Last week, we revealed the 16 games that would make up the Sweet 16 of Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament with the round of 32 games in each region. Today, we will set up the final eight games. How many upsets will we see make it to the Elite Eight? Now, Let’s begin looking at the matchups and results of the second round of the Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament.
Sweet 16: Oklahoma Sooners Greatest Games
Bud Wilkinson Region
(1) 1971 Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31 vs (4) 1976 Oklahoma 14 Michigan 6
It’s not often that a game that is so highly hyped up lives up to the expectations. Even today, the 1971 game between Oklahoma and Nebraska is considered one of the best ever played. For all intents and purposes, this was the national championship game in 1971. The aftermath of this game saw Nebraska cruise to the national championship with a 38-6 win over Alabama. Meanwhile, Oklahoma dominated Auburn for a 40-22 Sugar Bowl victory.
Meanwhile, the Sooners overcame adversity in the 1975 season. After losing a shocker to Kansas, Oklahoma made its way to a number three ranking and into the Orange Bowl against Michigan. Due to an upset, Oklahoma found themselves in position for a national championship with a win against the Wolverines. The Sooners defense dominated as the Sooners won the title, 14-6.
As for this matchup, the cream continues to rise to the top even in a losing game. The 1971 Oklahoma vs Nebraska matchup advances with 67% of the votes to advance to the Elite Eight.
Winner: 1971 Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31
(2) 1975 Oklahoma 28 Missouri 27 vs (3) 1972 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14
As we’ve chronicled previously, without a win here against Missouri the national championship would not have been possible. Oklahoma was stumbling coming into this game being upset the week before against Kansas. Additionally, the Sooners had relinquished a 20-point halftime lead. But, Joe Washington saved the Sooners season on 4th down and the eventual two-point conversion.
In 1972, the Sooners were looking for revenge against the Cornhuskers. And, they did just that. Ultimately, Oklahoma dominated the game but found themselves down late in the game. However, the defense was able to force six turnovers and the Sooners scored 10 fourth-quarter points for the 17-14 win.
With this matchup, we have a small upset at least in terms of what the game meant in the history of the program. The 1972 Oklahoma win over Nebraska advances with 54% of the voting.
Winner: 1972 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 14
Barry Switzer Region
(1) 1987 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 7 vs (5) 1988 Oklahoma 31 Oklahoma State 28
The 1987 clash between Oklahoma and Nebraska was billed as the second game of the century. However, this wasn’t as close of a game as the 1971 tilt was. The Sooners had been ranked number one all season up until the game against Nebraska when the Cornhuskers overtook the Sooners. But, Oklahoma dominated the second half of play with a 17-7 win.
Even though the season as a whole was less memorable, the 1988 clash between the Sooners and the Cowboys was a special one. This game still in many people’s minds is the greatest Bedlam game ever played. Barry Sanders and Mike Gaddis went toe to toe as Sanders had 215 yards and two touchdowns and Gaddis had 213 yards and two scores for the Sooners.
In the end, despite the star power of Gaddis and Sanders, it was the game of the century part two that comes out ahead with 63% of the votes.
Winner: 1987 Oklahoma 17 Nebraska 7
(2) 1977 Oklahoma 29 Ohio State 28 vs (6) 1986 Oklahoma 20 Nebraska 17
This matchup is truly a matchup of Sooner magic. First, you have the heroics of a game that looked like a no-doubter early on. Then, with Billy Sims and Thomas Lott both sidelined with injuries a loss seemed to be imminent. However, due to one of the greatest clutch kicks in Sooner history, the Sooners toppled the Buckeyes by a count of 29-28.
Comparatively, nearly 10 years later the Sooners did it again. This time, once again, to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Oklahoma would go on to score 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for the win. Again, this was won on the right leg of a kicker to decide the fate of another miracle in Lincoln.
In what was a dominating performance from beginning to end, the 1977 Oklahoma victory comes out with the win with 77% of the votes.
Winner: 1977 Oklahoma 29 Ohio State 28
Bob Stoops Region
(1) 2000 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 14 vs (4) 2000 Oklahoma 35 Texas A&M 31
Here we have the game that put Oklahoma football back on the map against the game that saved the national championship season. After surrendering the first 14 points of the game against the Cornhuskers, Oklahoma scored 31 straight to win in dominating fashion. The win completed the resurgence from a period of horrible football to back on the mountaintop.
Conversely, it was the Texas A&M Aggies that aimed to knock the Sooners off of that mountaintop. And, for a little more than 45 minutes the entire world thought it would happen. But, the heroics of Torrance Marshall saved the Sooner season with a late interception and a 35-31 comeback victory.
This was a back and forth affair, but the resurgent win over the Cornhuskers cannot be denied. 2001 Oklahoma over Nebraska wins with 63% of the vote.
Winner: 2000 Oklahoma 31 Nebraska 14
(2) 2001 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2 vs (6) 2000 Oklahoma 63 Texas 14
A national championship versus a complete domination of your rival. When you look at the Sooners 2001 Orange Bowl victory against Florida State, you have a completely dominant defensive performance. The strip of Chris Weinke by Rocky Calmus and the recovery from Roy Williams set up the games only touchdown.
If the win over Nebraska completed the redemption road for the Sooners, the domination of the Longhorns started it all. Whether you think about the six-touchdown performance from Quentin Griffin or the pick-six of Chris Sims the Sooners got back on the map with this rivalry win.
You can’t overcome the power of a national championship, even for a Texas beatdown. With 77% of the votes, the Sooners victory over Florida State comes out on top.
Winner: 2001 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2
Lincoln Riley Region
(1) 2014 Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31 vs (5) 2017 Oklahoma 31 Ohio State 16
Our final region of the Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament starts with Oklahoma’s epic win over the Crimson Tide. The Sooners were a considerable underdog against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Starting with the unquestioned greatest performance of Trevor Knight’s Oklahoma career. And, of course, the clincher of the Eric Striker sack of A.J. McCarron to give Oklahoma the improbable 45-31 win.
The most charismatic player in Oklahoma football history, Baker Mayfield came up with one of his best performances in Columbus. Mayfield went 27-35 for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the 31-16 win. Perhaps the game pales in comparison to the flag-planting after the game as Oklahoma celebrated the biggest non-conference win in many years.
This has gone down as the closest matchup of the tournament. But, the Sugar Bowl victory wins by three votes to advance.
Winner: 2014 Oklahoma 45 Alabama 31
(2) 2015 Oklahoma 31 Tennessee 24 vs (11) 2010 Oklahoma 23 Nebraska 20
In our last matchup of the Sweet 16 in the Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament, we start with the miracle on rocky top. Trailing 17-3 and unable to get anything going offensive, the Sooners mustered a thrilling comeback. Mayfield orchestrated two late touchdowns and Zack Sanchez sealed the win with an interception.
Finally, we have the last matchup in a storied rivalry as conference foes. Nebraska got off to a 17-0 lead and it looked Nebraska would leave the conference as champions. But, much in the same way that many of the iconic games of the 70s and 80s the Sooner snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the 23-20 win.
The victory in SEC country comes out on top with a win in receiving 77% of the votes.