legitimate chance to win the BCS championship. I wrote off Texas Tech to injuries and had that feeling affirmed when Tom Wort, Jamell Fleming and Casey Walker returned to the lineup.
I was obviously wrong in the credit I was giving this team. We could breakdown (and most likely will) how the absences of Dominique Whaley, Ryan Broyles and the injury to Ronnell Lewis affected this Baylor game but instead I'm going to call it as I see it. OU lost 45-38 to Baylor on Saturday night because they don't have any heart. There's no fire! There's no one who says to the team, "Get on my shoulders and I'll carry you!" This team is full of players who are capable of making fantastic plays but also do a lot of standing around waiting on someone else to make the play. No one seems to want the burden of leadership.
Landry Jones is a good quarterback and has a solid NFL career ahead of him. I've met him in person on a few occasions and I can tell you that he's a great dude. However, I'm now jumping on the bandwagon that touts the fact that he shows no poise or leadership when its clutch time. I had hoped that he had developed it from his sophomore to junior year and now all that I can do is pray that it comes between his junior and senior year.
The safeties are an Achilles Heel to the defense and its clear that there has been no improvement through the season. A quarterback who can buy some time or execute the play-action will beat Oklahoma's safeties! What happened at the end of this game was completely ridiculous and absolutely inexcusable.
Oklahoma's coaches may be the best in the nation at making halftime adjustments but have done a poor job at situational coaching. They limp through the first half if their game plan isn't working and if opponents make effective counter moves in the second half then when get the result we saw in Waco Saturday night.
The Big XII title is still out there for the taking. If the Sooners win out then its theirs! It will be the eighth title under Stoops in twelve years. However, it won't be enough. This season is officially a disappointment and there's no way to change that now. It has fallen short of the mark, not one set up by the fans and the media but by Bob Stoops himself. I'm all for another Big XII championship but this is the year when its just not enough. This team was stacked and ready to make a title run. It was there for the taking on Saturday night. Oklahoma just didn't have the heart to grab it!