|Sooners wary of No. 1 ranking|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 30 September 2008 09:35|
The teams that previously held the top spot this season took their first loss, and the Sooners (4-0) know that they could just as easily be next - even if they've won all 17 games they've ever played against Baylor (2-2).
Oklahoma reclaimed the top spot in The Associated Press' poll for the first time since the 2003 Big 12 championship game after No. 1 Southern California lost to Oregon State, eighth-ranked Alabama knocked off No. 3 Georgia and Mississippi upset No. 4 Florida last week.
ecord with 206 yards receiving and three touchdowns last game.
``(Baylor) saw that Ole Miss beat Florida, they saw Oregon State beat USC, so I'm sure they're thinking why can't they do it?''
The Sooners are as close as they can be to the same position they were before their first loss last season. They'd won their four nonconference games in convincing fashion and went on the road as heavy favorites in their Big 12 opener, only to lose 24-21 at Colorado.
``We're probably not going to talk about that,'' quarterback Sam Bradford said.
After struggling on the road last season, this year's team captains called a players-only meeting after the Sooners arrived in Washington. Oklahoma sprung out to a 34-0 lead against the Huskies and ended up winning 55-14. This will be the first road trip since, and Stoops doesn't want his team thinking that one win makes everything right.
``I think still you've got to be able to go on the road in your conference and do the same thing,'' Stoops said. ``In the end, you only answer questions week to week. This week, we've still got to go there and meet the challenge and be at our best and be focused on it. That's what we're working on here through the week.''
al Red River Rivalry game against Texas in Dallas - a classic trap game scenario.
``That's never been an issue here. It's simple because we've got to go to Baylor. You guys may or may not be going, fans may or may not be going but we're going. We've got to play,'' Stoops said.
``I think you can look at our track record the weeks before that game and the weeks after that game in the last 10 years to answer your question. We'll be focused on Baylor and Baylor alone.''
Bradford said the No. 1 ranking can be a blessing and a curse. The team can either be energized by being held in high regard or play too conservative because they're trying to protect their position. With that in mind, the Sooners have tried to ignore the polls until they become more meaningful at the end of the season.
``I've heard very little about it in the locker room, really,'' Bradford said.
In the short term, Oklahoma is trying to shore up its running game (the Sooners ran for 25 yards on 36 carries against TCU) and limit the hits on Bradford after he was sacked four times.
Coaches remember all too well that it was Baylor back in 2003 that exposed some seemingly small weaknesses that Kansas State capitalized on to knock off the Sooners.
fensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. ``You're never going to be perfect, you're not going to be at your total 1,000 percent best every game, but you don't want to show that you have a bunch of chinks in your armor and you need to keep playing in a clean and a crisp way.''
And last week was the perfect example of what can happen to highly ranked teams, especially once conference play has begun.
``I think it's an old story anymore when you look through the years. In every league and every conference, you see upsets,'' Stoops said. ``If you're not prepared to play and you're not at your best, you can be beat.''