For the Oklahoma Sooners, one-game-at-a-time mentality has now turned into a four-round playoff. A week ago, Oklahoma center Ty Darlington compared the Sooners’ November run to a high school football playoff.
If the Sooners do it right, they could get an extra two games added on to their single-elimination bracket – a national semifinal and the championship. What was once an individual focus used to get through the weaker part of the schedule has become something more.
“Playoffs started last weekend, when we stepped on the field against Baylor,” Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas said. “Obviously, we’ve gotta beat TCU and Oklahoma State. Those are three great ball clubs. Obviously, we took down one of them, and the rest is to be determined.”
Winning just eight games last season and losing to Texas earlier this season were key in motivating Oklahoma in a way that kept the Sooners in-tune for every game. They’ve said before that at this point in the season, they can’t afford to look ahead for fear of overlooking an opponent.
That same is true now. One loss and Oklahoma is gone, and this is the part of the schedule that can give it to the Sooners.
They also can’t afford to listen to too many of the critics-turned-worshippers.
“The people that didn’t believe us before, don’t listen to them now, because they’re going to try to tell us that we’re really good and all that stuff,” Darlington said. “But what we need to do is play with that chip on our shoulder, because when we’re playing angry and we’re aggressive and we’re playing like we have something to prove, we’re a pretty good football team. But when we’re sitting back and being content with what others think we are, we’re not nearly as effective.”??
One of the last things Darlington, a senior captain, told the team after the victory against Baylor was to not listen to anybody.
“The same way that we blocked it out when everyone said we’d finish fourth in the conference. The same way we blocked it out when everybody wanted to trash us after we lost to Texas,” Darlington said. ”That’s the way it is. That’s been a big part of our narrative for the season, is that we’re not listening to anything from the outside.”