Oklahoma is having a hard time accepting it, but it’s true. The Sooners are in the spoiler role Saturday morning for its Bedlam showdown at Oklahoma State.
It can be twisted every which way but the truth is OSU is playing for a Big 12 championship. The Sooners are playing for pride and derailing the Cowboys’ championship hopes. Even if OU wins, it can’t claim a championship or co-championship.
Maybe it’s tough to accept when you have an 83-17-7 series edge as OU does right now, but it’s the case for 2013.
“The fact that you call us the spoiler against Oklahoma State – I’m not even going to answer that,” senior center Gabe Ikard said.
It’s a rivalry game, and if anybody needed any reminders, last week illustrated that anything can and usually does happen in those games.
OU enters the game as 10.5-point underdog despite the 9-2 overall record and despite being ranked No. 17 in the BCS.
“Those lines don’t mean anything to us,” Ikard said. “It’s a rivalry game where those numbers don’t matter, momentum changes in the game, weather, a lot of things factor into what happens so I’m not worried about that at all.”
Even if the Sooners won’t fully embrace the spoiler label, it’s not a bad one. Not when you consider the last time that label was thrown around for OU against the Cowboys.
Back in 2009 OSU was 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the conference. The Cowboys were ranked No. 11 in the country. OU? Not ranked, 7-4 and 5-2 in the conference.
On that November day, there was nothing the Cowboys could do against the Sooners defense. OU dominated in every phase of the game, cruising to a 27-0 victory.
How dominant was it? OSU had just six first downs, a mere 109 total yards of offense, gaining a paltry 2.1 yards per play.
OU running back DeMarco Murray rushed for two touchdowns, quarterback Landry Jones threw for 224 yards and wide receiver Ryan Broyles let everybody know he was going to be a name to watch going forward.
Broyles, who at one time was committed to Oklahoma State, had nine receptions for 103 yards and iced the game with an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
More eye-popping stats? The Cowboys had 10 possessions that were three-and-out and punted a staggering 14 times.
A 27-0 outcome used to be the norm. It’s not anymore. The days of OU routing OSU are over.
From 1946 to 2009, the Sooners beat the Cowboys by at least 10 points 43 times. But in the last three meetings, the only blowout win was by OSU in 2011.
“I think just the consistency at what they play,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “I think it’s really a difference. At Oklahoma we were always there, but now Oklahoma State is always showing up, too, so they’ve become very significant in this conference.
“Their players play very consistently every time they step on the field, so that’s what you get is a more consistent opponent and a better opponent.”
And one OU will try to play spoiler against Saturday.