#15 Houston handles #3 Oklahoma

We’ve come to expect this from Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Whenever expectations get high, his teams seem to fold.

Coming off of an appearance in the College Football Playoff and opening the season as the third-ranked team in the country, the Sooners faced off against a ranked Houston team led by the new coaching sensation on the block in Tom Herman. The result was a 33-23 loss that won’t sit well with Sooner Nation.

Meanwhile, Houston becomes that Group of 5 team that everyone will have to contend with as a threat to crack the College Football Playoff. Their schedule is very favorable going forward apart from a battle with Louisville later in the season.

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Baylor less than impressive with start to cupcake schedule

By now most college football fans are familiar with Baylor’s embarrassing nonconference schedule. This year the chest-thumping Bears get the season started with SMU, Lamar and Rice.

The plan of course is to run up some impressive (though meaningless) stats playing defenses that resemble an intramural touch football game, and naturally Baylor chalked up over 50 points against defensive backs who couldn’t tackle members of the Baylor chess club.

But with minutes left in the first half, Baylor was only up 28-21 as SMU managed to come up with zero points after having first and goal inside the five due to amateurish coaching mistakes.

Now, it’s the first game of the season, and it’s easy to sit back and rip apart teams who don’t pay flawless football in their opener.

But with Baylor we saw a pretty lame defense giving up big chunks of yardage to SMU, and you have to ask yourself how this team could possible stop real Power 5 running games from the likes of Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State.

The fact that Baylor has excelled in the Big 12 is more of an indictment of what Bob Stoops has been doing in Oklahoma and the mess in Texas that Charlie Strong is trying to clean up. If those programs wake up, Baylor’s time in the sun will end soon unless Art Briles learns how to put a real defense on the field.

Upset Saturday

We’re finally getting some upsets to shake up college football. #5 Stanford traveled to Utah and was stunned by the Utes who made an impressive goal line stand at the end of the game for a final score of 27-21. Check out the parody video above that makes fun of Stanford fans.

#25 Missouri improved to 6-0 with an upset of #7 Georgia on the road. Georgia had a ton of injuries but losses like this have been all too common for the Bulldogs in recent years.

In another huge shocker, much-maligned Texas took care of #12 Oklahoma 36-20 in this classic rivalry game. With the win Mack Brown can breath a little easier, while Bob Stoops is yet another year removed from that last National Championship that happened oh so long ago.

Meanwhile, #18 Michigan managed to lose to Penn State in an overtime thriller, though this one is hardly a surprise. The undefeated Wolverines have been barely escaping with wins against mediocre teams all season. It finally caught up to them.

For a while it looked like Boston College might upset #3 Clemson, but everything fell apart for them in the fourth quarter.

The top 25 will change quite a bit tomorrow, and we’re looking at a potential battle between 4 sets of teams to play in the National Championship game: Alabama (or possibly a one-loss SEC winner other than Alabama), Oregon (or maybe UCLA if they win out), the ACC winner (Clemson, Florida State or Miami) and Ohio State (no other Big Ten team has a chance).

Of course, if everyone starts losing, even teams like an undefeated Louisville or Baylor could have a shot, but chances are the game will be played between two of the teams mentioned above.

Why does it take a good opponent for Oklahoma to actually show up?

Sooners head coach Bob Stoops talks to his team in the second half of the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship NCAA football game in Miami January 08, 2009. (UPI Photo/Mark Wallheiser) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Oklahoma is off to a 4-0 start, but it’s one of the more strange 4-0 starts I can remember seeing.

The Sooners struggled in Week 1 with Utah State, destroyed what was thought to be a very good Florida State team in Week 2, squeaked by a solid, but not elite Air Force team in Week 3 and just minutes ago survived a scare from a less-than-stellar Cincinnati team. All that matters is the 4-0 start, obviously, but isn’t it a little alarming that the Sooners seem to be playing down to some of their opponents?

Since winning the national title in 2000, Bob Stoops-coached Oklahoma teams have a slightly disturbing habit of losing to inferior teams. Stoops often catches crap for losing in bowl games, but to me, stuff like that is forgivable. It’s when a team loses concentration and struggles to put away a team that it should have no problem burying that I worry about.

One problem Oklahoma runs into is that I’m sure these teams make this the biggest game of their season. Utah State could go 1-11, but if the win is over Oklahoma, fans will never forget that team. Tonight’s near-giveaway against Cincinnati could also be attributed to having Texas next week. It’s the biggest game on the schedule for the Sooners, and perhaps they started to look ahead a little too soon.

Again, the Sooners haven’t lost any of these games this year, and maybe Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati will go on to have great seasons, we don’t know yet. We do know that these aren’t isolated incidents, however, and the precedent for losing one is there.

2010 Big 12 College Football Preview: Oklahoma reclaims top spot

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 3:   Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners hands the ball off to teammate runningback DeMarco Murray #7 in the first quarter against the Miami Hurricanes on October 3, 2009 at Landshark Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Here’s a quick and dirty look at how I see things playing out in the Big 12 this season:

#1 Oklahoma
In Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy, Trent Williams, Jermaine Gresham, Keenan Clayton, Brody Eldridge and Dominique Franks, there’s no doubt that the Sooners lost a ton of talent from last year. However, this season is all about two names: Landry Jones and DeMarco Murray. Jones filled in admirably when Bradford went down last season, throwing 26 touchdown passes and gaining valuable experience throughout the year. Murray’s health history is a major concern, but if he can stay upright he’s scary good. He’s more versatile than Adrian Peterson was in that he can catch the ball out of the backfield or beat teams as a rusher. He’s big, he’s fast and he can get north and south in a hurry. He’s also going to get a ton of opportunities to shine this year as both a runner and a pass-catcher and again, if he can stay healthy he has the ability to be one of the best backs in college football. Defensively, Bob Stoops’ team has good depth and while the loss of McCoy hurts, don’t forget that Jeremy Beal was fifth on the team in tackles last season and first in sacks with 11. The linebacker corps has a chance to be special thanks to redshirt freshman Tom Wort and sophomore Ronnell Lewis. I know many pundits still like Texas in the South, but with Landry, Murray and nine starters returning on offense, I think Oklahoma reclaims the conference this season.

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