December 27, 2013

Fightin' Words: Bama task too big for OU

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


When Auburn knocked Alabama off its perch from which it had gazed down upon the college football landscape for years, the "thud" sound could be heard for miles.

As the dust cleared, it revealed a Crimson Tide team perhaps bemused or unaware of its surroundings, but most definitely angry. It frantically looked around for something, someone on which to take out its anger. The BCS? No, that's everyone's dead horse to beat. The kicker, Cade Foster? No, at that point, more than ever, he needed a cuddle. Then, sitting there, fresh from a nice, ego-boosting win over rivals OSU, they spotted them: the Sooners.

No doubt about it, OU will face not just an Alabama team that can still strike fear into the heart of any college football team, but a team that will always have eleven angry men on the field. If there was anything that could make the Crimson Tide more threatening than they already are, it's a personal vendetta.

Of course the Sooners have plenty they would like to prove, as well. At 10-2, it looks like they have put together a solid season when they really didn't have the pieces. Their linebackers dropped like flies, although Dominique Alexander filled in perfectly. The running game was strong, but even that was altered repeatedly with Trevor Knight and Blake Bell running offenses that, despite similarities, certainly differed in the passing department.

There were plenty of players to come up big when they needed to, no doubt; but when you look on this Sooner season, no one really stood out consistently as the go-to guy, on either offense or defense. So, as it stands, there are a lot of players that could step up against Alabama on Jan. 2, but none that will definitely will.

Remember, this was an Alabama team that, in practically everyone's minds, was a national championship contender from Week 1. AJ McCarron was a Heisman contender until the very end, and T.J. Yeldon produces an equal threat at running back. The Tide have their pieces, and they know how to use them. So unless Oklahoma can find some way to force Alabama to kick every time, the task of halting this offense will be nothing short of monumental.

As sweet as an OU victory would be to this state, I just can't see them winning. The only chance the Sooners have is if the Alabama players become so depressed about not playing in the national championship game, that they simply give up and let their minds wander elsewhere. Having seen how Nick Saban runs his program through the years, this is very unlikely.