Blogger Ian Bethune of UConn blog Sox & Dawgs posed a simple question to me recently that doesn’t have nearly as simple an answer: “Oklahoma has had good seasons in the past only to falter in the BCS bowl games. Is there any reason why?”
Honestly, I wish I knew what was behind the Sooners’ five-game BCS losing streak. There has to be something to the idea that Bob Stoops has problems keeping his teams focused during the layoff between the Big 12 title game and the bowl. That’s not unique to the Sooners.
Furthermore, Stoops seems to put so much focus on the conference championship. A mental letdown in the bowl game shouldn’t come as a surprise.
OU hasn’t exactly been playing chumps, though – LSU, USC, Florida in the national championship game; an undefeated Boise State team; a West Virginia squad that was a Pat White ankle away from playing for all the marbles. It may not sound as satisfying to say that OU is losing to equal or better teams, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The difference this time? UConn isn’t anywhere near that caliber of a team.
The Huskies lost four games against the 76th-toughest schedule in the country, according to the Sagarin Ratings. UConn’s best win away from Storrs was either at Syracuse or at South Florida. West Virginia is probably the best team UConn beat this season.
But let’s not make this any more difficult than it needs to be.
Vegas has installed UConn as a 17-point underdog for a good reason. The Huskies are in this position only because someone had to represent the Big East in a BCS game. If the BCS was truly meant to showcase the best teams in the country, UConn wouldn’t make the cut.
The Sooners aren’t an elite team by any stretch. They are, however, superior to Connecticut in both overall talent and body of work. Only OU can stop OU from winning here.
It’s happened before, but not this time. UConn should prepare to bear the brunt of some long-building frustration in Sooner Nation.
Oklahoma 35, UConn 14.