Being No. 1 new for these Sooners who go to Baylor Print
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Friday, 03 October 2008 08:24
NCAAF Headline News

 WACO, Texas (AP) -While being No. 1 is a new experience for the current group of Oklahoma Sooners, it won't change the way Bob Stoops and his team approach a game.
``I'm not going to sit here and act like it's a horrible thing, but we're not sitting here jumping up and down either,'' Stoops said. ``The bottom line is this is what we've done to this point in the year, and all that matters now is what we do this week.''
And that means avoiding the kind of upsets that propelled Oklahoma (4-0) into the top spot of the AP poll for a record 96th time, but the first time since 2003.
The Sooners play their Big 12 opener Saturday at Baylor (2-2), where they are a nearly four-touchdown favorite against a team they have never lost to in 17 meetings.
every day in the Big 12,'' said Manuel Johnson, coming off an OU record 206 yards receiving in a 35-10 victory over TCU. ``I think (Baylor) is starting to move up, too, and when you play any team in your conference, such as Oregon State played USC, you've got to come ready to play.''
Oregon State's victory over then-No. 1 Southern California set the stage for the upset-filled weekend in which the Sooners were the only top four team to win.
Like USC did, the Sooners are going on the road for their conference opener. The big difference is that there was some precedence for the Beavers' upset because they had also beaten the Trojans at home two years earlier. Baylor has rarely even been competitive against Oklahoma.
Seven of the last nine meetings have been decided by at least 26 points, and the only time the Bears got close in that stretch was a double-overtime loss in Norman three years ago. The Sooners won by an average of six touchdowns their last four trips to Waco.
By winning, the Sooners could preserve a top-five matchup the following week against Texas at the Cotton Bowl in the middle of the State Fair of Texas.
or.
The Bears have new coach Art Briles and a playmaker in Robert Griffin, a true freshman.
Griffin has proven shifty and elusive less than 10 months after leading his high school team to the Texas Class 4A Division I championship game. In the same sense, he's a newcomer to this Big 12 deal, so forgive him if he sounds a little naive looking ahead to the Sooners.
``Everybody, they either want to be No. 1, or they want to play No. 1,'' Griffin said. ``We get to compete against the No. 1 team in the nation. So that's definitely a plus.''
But both of Baylor's losses have been against Top 25 teams: the opener against Wake Forest when Briles went with a senior transfer to start the game before going to Griffin, and two weeks ago in their last game at Connecticut.
Over the next six weeks, Baylor plays four ranked teams, including back-to-back games against No. 4 Missouri and No. 5 Texas.
``Honestly, I think our challenge is with ourselves,'' Briles said. ``We have to change the way people view us. Our guys are certainly accepting that and facing it head on. ... What we have to do is be a player in the Big 12, not just a member.''
rs but still isn't halfway to their record 29 losses in a row.
At least Griffin provides hope for a bright future. He has thrown seven touchdowns without an interception and is the Bears' leading rusher, including a school-record 217 yards on only 11 carries (three of them at least 57 yards) in the Bears' last home game.
``He's fearless. That's what you notice first and foremost. Extremely confident, and the players latch onto that,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. ``It's not fake. Players know when a guy's a fraud, and he's obviously a terrific talent.'' So is Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford, along with his teammates.
 

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