The ‘O’ in OU stands for 0-and-4.
Make that 0-and-5.
And the questions continue to mount for Big-Game Bob and his Oklahoma program, which has taken its “can’t-win-the-big-one’’ frustrations to new heights.
Make that to new lows.
The Florida Gators performed as expected, snatching a 24-14 victory away from Oklahoma, which has now dropped five consecutive BCS bowl games.
“Everyone is going to have their opinions on it,’’ Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “I’ll be glad to try again next year. If that’s the biggest burden I’ll have to bear in my life, I’ll be a pretty lucky guy.’’
Stoops’ program seemed to hit the lottery this season. It weathered a midseason loss to Texas, picking up steam and mounting what looked like one of the greatest offenses of our time.
So what were the storylines? Florida’s second-half offense was crisp. The Gator defense had its best moments when it really mattered.
Oklahoma’s defense, held up as one of the “joke’’ outfits from the Big 12 by Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes, had a winning effort, even though it surrendered way too much yardage (480).
The game’s underachievers?
Would you believe it?
Oklahoma’s point-a-minute offense was practically pointless, at least by Sooner standards.
The Sooners closed the regular season with five straight games of 60-plus points (and they scored 58 the week before). They had a ridiculous 97 touchdowns.
“Every time you’re watching the film, you’re saying, ‘Man, they kicked a lot of extra points,’" Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong said.
Thursday night, the Sooners had just two touchdowns, their lowest offensive output since a 28-10 loss to Texas on Oct. 7, 2006.
This time, Oklahoma’s offense stopped itself. For a team so brutally effective in the red zone — 95 percent of the time, the Sooners got points when penetrating the opponent’s 20-yard line — it suddenly couldn’t close the deal.
Two second-quarter sequences told the story.
The Sooners disdained a field-goal attempt.
This game wasn’t about field goals — it was about going for the jugular.
But Brown had trouble getting under way on fourth down. He was dumped for a 2-yard loss by Gators defensive lineman Torrey Davis.
Didn’t happen that way.
Instead of a fade pattern or a jump ball, Bradford tried to force in a throw just short of the goal line. It was tipped once, twice, three times before settling into the arms of Gators safety Major Wright.
Exactly what Oklahoma did not need.
It got nothing.
“Obviously, I wasn’t trying to throw an interception there,’’ said Bradford, who was picked off just six times in 13 regular-season games. “We called it. It wasn’t the coverage we were expecting to see on that play. I tried to force one in there. In all reality, I should’ve thrown it out of the end zone and taken three points.’’
That wasn’t Oklahoma’s mentality, though.
All season, the Sooners didn’t take what the defense gave them.
They took what they wanted.
Against Florida, the scenario changed. And Oklahoma couldn’t adjust.
They weren’t patient (Bradford’s interception). They were a little too patient (Brown’s non-urgent fourth-down play).
They were unlucky (an apparent fourth-quarter completion to Juaquin Iglesias was plucked away for an interception by Florida’s Ahmad Black, while a 31-yard first-quarter pass to the Florida 10-yard line was negated by a holding penalty).
In the end, Florida fans will say Oklahoma’s offensive statistics were overinflated by competition in the Big 12.
I don’t buy that. But clearly, Oklahoma’s offense wasn’t its usual compelling self against Florida. Part of that was big-play capability by the Gator defense. Maybe Oklahoma missed 1,000-yard rusher DeMarco Murray. It made plays, but certainly not enough of them.
“You win and lose as a team,’’ Stoops said. “You need to make plays together. Some games are going to be high-scoring and you win games in different ways.
“In the first half, we squandered some opportunities to score points. That really hurt. But in the second half, when we needed to make some plays, we couldn’t do it.’’
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
BCS Championship Game
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Gators win BCS Championship Game
No. 1 Florida 24, No. 2 Oklahoma 14