When Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jalen Saunders caught a seven-yard pass in the right corner of the Oklahoma State Cowboys‘ end zone to take a 26-24 lead with 19 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, one could practically hear a pin drop at Boone Pickens Stadium. This held true for the final 19 seconds of the game, as the Sooners would go on to win 33-24, ensuring they won the game and took their record to 10-2 in 2013.
While any win in this rivalry series is a hugely important one, there is no doubting that the results of the win are far ranging for Oklahoma. The win not only ensured that their biggest rival could not win the Big 12 Championship in 2013, but also practically guaranteed a BCS Bowl Berth for the Sooners themselves.
Some people may believe that Oklahoma does not deserve to go on to one of college football’s premier bowls after losing to Texas and Baylor by a combined score of 77-33 in 2013, but these blemishes do not outweigh a very impressive resume. Chief amongst the teams accomplishments are a Week 9 victory over a then 10th ranked Texas Tech win and a victory over sixth ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon. Overall, their victories were compiled with a combined score of 350-179, showing a dominance over teams when the Sooners do win.
Additionally, they have a very impressive roster on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Offensively, they are led by a core group of running backs — with duo Brennan Clay and Damien Williams being the most prominent — that have combined to rush for 235.83 yards per game and 18 touchdowns. Heading into Saturday’s game, their output was good enough to rank 15th in college football, and the team was able to control the ball for 34:20 against Oklahoma State by rushing for 165 yards in total.
Defensively, they are not great, but are surely good enough to keep themselves in the game against nearly any team in the nation. On Saturday this was displayed as Oklahoma made key plays whenever it was needed, and despite giving up 400 yards they allowed a mere 24 points. When things got tight they made the right play, which has been a key theme all season as the Sooners have allowed the 21st fewest points in the nation.
Finally, the most important part of Oklahoma’s resume in gaining entrance into a BCS Bowl is that they have a fan base that ranks amongst the best in the nation, and is willing to travel to any bowl game. While this monetary side of football may not seem pretty to some people, the facts are that BCS Bowl games are more about making money than being feel good stories. There is no doubt that the Sooners will bring in the cash, and in a big way.
So when BCS Bowls are announced on Sunday night, everyone should expect to see Oklahoma being amongst the team’s announced. When looking at the field of options for the bowls, it would appear they are destined for either the Sugar or Orange Bowl, and are entirely deserving of going to either.