Oklahoma’s 2013 class has seen some ups and downs. They were freshmen when the Sooners upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. A disappointing sophomore campaign led to a rebirth in 2015 and a spot in the college football playoff.
Strangely enough, though, the group that should have had a guaranteed OU-Texas moment, doesn’t have one.
The last three years are the three you would have picked for a signature victory since the Sooners have been favored by at least 10 points in all of them.
Two out of three were upset, demoralizing losses and the other was a 31-26 survive-and-advance victory where most fans felt worse about the team after than going in.
So the stage is set for the seniors and redshirt juniors to get another crack at Bevo in the Cotton Bowl. This is the one they’ll make count.
“This is my last season and I didn’t think it was going to go this quick,” senior captain Jordan Evans said. “The last one hopefully will be the best one.”
It’s tough to pinpoint why OU hasn’t been able to put a beating on the Horns the last three seasons because the Sooners have been able to do that in other years during the Bob Stoops era.
OU fans remember 63-14 in 2000, 65-13 in 2003, shutting out Texas 12-0 in 2004 and the back-to-back beatdowns in 2011 (55-17) and 2012 (63-21).
Nobody wants to relive last year’s 24-17 loss that ended up as OU’s lone regular season defeat.
“No one wants to lose any game, especially a rivalry game,” Evans said. “Everyone has that in the back of their minds. At the same time, everyone knows it’s a new team over there and a new team here. We’re just going to work hard to try to win the game.”
Some have said OU has gotten complacent. Some have said it has been overconfidence. Some have said it’s because Stoops tries to treat each game the same. Others have mentioned the ‘hatred’ between the Red River foes just isn’t there anymore.
Ahmad Thomas isn’t having any of that. A transplant from Miami, he now fully understands what this game is all about. And he’s ready to make this one count.
“A rivalry game is a rivalry game,” Thomas said. “You can actually feel the hate when you walk into it because I mean our locker rooms are right next to each other. So when we’re walking onto the field and the tunnel we’re talking stuff to each other all the time. You can just feel that.
“You can feel the intensity. That energy coming from other people. Not hard to get pumped up for this game.”