The loss to TCU was as surprising as it was thorough.
Still, it wasn’t a complete embarrassment, and thanks to the rest of the country, Oklahoma’s outlook isn’t all that bleak. One thing is for sure though. Moving forward, Oklahoma must improve.
“The only place we can go is up,” defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said Saturday after the Sooners’ 37-33 loss to TCU.
Up isn’t that hard of a place to reach. Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1- Big 12) can start this weekend against rival Texas and just wait for the chips to fall. Likely, they’ll still fall in the Sooners’ favor.
“You've got to be on your toes,” cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “You can't pout about this one for a week because you know those guys are going to be ready next week as well. We've got to go out and make a statement next week.”
The Sooners have plenty of issues to clean up. They need an intermediate passing game, and the offensive line must improve among other things. TCU found running lanes all too easy to clog.
There was still a lot of good. Oklahoma scored 31 points on offense and allowed just one touchdown in the second half on defense. Everything was there.
“I believe a lot of it is easily correctable and some of it’s just discipline and fundamentals,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “ . . . In the end, some of it is very fundamental in what we do and for whatever reason even guys with a lot of experience didn't do it very well, so we've got to do a better job coaching them and they've got to do a better job being mindful of their disciplines and what we're doing.”
Look above Oklahoma in the Top 25, and there isn’t a team without its flaws – or potential pitfalls.
There are still three unbeaten teams in the SEC West, and not one of them is Alabama, which still has to play Mississippi State and Auburn. TCU and Baylor are still unbeaten in the Big 12. Florida State and Notre Dame, both ranked ahead of Oklahoma, will play each other in two weeks.
The point is: Oklahoma has a decade’s worth of time to climb back into the top four. It’s only seven spots.
“We still have a chance for playoffs,” offensive tackle Daryl Williams said. “It’s a matter of chance. We still have a chance to win the Big 12.” Of course, Oklahoma has its own share of issues to clean up first.