Lincoln Riley had just stepped off the plane in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday evening and gave a shout-out to OU’s long history with the Orange Bowl.
“We’re excited to be here,” Riley said, referring to the Orange Bowl semifinal against Alabama on Saturday. “You know, there is a long history of Oklahoma in this bowl game. This is like our second home. It’s great to be here.”
But is Miami like a second home to the Sooners? The Sooners have lost four straight games in Hard Rock Stadium, which is what they’re calling the Dolphins’ home field these days.
OU beat Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl to win the 2000 national title. But since then, Miami Gardens hasn’t been hospitable to the Sooners:
* A 55-19 loss to Southern Cal in the 2004 national title game;
* A 24-14 loss to Florida in the 2008 national title game;
* A 21-20 loss to Miami in September 2009;
* A 37-17 loss to Clemson in the 2015 national semifinals.
That’s a four-game losing streak in the ballpark that replaced the old Orange Bowl stadium, which absolutely was a home field to the Sooners.
In that old relic, OU was 12-6 – a superb record considering all those games were Orange Bowl showdowns or road games against the University of Miami.
But Hard Rock has not been so kind. It’s as if the Sooners are paying penance for that victory over Florida State.
I wondered how many four-game losing streaks the Sooners ever have experienced in a certain stadium. Here’s what I found:
* The Cotton Bowl, of course, with losing streaks against Texas of four (1989-92), four (1967-70), eight (1958-65) and eight (1940-47).
* Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, where the Sooners lost six straight, 1989-2001.
* Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, where the Sooners lost six straight straight, 1909-2000 – 1909, 1912, 1951, 1994, 1996 and 1998.
And that’s it. A loss to Alabama would raise OU’s Hard Rock Stadium losing streak to five and keep it on the short list of most frustrating pieces of real estate in Sooner history.