Texas 24, Oklahoma 17 Instant Analysis
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1. Yeah, Texas came up with a great performance, but …
It still doesn’t matter, just like the idea of Charlie Strong needing to win this game was crazy for everyone but the doorknobs who couldn’t realize that Texas football is about 2017, not the right now. Just like it didn’t matter that the Longhorns got blown out by TCU, and just like the 1-4 start didn’t matter. In terms of what Texas is and what it’s supposed to be, it’s not going to win the Big 12 championship, and it’s not going to go to the College Football Playoff, and it’s not going to win the national championship. That’s where the expectations are supposed to be for Texas football, and if the program isn’t playing for championships, it doesn’t matter …
Except that it does. Of course it does.
Of course it matters whenever Texas beats Oklahoma, but more importantly, this week saved Texas from itself. Strong is the right head coach for the right program, but this was a gut job. This wasn’t Michigan or Florida that needed a little bit of tweaking – this was a rebuild. This is what keeping Mack Brown around for an extra year or so meant. And now, with this win, the Strong On Hot Seat talk should be dead and buried. Texas isn’t going to have a great season, but it beat Oklahoma, and its excellent head coach can now do his job and build this thing back up.
2. Insane talk of Bob Stoops on a hot seat to start in 5 … 4 …
And here’s the opposite side of the equation. Because 2015 is the year of the You Can’t Lose, watch out for someone, somewhere to start talking about how Bob Stoops has lost his touch and how Oklahoma might be ready for a different direction. The Sooners had a rough performance against an ultra-motivated team that played at its highest level, but there’s still plenty of time and lots of chances for them to achieve all of their goals.
In 2013, Oklahoma lost to Texas, and ended the year beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. In 2008, Texas won 45-35, and OU went on to win the Big 12 title and win the national championship. In 2006, OU lost to Texas, and won the Big 12 title. Fortunately, the loss came to Texas and not to TCU or Baylor. Run the table, finish 11-1, get into the playoff. Let this be a kick in the pants for the Sooners before the schedule really starts to kick in.
3. When in doubt, grind it out.
How do you turn things around in a hurry? You rely on your offensive line and you get physical and you start pounding away. That’s what Michigan did to get back to respectability, and that’s what Florida has been able to do, at least in terms of playing tough. It was a simple formula – get the running game working, and everything else will fall into place. D’Onta Freeman ran for 117 yards, Jerrod Heard ran for 115 yards. Johnathan Gray ran for 76 yards. The Longhorns averaged 5.4 yards per try and ran it 58 times. Oklahoma averaged 1.8 yards per carry. Texas was just plain tougher in the trenches.