For much of the season, I have been writing about the historic nature of this Oklahoma offense, and now someone a little more important is referencing it. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, chairman of the College Football Playoff committee, twice Tuesday night referred to the Sooner offense as “historic” in explaining OU’s No. 5 ranking, one crucial spot ahead of Ohio State.
And now the Big 12 regular season has concluded, and we’ve got the full data. The way I like to rank offenses – how frequently do they score, given the opportunity – shows that the Sooners are indeed extraordinary.
In conference play, which is one of the better ways to measure a team, because that eliminates the weaker competition that has soiled September football, OU is operating at 62.4 percent efficiency. Give this Sooner offense the ball 100 possessions, and it will score 62 touchdowns (or a few less, with some field goals sprinkled in; I count field goals as half-touchdowns). A better way to look at it – give this OU offense 10 possessions, which is close to the game standard, and it will score 44 points.
I’ve been comparing this Kyler Murray offense to the offenses of Baker Mayfield, which were incredibly potent in their own right, and this offense zooms past Mayfield’s. In 2016, OU’s offensive efficiency was .531. Last year, during Mayfield’s Heisman Trophy-winning season, the efficiency was .542. Fabulous, fabulous offenses. But lapped by Murray’s offense, at .624.
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I frequently get asked about going further back into history. 1971, for example. How did those early-wishbone Sooners fare in offensive efficiency. Well, I don’t have the play-by-play accounts easily accessible, and I haven’t had the time to go to OU’s archives and dig through. I need to do that.
But this week, I did go back and find the play-by-play accounts of the other incredible offense in OU lore. The 2008 Sooners of Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray, the hurryup no-huddle installed by Kevin Wilson that took college football by storm.
You know those Sooners well. They opened Big 12 play with a 49-17 rout of Baylor, suffered a 45-35 loss to Texas, then beat Kansas 45-31 and Kansas State 58-35. We thought the offense was humming.
We didn’t know what humming was. Next came five straight games of at least 60 points – Nebraska fell 62-28, Texas A&M 66-28. Next was Texas Tech, 65-21 in the Jump Around game. OSU was 61-41 in that wild Bedlam in Stillwater. Finally, Missouri 62-21 in the Big 12 championship game. The latter three teams were ranked. Heck, so was Kansas, No. 16 when the Jayhawks arrived in Norman, so that shows how long ago that was.