|Path to Big 12 title gets increasingly difficult for No. 4 Sooners|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 06 November 2007 12:31|
The Sooners' road to reach their postseason goals begins, like most tournaments, against a heavy underdog and has increasingly more difficult competition along the way.
In the first round, Oklahoma (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) draws last-place Baylor (3-7, 0-6). After that, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State stand in the way of the Sooners' hopes for a fifth Big 12 championship game appearance in the past six years - likely against No. 5 Kansas or No. 7 Missouri.
Beyond that, their hopes for a national championship remain alive - although it would likely take some help along the way to move up from fifth in the BCS standings.
``Everybody talks about the basketball teams getting momentum in the tournament. We're kind of in a tournament, and you want to kind of build at the end so that you're rolling and playing good football down the stretch so you can keep it going in a good way,'' Sooners offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said Tuesday.
Wilson said he's shown his players film of the Baylor game from four years ago the Sooners won 41-3 but felt a weakness was exposed when the Bears had five sacks. Oklahoma had only allowed 12 sacks in 10 previous games. Over Oklahoma's last four games that year - including back-to-back losses in the Big 12 and BCS championship games - opponents racked up 22 sacks against Heisman Trophy winner Jason White.
Whether it's sacks or something else, the Sooners don't want to develop any bad habits.
``You want to play well at the end and keep momentum and keep building because I think if you get out of sync you can show some vulnerability to future opponents,'' Wilson said. ``You want to come out, take care of business, have respect for who you're playing. Anything, in this day and age, can happen.''
M on Saturday.
``I would say in that week off, what I saw Saturday, we did make improvement. Now, we have to continue to make it,'' Stoops said. ``It gets back to taking care of the football, and I think the week off had us really anxious to play again. Hopefully we'll continue that way.''
On offense, Oklahoma was back to its early season, high-scoring ways. While Sam Bradford tossed five touchdown passes (including four to tight end Jermaine Gresham) and had the highest rated in a game in school history, the Sooners had their best rushing performance against a Big 12 opponent this season with 186 yards.
M scored two touchdowns after it was way too late for a comeback.
The only problem on defense for the Sooners was an injury to Big 12 sacks leader Auston English.
English suffered a hairline fracture when he was kicked in the leg and is expected to miss this week, although Stoops reported the defensive end was already feeling much better.
``I think we're getting there,'' cornerback Reggie Smith said. ``A lot of little dings and stuff we got taken care of during that off week, but I think we're trying to improve now.''
In tournament time, there's no room for a slip-up. Any loss would knock the Sooners out of the national title picture and leave them dependent on a tiebreaker situation in the Big 12 South.
``It's been shown this year if you slop around, you can lose every Saturday,'' Wilson said. ``You want to win this one, but you also want to build at the end of the year.''