Let’s look at just one more thing.
The Sooners are welcoming November with open arms
Certain months can define a season. You can get a good idea of where your team might be with the way it comes out of October.
Nothing is ever going to top the Sooners’ three-game gauntlet in 2000 of defeating Texas, Kansas State and Nebraska. OU started that month ranked No. 10 before beating the No. 11-ranked Longhorns, No. 2-ranked Wildcats and top-ranked Cornhuskers.
That’s the highest of the highs. October 2014 might be the lowest of the lows regarding OU football under Bob Stoops. The Sooners were ranked No. 3 or No. 4, depending on your preference, entering the month. They left the month 1-2 and virtually out of the hunt for a spot in the four-team college football playoff.
“You have to play this week so you have to get ready,” Stoops said. “We have to prepare for Iowa State and be better and hopefully not make a mistake or two that will cost us. We have to keep improving.”
Coming off a gut-wrenching loss to Kansas State, a lot of people wondered whether or not the bye week was the worst thing that could happen for the Sooners. That when you lose 31-30 with all of those mistakes, the one thing you don’t want to do is have time to think about things.
But the players and the coaches all talked about how crucial last week was. New wrinkles put in the defense to stop the high-powered offenses in the Big 12. Young players on both sides of the ball getting opportunities to show the consistency in practice to get the meaningful snaps in the games.
There’s no such thing as a lost week or a week that doesn’t matter.
And after all of August and September of having the target on its back, the Sooners are back to where they were last year as November rolled around. An afterthought, perceived as massive underachievers around the country.
When OU takes the field Saturday in Ames, it will be the turn of the calendar to November. No team in the nation wants to see October go away more than the Sooners. And maybe November will see OU play with that relaxed attitude that proved to be so beneficial to close out the season in 2013.
OU has seen some positive things in the last month. Wide receiver Michiah Quick looks like he’s going to be a factor going forward. Freshman safety Steven Parker is seeing more and more time each game and providing meaningful contributions.
Quarterback Trevor Knight is battling a shoulder injury but should be able to play. And with the way Cody Thomas handled the pressure in his limited snaps when Knight was out last week, fans are breathing a lot easier if the redshirt freshman is called into action.
October was dreadful, humbling. But November can be a month to get the Sooners back where they want to be. Four games – at Iowa State, vs. Baylor, at Texas Tech and vs. Kansas. Nothing’s a gimme in the Big 12, but if OU hasn’t packed it in for the season after October, good times could emerge once again in Norman.
“The feeling around Oklahoma is always national championship, but for us, we are not down by any means,” outside linebacker Geneo Grissom said. “Right now we are looking at just winning. That way everything will be better.”