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College Football Musings from the Train: Bedlam


I wasn't floored that Oklahoma beat down a depleted Oklahoma State team. Not with the way Oklahoma was playing going into the weekend. Not the way Oklahoma State was giving up huge yards and points. Or the way the offensive line can't hold blocks or create running lanes. Hell, I predicted it ... sort of.

But propose that possibility in October? Or December of 2014? No effing chance.

Oklahoma blitzed and ran through the Mason the Rudolph-less Pokes 58-23 in Stillwater Saturday night. Both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined to rush for 267 yards. Baker Mayfield may not have been spectacular, but he was wildly efficient. 17 for 25 180 yards with two scores, and once again, no turnovers. Lincoln Riley didn't ask the quarterback to do much. He didn't have to. The Sooners moved the ball well all night.

The defense forced two huge turnovers. The secondary played well, minus one huge exception. The front seven crushed the will of the Pokes. Eric Striker was spectacular. Charles Walker was fantastic. The defensive front completely overmatched the porous Oklahoma State offensive line.

While it's disingenuous to ignore that Mason Rudolph only played three snaps, he would have been a clay pigeon against the OU pass rush. Oklahoma State can't run the ball without Walsh. And frankly, Walsh was not the problem. He was 25 of 42 for 325 and two scores.

And hell, really OSU's offense was not the problem. It was turnovers and bad defense. The demise of the Poke defense in 2015 is equal parts stunning and confounding. They have great talent on the line and in the defensive backfield, but they looked slow and confused. Perhaps even deflated and tired. OSU surrendered 90+ plays per game the last month of the season. Maybe we overrated the talent on that defense. Maybe the scheme was a problem. Or maybe when Oklahoma State finally started to play good teams, they got exposed.

OSU wins 10 games and might play in a big league bowl game, but I don't think any OSU fan worth his or her salt isn't disappointed with how this season played out. That's literally the exact opposite of how every OU fan feels.


The Play

There wasn't a punt return. Or a game winning field goal. Or an overtime touchdown. Oklahoma had several plays which summed up their dominance Saturday night.

Down by 18 in the 2nd quarter, the Pokes were looking for a spark from their gimpy starting quarterback. The result? A pick six care of Jordan Thomas and Eric Striker. Did anyone see this coming from Thomas after last year? Dude is not only the best cover guy on the team, he is a playmaker. Big plays littered the field Saturday in Stillwater. Thomas' pick six summarized the Cowboys' struggles and Sooners' dominance.



The Quarter (and change)

13 minutes into the game, Oklahoma State is up 10-7 and Oklahoma seemed hellbent on passing and flailing its way to a loss in Stillwater. Then Samaje Perine happened. And Joe Mixon. And the defense.

The Sooners would finish the first half with 44 points and the game was basically over. Hell, if not for Slick Shoes Sanchez, Oklahoma holds a 44-3 halftime lead. The Sooners went apeshit to close the first half. Touchdown runs by Mixon and Perine. A pick six by Thomas. 37 points in 17 minutes. Oklahoma State managed to score a couple of touchdowns care of Zack Sanchez and his dance shoes, but the damage was done and the conference title clinched.



The Fan and his reindeer

Outside of what seemed like every player for the OU offense, the night's biggest star was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Violator:


We did some digging to find out who this kid is, but since we don't like to delve into the private sexual lives of adults and their inflatable reindeer, we're keeping his name a secret. He and the old Texas Tech Bell Ringer should become friends.



The Trip, Part Deux

Old habits die hard...

That's a little more sneaky than the 2013 version...



The Crow

As stunning as that Texas loss was, the 2015 Oklahoma Sooners vying for the number one seed in the college football playoff is more stunning. Not with this defense. Not with this quarterback. Not with that schedule.

51 weeks ago, I penned the following:

OU has nothing to look forward to next year outside of Perine. They have a tougher schedule, no quarterback, no back 7 on defense, and they’re losing 3/5’s of the offensive line. Oh, and two idiots calling the plays on offense and defense.


And couldn't be happier.

I still believe Oklahoma State has something. Rudolph may not win a Heisman. The Pokes may never recruit five-star defensive linemen. They may not make the college football playoff year in and year out. But they are one of the top dogs in this conference.

Oklahoma? Amazing what a quarterback will do for your job security. Baker Mayfield is quickly becoming my favorite Oklahoma Sooner of all time. Forget the passes and scrambles and pancake blocks. Dude is a baller - a leader. He is the difference.

Well, he and the defense. No one saw this coming. I doubt Mike Stoops saw this coming. A historically bad defense becomes the best in conference. Charles Tapper reinvents himself on the inside. Charles Walker is an all American. Jordan Thomas is a top flight cover corner. Jordan Evans is playing out of this mind. Steven Parker is an NFL safety. And Eric Striker ... my God. He was far and away the best player in the country last night.

I was wrong. I was wrong about Mike Stoops. I was wrong about Mayfield. I was wrong about the direction of the program. And more importantly, I was wrong about Bob Stoops.



The Future

Oklahoma, in the span of a year, has gone from downtrodden former football power to the precipice of the college football playoff. And things look crazy good for 2016. Mayfield and the running backs return. 3/5 of the offensive line are back. The defensive tackles, linebackers, and almost the entire secondary will be back. Oklahoma finds a pass rusher and some receivers step up ... they will be very good.

Oklahoma State is good. But there is concern with the defense. To fall so far so fast is disturbing. The offense will be fine with Rudolph and the relievers coming back. The offensive line will be better. One of those running backs will emerge. But the defense is a major problem, especially when you take away the end rushers to graduation or the draft.

Oklahoma will compete for the national title next year, injuries and attrition notwithstanding. Oklahoma State is never going to completely suck under Gundy. But the schedule turns over next year. A three loss season could be a success. Anything less than a conference championship would be a disappointment for Sooner fan.

But who cares about that. We still have a few more games to go... hopefully.

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