Oklahoma opened up as a 14-point underdog in their Orange Bowl matchup against Alabama, and they’re just fine with that.
“We just go about our business the way that we always do,” Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley said abut the underdog status for the CFP semifinals. “We’ve got a lot of respect for the team that we’re getting ready to play, no question about that. But we’ve got a formula that we believe in and we’ve got a program that’s used to winning and players that are used to winning, and we know it’s going to be a great challenge. But we’re going to go prepare like we do. Our goal will be for us to be at our very best. We can’t control any of the outside factors. It’s for us to be at our very best. I feel like despite some of the great things that this team’s been able to accomplish this year that our best football is still out there, and I feel like we’re heading in that direction. So we’ll do that and then let it fall the way it falls.”
The truth is, OU fans are still talking about the last two times the Sooners went into a bowl game this big of an underdog. The reason is, those were two of the biggest wins of the Bob Stoops era.
Against Florida State, in the 2000 Orange Bowl, Oklahoma was an 11.5 point underdog. OU won that game 13-2, leading to their seventh national championship, by relying on defense.
More recently the Sooners were 15 point underdogs to Alabama in the 2013 Sugar Bowl. That game made Trevor Knight a Sooner legend and remains a sore in Bama’s side to this day.
There are still four weeks of game prep ahead of us before Oklahoma and Alabama throw down on South Beach but don’t expect the Sooners to be phased at all by the underdog role.