Leave Texas ahead of Oklahoma ... for now
Toward the end of my column from Saturday night's Oklahoma-Texas Tech blowout, I wrote of the impending Big 12 poll controversy: "Here's a suggestion: Perhaps the voters should wait until next week's [Oklahoma-Oklahoma State] Bedlam game in Stillwater before ultimately rendering their judgment."
Apparently that advice was not heeded, as voters in every major poll vaulted the Sooners ahead of Texas in the wake of their 65-21 clinic against the Red Raiders. 'Horns coach Mack Brown called them "emotional voters," saying: "Saturday night, watching Oklahoma play and play so well, emotionally the voters jumped them up some."
I don't know if I'd call it "emotional" (if anything, most sportswriters I know are about as unemotional as they come) as much as "hasty," but he's got a point. With voters forced to turn in their ballots within hours of the OU-Tech game ending, it's understandable that the game they just watched would hold such weight.
I was as impressed with the Sooners as everyone else. How could you not be? But as I said in that column: What's the rush?
Oklahoma may well now be the best team in the Big 12, if not the country. Both the Sooners' running game and their defense have improved immeasurably since their Oct. 11 loss to Texas to go along with an already spectacular passing game.
But at this point, the Longhorns still have better overall credentials than Oklahoma. I'm not even talking specifically about their head-to-head matchup. As Bob Stoops said, you can't apply one result (Texas-OU), but disregard another (Texas Tech-Texas) in a three-way tie. I'm talking about the fact that Texas, unlike OU, won its biggest game away from home, and that the 'Horns, unlike the Sooners, have a win over Big 12 North champ Missouri on their resume.
However, one thing that neither Texas nor Texas Tech has done is beat an elite opponent at a hostile road venue. Oklahoma has a chance to do that next week at 9-2 Oklahoma State (which, you may recall, took Texas to the wire on the 'Horns' home field), and, in doing so, give credence to the notion that they're "playing better" than the 'Horns at this point in the season.
So to sum up: I left Texas (No. 3) ahead of Oklahoma (No. 4) for now. But if the Sooners play even half as well against the Cowboys as they did last Saturday, I will be awfully tempted to elevate them in next week's poll, possibly even above No. 2 Florida.
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Got a different view than Stew?
Last Week: 1
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