OU with golden recruiting opportunity

OU wants to be where Alabama has been the last five years. The Sooners can make a great start in that direction with a positive showing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl to help recruiting.

Fortunes can change so quickly in college football. Oklahoma seemed destined for the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio only to wind up in New Orleans for the AllState Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners were on a collision course with a Pac-12 school, most likely Oregon, and now will face Alabama. Fortunes can change so quickly and things can get even more exciting for OU on the recruiting trail with this golden opportunity.

The Alamo Bowl would have been a nice achievement for OU, sort of an indicator of what a 9-3 season brings when you face all that adversity. But a 10-2 mark and another trip to a BCS bowl game has players, coaches, fans and recruits fired up.

That the matchup is against Alabama, the premier program in the nation for the last five years, just makes it all that much sweeter.

"It's a great opportunity," OU commit Alex Dalton said. "OU is considered the underdog, but I think they can prove everybody wrong. OU has always in been in the top 10, but in the past years has been overshadowed by teams like Bama.

"This is a big shout out like, ‘hey, we're still here.' I think a lot of people forget what OU is all about."

Ten years ago it was OU in the Tide's position. After winning the national championship in the 2000 season, the Sooners reached the BCS championship game following the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

OU hasn't been in the BCS championship game since the 2008 season. It's really just a mere five years, but it feels like an eternity for some Sooner fans. But it's a glimpse of things to come in the minds of the commitments.

"It's a chance to show everybody what OU is all about," commit Jonathan Alvarez said. "It's a chance to show we will fight you until the end. Making it to the Sugar Bowl shows even more that OU is a great and one of the best in the nation."

There aren't any real head-to-head recruiting battles between OU and Alabama for the 2014 class, but a solid showing could start planting the seeds for 2015 class and beyond.

A BCS game of any sort is a feather in the cap to a season. OU hasn't been able to claim that moniker the last couple of seasons and sure didn't look like it would happen in 2013. Somehow OU coach Bob Stoops kept the team together through all the injuries to earn the berth once again.

A strong finish to the regular season has 2014 off to a great start. The coaches understand what an accomplishment this is and how it can help the program moving forward.

"Everyone will be watching. It will be the only game on," wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said. "And we'll be in New Orleans, playing in the south so we'll get some exposure to some of those regions down there where we're trying to get more players from.

"There's no question that we sell that. More than anybody in our conference we play great non-conference opponents, whether it's in bowl games or regular season. That's the special part about being at Oklahoma – is playing those types of teams.

"What, it's been nine BCS bowl games with Coach Stoops 15 years? That's impressive, and we sell that to our recruits."


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