Oct. 5 - Teams have been hyped up and brought down in a matter of moments. Expected powerhouses have struggled to escape against overmatched opponents.
IN THIS TOPSY-TURVY start to the college football season, about the only constant has been Oklahoma’s dominance.
The Sooners, No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason poll, have barely been tested through their first five wins, outscoring the opposition 221-75.
“They are playing great right now. They’re head and shoulders above everyone else,” Texas coach Mack Brown said Sunday as he prepared for next weekend’s showdown with Oklahoma. “We’ll lose some sleep over the next couple of days to try to figure them out.”
While each passing week has exposed flaws on most of the top teams, Oklahoma has been flawless.
The defense was expected to be overpowering and has been, overwhelming opponents with its relentless speed. The special teams has four returns for touchdowns.
And with healthy quarterback Jason White leading the offense, what was supposed to be the question mark has been a strength for the Sooners. Oklahoma has scored more than 50 points three straight weeks.
“I think they’re the best team in the country,” Brown said. “Great defenses are usually better than the offenses they play. They have no weaknesses on defense. Then no one talks about the offense and the offensive line. ... Their talent is as good as anybody in the country.”
White, who had his last two seasons cut short by knee injuries, has been a big reason why. He tied a school record with five touchdown passes while throwing for a career-high 384 yards against Iowa State. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes and only three interceptions and is the nation’s third highest-rated passer.
InsertArt(2033167)“Jason’s numbers are better right now than others, that should count for something,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said when asked where White should rank in the Heisman race.
“He’s such a hard worker. I know Jason and the thing he’s excited about is the way our team is playing. He’s worked for this; he’s playing in a great way.”
There are 11 undefeated teams in Division I-A but only Oklahoma looks like a great one. The Sooners could get a tough test this week, but then again Oklahoma has won three straight against the Longhorns.
At least one of the unbeatens will fall next Saturday when No. 2 Miami visits No. 5 Florida State - the first time since 1993 both teams were in the top five for their annual showdown.
The others have shown flaws or haven’t been tested. Ohio State, Arkansas, Northern Illinois and TCU have all been sent to overtime this year.
Minnesota’s toughest opponent so far has been Penn State (2-4), whose only wins came against Temple and Kent State. The Gophers host No. 20 Michigan on Friday in a game that could put them into Big Ten title contention.
No. 6 LSU has played one tough game, surviving in a 17-10 win at home against Georgia two weeks ago. The Tigers host struggling Florida this week and have a showdown at the end of the month against Auburn.
Virginia Tech has shown signs of greatness so far against weak opponents, but the Hokies’ season will come down to showdowns the first two weeks in November against Miami and Pittsburgh.
Finally, Nebraska has rolled to a 5-0 start but the Cornhuskers will need to improve their offense if they want to get through the Big 12 schedule undefeated.
© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
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