So as quickly as it came, the 2018 Oklahoma football season is now over, with the Sooners yet again losing in the College Football Playoff Semifinals, this time at the hands of Alabama. The Tide quickly jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Sooners digging them into a hole that they simply could not climb out of. Let’s cut straight to the notes.
- The game was over at 28-0. While I love the fight the Sooners put up to get this game close, you need to be flawless to beat Alabama and collapsing the way Oklahoma did early will doom anyone. You can’t have field goals, simple as that. Is it fair? No. But it was our only chance.
- Alabama’s defensive strategy was simply brilliant. Putting immense initial pressure on Kyler and the Oklahoma offense clearly rattled them as they weren’t able to get any rhythm until the second quarter and the game was out of hand.
- While the OU comeback was impressive, Alabama clearly moved into conservative mode after 28-0. The blitz wasn’t as hard as it did early, the pressure wasn’t the same and offensively the Tide focused on methodically moving the football instead of continuing to go for the throat.
- You can’t blame the offense at all for this. The task was tall: Alabama’s defense is some of the toughest I’ve ever seen. Once the Sooner offense got in a rhythm, they looked as good as they have all season. Unfortunately, it came too late.
- This defense was as bad as we thought it was. Tua and co. dissected them better than any we’ve seen this season. Physically, they were completely outclassed, an advantage highlighted most in Bama tailback Josh Jacobs’ touchdown run stamped by an absolute plowing of Robert Barnes. The D-line was hapless against the Tide’s offensive line. The corners? Just as bad as ever. Alabama, when they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot, got whatever they wanted. The best news? This defensive staff is done. Looking forward to the new era already.
- Outside of Kyler scrambles, the running game was decent. It’s hard to move the ball on the ground against Bama and honestly, I was impressed at times with how Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks ran.
- Tua was really impressive, but seriously I think a lot of his success has to do with the juggernaut of a team he has behind him. Tagovailoa is an incredible player and it’s clear that he puts Alabama in a tier we’ve never seen before. But was he the reason the Tide made the Playoff? Not at all.
- Welcome to the party, Charleston Rambo. What an incredible touchdown pass from Kyler.
- He was clearly hurt, so I don’t feel comfortable giving him LVP, but not having Hollywood Brown at full strength was devastating. The bailout Hollywood Hail Mary is such a major factor for the OU offense and missing him at full strength was a killer. Four targets, four drops, just won’t do.
- I can’t get over what could have happened if that fumbled goes the other way. Maybe we get hit with a safety but damn…hard not to think things would be different.
- Everyone has stated this, but Alabama and Clemson are clearly a cut above everyone else and that just sucks. Recruiting has improved at OU, but defensively the Sooners just aren’t there yet athlete-wise.
- At least Flo-Rida was pretty cool.
- Through all of it, despite the 28 point hole, didn’t it seem like OU was one crucial play away from making this thing really interesting? If the Sooners got even one of those onside kicks, I think the offense would deliver.
- The overarching theme of the past few seasons is showing just how close OU is to winning it all. They are almost there and each year they seem to get closer. I’ve said it before plenty of times on The Schooner Pod that the Sooner teams you are seeing now are just the tip of the iceberg, that these are simply just teams that are laying the groundwork. For years, the College Football Playoff has probably been the ceiling for the Sooners, so long as they are playing Clemson or Alabama. But with a few more high-level classes and some more time for young players like Kennedy Brooks, Charleston Rambo and Bookie Radley-Hiles to develop, this team will be a force. Don’t forget the optimism of Early Signing Day: the guys that will put the program into the next level are coming. Our championship window isn’t closing, it’s actually just now opening.
MVP: Kyler Murray
In his final game as a Sooner, Kyler Murray went down swinging. After taking the initial haymaker, Murray regained his composure and put on the most impressive quarterback performance of the night. Kyler showed his immense value this season by racking up 400+ total yards and three touchdowns. He laid it all on the line tonight and should be remembered as one of the most electric playmakers in Oklahoma history. He’ll be missed.
I don’t believe in curses or that attending games actually has an impact on the outcome, but damn does it seem like Miami has it out for me. Between 2005, 2009, 2015 and now 2018 OU and the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder, I’ve experienced more woe in that forsaken town.
It’s more than just the games; this trip marked the second straight time a confusing and frustrating event occurred that led to a Top 5 worst night. In 2015, my friends and I were conned out of hundreds of dollars by a sketchy South Beach restaurant (good riddance, La Baguette). This year, we were dealt one of the worst hands of my life when one of my friends lost the keys to his car which we took to the game from Plano, leaving us stranded in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot for hours. After getting it towed to the dealership, we later found that it would be a couple days before we could get a replacement key.
So here I am, on an unexpected and expensive flight to Oklahoma City, saying the very same words I said in 2015 with zero percent confidence: never again, Miami.
Up Next: The offseason. Time for basketball, Avengers: Endgame, the final season of Game of Thrones and graduation.