Last year, Oklahoma rolled into Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers as the newly anointed No. 1 in the BCS standings. The Sooners left with their tail between their legs, done in by turnovers and poor execution on both sides of the ball.
This week, the Tigers come to Norman. And they might be catching the Sooners at the perfect time.
OU’s victory over Florida State last Saturday is still very much on the minds of the entire program. The victory was a huge boost for OU’s national title hopes, while the Seminoles’ hopes were dealt a near-death blow.
The toughest game on the schedule is behind the Sooners, and since they are returning home — where they have won 37 straight games — it’s easy to see how the Sooners could be complacent and relax mentally.
However, there is too much motivation for Oklahoma to even think about relaxing against the Tigers.
Coach Bob Stoops will not allow his guys to relax. You can’t relax as the No. 1 team in the country. Everyone is gunning for you, and you’re going to get the absolute best effort of every team that you play. Stoops does a great job of keeping his players focused and ready to play each and every week. He’ll make sure this week is no different from any other week.
Secondly, the Sooners are playing at home. There is just something about playing at home in Norman that makes OU play that much better. The difference is almost scary.
The biggest reason though, is the thought of revenge.
The Missouri game last season was a huge blow to the success of the Sooners’ 2010 season. OU was technically not out of the national title hunt with the loss, but it obviously didn’t help its case. What’s worse, it reinforced the possibility that Oklahoma had major issues on the road, and when the Sooners went on the road two weeks later against Texas A&M, they basically started in the hole because of that mentality.
You could say the Missouri game last year ruined Oklahoma’s season to an extent. You better believe the Sooners remember that game. They remember the sting of defeat and the humiliation of hearing the whole country tell them they were overrated and hadn’t deserved that No. 1 ranking to begin with.
Though Stoops will never say so, they want revenge. They’ll get their chance on Saturday.
This opportunity won’t be missed.
Luke McConnell is a senior journalism student and sports reporter for The Oklahoma Daily, the University of Oklahoma student newspaper.