If you don’t know how to feel about Oklahoma’s most-recent win, think for a second about how the College Football Playoff Committee must be reacting.
If you’re confused, so are they. And it’s hard to imagine any of us being able to come to any definitive conclusion about what this Oklahoma team is all about.
Here’s why: We’re witnessing an Oklahoma team get worse. We’re also seeing an OU quarterback get worse, not better as the season progresses. It’s not something any of us, much less the decision makers, sitting behind closed doors, ready to judge away, are used to experiencing.
Oklahoma avoided back-to-back losses for the first time since 1999, but just barely as Parnell Motley figured out a way to intercept a pass on what would have certainly been the game-winning 2-point conversion. But what we’re witnessing with this Oklahoma team is something we haven’t seen in the recent past.
The Oklahoma teams we know and remember made the playoffs three times by improving, not devolving.
By whatever metric the College Football Playoff Committee is using, the Sooners are failing. The “Eye Test,” being the one most of us latch onto and is the most relatable. It’s also the most stark, because the average football fan, media member and committee member watches the ball.
Watch the ball at Oklahoma this season and you’ve seen quarterback Jalen Hurts go from Heisman contender to a questionable decision maker. Turnovers on hand-to-the-side-of-the-face passes against Texas were wiped out thanks to the Oklahoma defense, but two more of those throws (passes?) in the first half against Iowa State Saturday were somehow dropped by Cyclone defenders who would have had certain scores. However, it was the fourth-quarter toss, because it’s not fair to call it a throw or a pass, by Hurts, that is the most-confusing and troubling thing that’s happened this season.
Hurts threw an interception when a pass shouldn’t have been thrown – not by an SEC champion or a 9th grader hoping to make the junior varsity travel squad. The decision, given the experience, background and pedigree Hurts has, was so bad, it’s near impossible to reconcile.
Oklahoma has issues on the offensive line. OK. Understandable. Oklahoma has regressed the past two games on defense. Also understandable. But what isn’t and what we’ll never get a straight answer about is how an experienced quarterback continues to make kick-in-the-privates errors.
The Sooners have had sensational quarterback play. Beyond that, actually, so expecting everyone to play at the level of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray is foolish, but Hurts is the first quarterback we’ve seen in this playoff era seemingly get worse.
That’s troubling for Oklahoma fans, but more importantly, it’s going to be troubling for Oklahoma’s playoff opportunity. The committee certainly sees the same thing you and I do, and what we’re seeing is a quarterback who looked like the next Heisman winner go from, “maybe he’s carrying the ball too much,” to becoming someone who’s borderline untrustable.
That didn’t happen with Kyler and Baker. No wonder we’re having a hard time trying to figure out what’s going on.