Of all the teams in college football, none received more offseason hype than Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley believes that impacted the Sooners in their underwhelming season opener against Tulane last Saturday.
Oklahoma started slow on Saturday and wound up tied at 14 in the first against a Tulane team the Sooners should have been able to run off the field. They couldn’t even separate themselves in the second half, either. The Green Wave scored 13 in the fourth quarter to make it a five-point game. Luckily, Oklahoma’s defense stepped up when it mattered most and forced a turnover on downs later in the fourth.
It was an underwhelming performance from previously-ranked No. 2 Oklahoma. Riley believes all the offseason hype got into his player’s heads.
“I think so — it certainly could’ve,” Riley said, via 247Sports. “I think for us it’s not so much trying to identify the source of the problem, but we’ve got to get the mentality that we’re in the right place no matter where the source was. Again, maybe there’s some guys that thought it’s just going to happen and you’re just going to blow this team out like everybody says you’re going to on the outside.”
Who says preseason rankings don’t matter?
— Brad Crawford (@BCrawford247) September 7, 2021
If the Sooners can’t handle the offseason hype, how will they be able to maneuver the in-season distractions? There’s no doubt Lincoln Riley is concerned.
The reality is Oklahoma looked like the same team we’ve seen over the past few years. Elite offense coupled with a bend-don’t-break defense which breaks a whole lot more than it bends most of the time. The Sooners should have ran Tulane off the field, but they let their foot off the gas and the Green Wave took advantage.
These king of early-season tests often prove beneficial in the long run, though. Oklahoma survived and advanced. That’s all that matters.