November 22, 2008
Oklahoma 65, Texas Tech 21. The following statistic is completely made up, but I wanted a way to measure how quickly Oklahoma is putting teams away since losing to Texas. They're like a young, ferocious Mike Tyson in his prime, fearsome and knocking everyone out almost immediately.
Look at how quickly the Sooners are reaching what I call here the "Time of Knockout" -- the point when the Oklahoma lead exceeds the total number of points its opponent will score for the entire game. Tonight, for example, Texas Tech scored 21 points; Oklahoma scored to go up by 21 with 11:13 to go in the second quarter. That's just how they do:
In every one of its wins, Oklahoma has either exceeded or come within two points of its opponents' average yield for an entire game in the first half alone; in almost every game, the final margin of victory alone was by more points than the victim allowed on average. The Raiders were only the sixth team the Sooners essentially put away within in at least the first few minutes of the second quarter. Against the other ranked teams on that list, TCU and presumptive Big East champion Cincinnati (after beating Pitt, the Bearcats only have to take care of Syracuse at home to lock up an Orange Bowl bid), the Sooners routed them just like they were Baylor or Washington, and the other bowl team, Nebraska, was finished less than six minutes in.
The difference tonight is that Texas Tech is/was a top two team, not used to being treated like, say, Kansas State. Hell, at least the Wildcats scored with Oklahoma for a short spurt in the first half. KSU put up a brief fight, at least. USC over Ohio State was ugly. Alabama over Georgia was ugly; Florida over Georgia was ugly. But "most impressive win of the year" doesn't begin to cover an all-around massacre like this.
How often, for example, has any Mike Leach offense been held to 14 points? The Raiders lowest point total of the year coming in was 35 points, and they'd gone over 40 in four of six Big 12 games; they'd scored at least 30 in 15 straight games, including 34 against Oklahoma last year. And they were completely manhandled. I'm a little surprised to read that Graham Harrell was only sacked twice, because he spent all night with happy feet, uncertain and hurried in the pocket and generally looking like a very average, flustered quarterback instead of the cool completion machine we saw against Texas and Oklahoma State.