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OU football: Sooner fatigue could set in on college football

College Football Playoffs: OU vs. LSU

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ATLANTA – The script goes beyond familiar. Everyone has the story memorized.

The Sooners lose a game in October, rally to win the Big 12, make the College Football Playoff and lose, usually by a lopsided margin.

Rinse and repeat.

That’s the Oklahoma road traveled in four of the last five years, with three of the defeats coming after the Sooners trailed by at least 20 points.

Fan after fan reacted Saturday during the Peach Bowl, what became a 63-28 LSU blowout. They said it in a hundred different ways. But it all came down to the same sentiment.

This is getting old. This is getting tiresome.

But if you think you’re getting tired of it, how do you think the fans from 49 other states feel? Or the Pac-12, a conference that has made just one of the last five playoffs? Or ESPN, which is contractually obligated to televise the game to its conclusion, when pulling the plug would be an act of mercy? Or the mid-majors who are excluded from playoff consideration not by decree, but by tradition.

Heck, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, which does not now field a football team and never has, chimed in Saturday night. UMBC’s basketball team famously upset Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in March Madness:

“Ya know, in college basketball, Mid-Majors have been beating and giving No. 1 teams fits. Maybe college football should give that a try if they actually want a competitive game.”

Well, no one really believes that Boise State or Memphis would have fared any better in the Peach Bowl, though it’s hard to argue they would have fared any worse.

But Sooner Fatigue absolutely is a thing in college football. Will it spread to the playoff committee, which like the rest of the sport’s decision-makers has been really good to OU for a really long time?

“No,” Lincoln Riley said Sunday morning in the Omni Hotel. “If that happens then they’re not doing their job.”

The committee is commissioned to pick four teams based on current season results. History isn’t supposed to matter. Past performance isn’t in the criteria. And history hasn’t mattered. The committee every year seems to make its selections with a fresh slate.

But those guys and gal are only human. At some point, don’t they have to start wondering if the Sooners are an annual mirage?

“One game doesn’t define the season we had,” said OU safety Patrick Fields. “One game doesn’t define who we are. We accomplished a lot this year, we improved a lot in all aspects. But it’s definitely disappointing to come out and play the way we did.”

Certainly the Big 12 isn’t helping OU’s cause. The Big 12 now is 0-3 in bowl games, and the three remaining Big 12 teams are underdogs – Kansas State vs. Navy in the Liberty, Texas vs. Utah in the Alamo and Baylor vs. Georgia in the Sugar.

And that’s coming off a regular season in which the Big 12 made few positive waves. The Big 12’s best non-conference victory this season comes from a sad sack of candidates. K-State over Mississippi State? Kansas over Boston College? OSU over Oregon State? OU over UCLA? None of those foes has so much as a winning record.

“We’ve had our opportunities,” Riley said of OU’s playoff failures, and he’s got some ammunition. The Sooners led Clemson 17-16 at halftime of a 2015 semifinal and led Georgia 31-17 at halftime of a 2017 semifinal.

“The goal is to get the best four teams in it,” Riley said. “Year to year, so many things change, especially in college football these days. More guys leaving early, transfer portal, all that, rosters are turning over faster than ever. So, you’re different every year.

“So if they start factoring that in? They won’t — that’s not their job. We’ve got too many good people on it.”

Those good people, in committees past and present, consistently have cast a crimson-colored vote. How long can we expect that to continue when so many people are suffering from Sooner fatigue?

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at btramel@oklahoman.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma players watch the action during the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the College Football Playoff semifinal 63-28. [AP Photo/John Amis]</strong>

Oklahoma players watch the action during the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the College Football Playoff semifinal 63-28. [AP Photo/John Amis]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c69b84c3d00e6e13d32cbe9a220a473c.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma players watch the action during the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the College Football Playoff semifinal 63-28. [AP Photo/John Amis] " title=" Oklahoma players watch the action during the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the College Football Playoff semifinal 63-28. [AP Photo/John Amis] "><figcaption> Oklahoma players watch the action during the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the College Football Playoff semifinal 63-28. [AP Photo/John Amis] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e6e625c45b191428a5dd92b147c1c7c0.jpg" alt="Photo - A dejected Oklahoma fan watches the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the game to advance to the national championship against Clemson. [AP Photo/John Amis] " title=" A dejected Oklahoma fan watches the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the game to advance to the national championship against Clemson. [AP Photo/John Amis] "><figcaption> A dejected Oklahoma fan watches the Peach Bowl on Saturday night in Atlanta, Ga. LSU won the game to advance to the national championship against Clemson. [AP Photo/John Amis] </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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