Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Oklahoma puts Texas in its place, and justifies its own at the top of the polls

Oklahoma 55, Texas 17.
One of the central threads both leading up to this game and watching it unfold was Texas' extreme inexperience, which was more evident today than it's been at any point since the Longhorns cast their lot with the youth movement in the second game of the season. Freshman quarterback David Ash was picked off twice, the second returned for an easy Sooner touchdown; sophomore Case McCoy coughed up the ball for another easy OU score on the first play of the second half. The sophomore-laden offensive line gave up five sacks. The freshman and sophomore-laden secondary was hopelessly overmatched by Oklahoma's veteran passing game.

Any pretense that the Baby 'Horns could keep it close with a serious national frontrunner had evaporated by the second quarter. They still have a very, very long way to go.

Oklahoma puts Texas in its place, and justifies its own at the top of the pollsFor Oklahoma, though, that was about the same time that the comparisons to Texas ceased, and the comparisons to the rest of the BCS field began. It was like trying to assess an offense working against the second string in the spring game, or against Ball State. The Longhorns had about as much chance: In the first two quarriers alone, Landry Jones and his unlimited supply of first-rate receivers connected on ten different passes covering at least 15 yards, putting Jones over 300 yards with three touchdowns through the air at the half. The only reason it didn't end up worse — Jones finished with 367 yards and no TDs in the second half — is that he didn't have the opportunity: The Sooners scored two defensive touchdowns in the second half, broke a 64-yard run for another and pulled Jones after the first series of the fourth quarter.

In other words, on the heels of a pair of closer-than-expected wins over Florida State and Missouri in September that cost Oklahoma its preseason perch in the polls, it was exactly the kind of effortless barrage you'd expect from the No. 1 team in the country. And in that context, the reality of OU's dominance against yet another overmatched secondary seems a lot less relevant than the speculation over its potential against an Alabama, LSU, Stanford or Wisconsin in a hypothetical BCS Championship Game. After a certain point, the head-to-head matchup on the field leaves nowhere else to go.

Alabama and LSU passed that point weeks ago; Wisconsin passed it last Saturday in a 48-17 obliteration of Nebraska. Oklahoma passed it today in the second quarter, and put some distance on it the rest of the way with a legitimately dominating, opportunistic effort on defense, at least temporarily answering one of the most lingering questions about their championship credentials. It even delivered a long, straight-ahead run for a touchdown, helping to answer another. If there are any lingering doubts, you may be able to point to the Sooners' inconsistency on the road, where they stumbled out of the No. 1 spot last year at Missouri. But as for the sum of their parts, there is no doubt that they're all here, and churning ahead without a hitch.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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