As the Oklahoma Sooners romped to a 13-2 victory over the vaunted Florida State Seminoles to win their seventh national championship Jan. 4, millions of fans across the country sat with gaping mouths. The Sooners were between 11 and 13 point underdogs leading up to the date of the Orange Bowl, and just about every college football analyst picked FSU to win.
But this was no upset.
If these two teams play again in two weeks, the final outcome would be the same. Oklahoma has without question the best college football team in the nation.
Most critics claim that an off-night by Heisman Trophy-winning FSU quarterback Chris Weinke and a couple of dropped balls by the receivers was the difference in the game. You can throw those excuses out the window. The reason OU won, plain and simple, is because they are the most well-coached team in college football.
What other reason could there be for the complete shutout pitched by the Sooners’ defense? A bad night by Seminoles’ quarterback Weinke has never resulted in zero offensive points, and receivers are going to drop the ball a few times when you throw the ball 40-plus times a game.
The game plan devised by Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops and co-defensive coordinators Mike Stoops and Brent Venables was complex and deceiving. Florida State’s offense never had a clue as to what OU was going to pull out of their hats, and the defense made Weinke visibly uneasy whenever he dropped back to pass. The Seminoles tried to offset the defense with their run attack, but Oklahoma only allowed one run of more than five yards, and that was a Weinke scramble that resulted in a fumble recovered by the Sooners.
On the offensive side, it may appear that OU had a poor game. It was a difficult match-up playing against one of the top defenses in the nation, but the Sooners were not out on the field to engage in a shootout. The main goal of the offense was to eat the clock, keep the ball safe against the opportunistic Seminoles and score enough points to win. Had Florida State performed better offensively, you would have seen OU light it up more. There was just no need for it.
Above all the other intangibles in the championship game, you could see that the Sooners expected to win the game. As the final seconds ticked away, you didn’t see OU players crying in elation of a surprise victory. They were excited, yet composed. Oklahoma’s coaching staff would not allow its players to take Las Vegas spreads and lack of media respect to heart. Come to think of it, that probably wasn’t difficult; all they needed to do was remember that they had seven victories over bowl teams to get to where they were.
The national title victory over Florida State raises that total to eight. And don’t be surprised if the same thing happens next year.
–Trey Clark told you so.