In the Bob Stoops era, beginning in 1999, Oklahoma has enjoyed an unending resurgence, won a national championship, played for three others, been to several BCS bowls and won seven conference championships.
The lows it has endured have tended to be heartbreakers on the grandest stage rather than head-scratchers on the road to that stage.
For those reasons, the Sooners’ 41-38 loss to Texas Tech can only be viewed as the program’s greatest disappointment since its 13-year coach left Gainesville, Fla., for Norman, Okla.
Oklahoma entered the game 29-point favorites, but found itself down 31-7 a few minutes into the third quarter. Still, the Sooners got within a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, 31-24, but the defense gave way again and the offense could not catch up.
The only similar loss of the era came in 2000 when Oklahoma State, a huge underdog, derailed Oklahoma’s repeat national championship hopes with a 16-13 upset in 2001. That game came out of nowhere, just as Texas Tech came out of nowhere.
Oklahoma’s national title hopes are dashed. With it go the chances of two undefeated teams facing off at Oklahoma State on Dec. 3. With it go the Heisman hopes of Landry Jones, also.
The pollsters took notice in a big way Sunday, dropping Oklahoma to No. 11 in the AP media poll and No. 9 in the USA Today coaches poll. Coming up is a trip to Manhattan, Kan., where the Sooners will meet unbeaten Kansas State, which just moved into the top 10 at No. 10 in the AP poll. Oklahoma will likely still be favored in that game, but it will be a wild card of an outing, because who really knows how the Sooners will respond to such a difficult loss.
The Red Raiders picked up 572 yards, a season high for Sooner opponents.
“It’s real disappointing. We didn’t come out as a defense. We didn’t execute like we were supposed to. We gave a lot of big plays and Texas Tech just put it on us. We just got to give it (credit) to them,” junior defensive end Ronnell Lewis said.
Meanwhile, the offense came on too late. It was going nowhere the whole time the Red Raiders ran off 24 unanswered points to take their biggest lead.