Sooners can clinch sixth Big 12 South Division title in eight years.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) --
Don't expect coach Bob Stoops
to plan any special touchdown celebrations or break
out new jerseys to get No. 3 Oklahoma motivated for
a pivotal final road game of the season. Just the prospect
of clinching a spot in the Big 12 championship game
should be enough to get the job done.
"These guys are bright, smart guys. To think you've
got to do some kind of magical trick or something to
say, "Hey do you want to go out and play hard?' that
doesn't go in my mind," Stoops said Tuesday at his
weekly news conference. "It's about business, and you
go out and you play. If you're capable of playing,
you play well."
Trips away from Owen Field haven't been friendly
to the Sooners (9-1, 5-1) this season. They suffered
their only loss this season at Colorado, and their
other two games outside the state were among their
three wins by 10 points or less. That includes a 17-7
victory at Iowa State in their last away game on Oct.
Before that game, players were given a list of all
the upsets in college football that had taken place.
It was Stoops' own form of motivation, albeit less
flashy than the Georgia's on-field celebration or new
black jerseys in recent weeks.
This time, though, Stoops is counting on the Sooners'
long-term road success to resurface without any razzle-dazzle.
"What is our road record compared to the rest of
the league? It would be worth you probably looking
into. You can ask every team in our league the same
thing, or probably across the country," Stoops said. "What
is their record?"
"To me, it's a question that goes to everybody.
It's more difficult on the road with everyone. It always
makes me chuckle like it's just us. We're probably
better on the road than anybody in the league in the
last eight years, I'm just guessing."
In Stoops' nine seasons, Oklahoma is 53-2 at home
and 27-10 on the road. In Big 12 road games, the Sooners'
22-7 record in that span is second-best in the conference
behind Texas (28-3). Even discounting a 1-2 record
in Big 12 play in Stoops' first season in 1999, the
Longhorns would still hold the edge.
The more recent history was a flat first half at
Iowa State in which Oklahoma was shut out, and a mistake-filled
finish that resulted in a 27-24 loss at Colorado.
"It is personal because a lot of people think that
we kind of struggle on the road," running back Chris
Brown said. "We've just got to get ready this week
and prove to everybody that we can play on the road."
Stoops is simply defending his team when he points
out that most college football teams, and even NFL
teams, find it more difficult to play on the road.
But that doesn't make his task any easier this week
against the nation's top offense, which is averaging
542.8 yards, in front of its home crowd.
"You've got to be strong enough to overcome that
comfort level the other team may have or the little
extra energy they may have because they're in front
of their home fans trying to create energy," Stoops
said. "You create your own if you make the plays you're
capable of making. Fans don't make plays. You make
the plays, you've got your own energy."
The game Saturday night will be Oklahoma's first
return to Texas Tech since a 23-21 loss two years ago
on a controversial 2-yard touchdown run by the Red
Raiders' Taurean Henderson as time expired.
That game ended up bumping the Sooners into a second-place
tie in the Big 12 South, but it didn't have the implications
on the conference championship and even the BCS that
exist this time. The Sooners would clinch the Big 12
South title with a win in either of their last two
games, and they're still in the national championship
picture at fourth in the BCS standings.
"I realize we're in a good position. Is it the best
position? No," Stoops said. "But with two or three
games to go, the bottom line is all I can do anything
about is getting prepared to be as good as we can be
"That's what I've said to the players. All this
talk and all this banter about, what does it do? The
bottom line is Tech is all that matters to us -- winning
at Tech, and if we do we're a step closer."