All season long Oklahoma has had some kind of chip on its shoulder: Erasing the disappointment of last year, the doubters of a young and inexperienced offensive line or the naysayers who thought the secondary would eventually crack.
There’s always been someone for the Sooners to play against even when they proved everyone wrong and had to look at themselves for motivation.
But now validated and in the playoff, just two wins away from the program’s eighth national championship, most of those doubters are gone. The chip is still there though, potentially having grown even larger when Oklahoma was dropped from the No. 4 seed to the No. 3 seed on the final week of the season.
“I like that,” Oklahoma center Ty Darlington said. “I like the fact, if there are four teams, they ranked us last. That does play to our advantage a little bit. We play our best when we’re the underdog. I like being in the four spot better than the one spot.”
It’s a widely held belief that Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is the same way. Take the past two years for instance. As national-championship contenders a year ago, Oklahoma lost five games. Written off this year, Oklahoma is playing for the national championship.
Oklahoma (11-1) can’t listen to anyone now.
“I felt like the past few weeks, a lot of people have been praising us,” Oklahoma receiver Sterling Shepard said. “It’s just a matter of us sticking to what we do best and not paying attention to all that stuff. You’ve just got to turn a blind eye to it and not pay attention to it. It’s hard to do with all the social media and everything. We just have to focus on us.”
And if Oklahoma needed any added incentive, there's a feeling that it’s quarterback, Baker Mayfield, was just snubbed an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.