Sooners Hit Most Crucial Week of 2011

NORMAN, Okla. -- Until the Sooners' midweek win over Bacone last Wednesday and their two-game sweep in a rain shortened series against Nebraska, they had went just 10-11 in 21 previous contests, but quickly they have a great opportunity to completely change the complexion of their season.

And that opportunity is this week.

In what shapes up to be possibly the biggest week of the season, OU will travel on the road to the Lone Star State for four straight games against a pair of Top 10 squads, the first of which is a Tuesday night affair with the No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Crimson and Cream smoked the Horned Frogs 13-6 two weeks ago by banging out that run total on 12 hits in a contest it led by 11 in the ninth inning before allowing four runs.

A repeat performance would do wonders for the Sooners.

It would give them a very crucial non-conference sweep.

The Horned Frogs, at No. 7 nationally, are one of the country's most widely regarded clubs with their 29-11 overall record, and defeating them twice would serve as a huge RPI boost for OU.

Come tourney selection time it would put them ahead of TCU in the regional host selection pecking order.

Then, this upcoming weekend, the Sooners will head to Austin to take on the No. 5 Texas Longhorns in a pivotal Big 12 Conference Series.

OU hasn't won the Red River Rivalry baseball edition since 1998 and has been swept in six of those 12 seasons, even upping the stakes for an OU upset this year.

But what else would a Sooner victory down south mean?

A reemergence in the Big 12 Conference race.

Obviously, the Sooners, the preseason Big 12 Conference favorite, are a long shot at this point to win the league with nine games remaining.

But there's still a lot of ground they can make up.

With series victories in their remaining three conference matchups against Texas, Kansas and Baylor, OU could sneak up from third into the second spot.

That means if OU defeats Texas, it's a start towards climbing the conference ladder.

If OU can win both the contest against TCU and series vs. Texas, it would be even bigger, doing a couple more things:

1. It would likely shoot them back into the Top 10 in ALL the major polls--The Sooners are currently No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and No. 14 in Baseball America. Those are each up a couple spots from last week when OU was No. 15 and 16, respectively. But posting a 3-1 stretch against consecutive Top 10 squads would almost certainly reassert them in that position.

2. It would bring them back into the national seed discussion--It's virtually a long shot, but being in the Top 10 is the reasonable range for earning a National Top Eight seed for the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year, which guarantees home field until the College World Series. At this point, the Sooners most likely would host a regional but have to travel on the road for the Super Regionals. Winning against these two goes a long way towards changing that.

So, clearly there are huge ramifications in what is very justified as the biggest seven-day stretch of 2011 to date.

Follow me at or

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories