We’ve made it our national championship game. Last time, we trimmed our list from the Final Four to the last two standing in the Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament. Today, we crown our national champion as we look at the road to the championship game for each game. Now, let’s begin looking at the journey for each team and the results of the Oklahoma Sooners greatest games tournament.
1977 Oklahoma Sooners vs Ohio State Buckeyes
In the initial matchup of the tournament, the 1977 game took on Gary Gibbs only victory against Nebraska which was in 1990 by the score of 45-10. The Sooners came in unranked and Nebraska was 10th ranked. But, the Sooners dominated with defense. They forced seven Cornhusker turnovers and held them to less than 250 yards of total offense. Even with the dominating performance, the 1977 game won easily.
Round of 32
The second game for the 1977 victory against Ohio State may have had the biggest star power challenge thus far. They had to contend with a Sooner national championship win versus Penn State in 1986. In the 1986 Orange Bowl, the Nittany Lions struck first and led 7-0. However, Oklahoma outscored Penn State 25-3 the rest of the way for the national championship win. This proved to be the closest matchup, but the 1977 game prevailed.
As we moved into the Sweet 16, the 1977 game had to face Nebraska three straight time in order to advance to the championship game. The first matchup was against the Cornhuskers in 1986. This was Sooner Magic against each other. The 1986 win was a come from behind effort as Oklahoma scored the last 13 points in the come from behind victory. Even so, the 1977 game advances.
As we move into the final eight teams in the tournament, the 1977 game faced another tough matchup versus Nebraska. This would be the 1987 17-7 Sooner victory over the Cornhuskers. Unlike the year earlier, this matchup would ultimately be dominated by the Sooners from the beginning. However, the 1977 game keeps chugging along with another hard-fought victory.
The final matchup ended up being one of the most lopsided since their first-round game. First, the 1972 Oklahoma win over Nebraska scored a shocking upset victory over the 1971 Game of the Century. Be that as it may, the 1972 game was essentially in a happy to be here situation. It showed as the 1977 game won in decisive fashion.
2001 Oklahoma vs Florida State
Since the Sooners have only won one national championship in the last 35 years, this game was bound to be near the top. So, the 2001 Orange Bowl started off its journey by taking on the 77-0 game against Texas A&M in 2003. The Sooners amassed 636 yards and 77 points, both a record most in the Bob Stoops era at the time. But, it still pales in comparison to the 2001 game.
Round of 32
The next two matchups are against Texas in back to back years. The first was against Texas in 2001. Most Sooner fans cannot easily forget the 2001 victory over the Longhorns. Even though it may not be the best game in program history, but few would argue that the biggest individual play would be the Roy Williams Superman play. However, the totality of the 2001 National Championship game was the victor.
The Sweet 16 matchup against Texas was significant in many ways. After a decade of mediocre and awful football, this victory truly put Oklahoma back on the map. The Sooner nation was hopeful but the 49 point shellacking of the Longhorns proved that Oklahoma was indeed back. Still, the 2001 game marched on.
Our next two matchups in the Elite Eight and the Final Four were the closest in the tournament. But, that’s exactly how it should be. If the game against Texas was indicative of the Sooners return to legitimacy, the game against Nebraska in 2000 was about if the Sooners could return to championship form. The crowd became a little restless after Nebraska jumped out to a 14-0 lead. However, Oklahoma scored 31 consecutive points and the Sooners reached number one in the country once again. But, narrowly, the totality of the national championship game won over the Nebraska win.
Finally, our last matchup was truly a game of inches. Alabama, along with the SEC, had become public enemy number one for the Sooners. And, in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, both the Sooners and the Crimson Tide were unlikely participants that year. However, the Sooners came up with a performance for the ages. Trevor Knight had his best game in a Sooner uniform and Eric Striker made the defensive play of the game as the Sooners won. This was the closest matchup of the entire tournament but the 2001 game won by just a few votes.
Championship Game: Oklahoma Sooners Greatest Games
(2) 1977 Oklahoma 29 Ohio State 28 vs (2) 2001 Oklahoma 13 Florida State 2
Here we go. Finally, we’re to the championship game of the Oklahoma Sooners Greatest Games tournament. In reality, we have a situation where two worlds collide from different eras. The 1970s and 1980s were full of conference and national champions as the Sooners won three in those decades. However, in 2000, Sooner fans were hungry for a championship. Oklahoma completed the decade of the 90s as the worst decade in Sooner football history with just a 54% winning percentage.
When identifying the greatest game, you have to ask yourself what is the criteria that you look for. Is it the most memorable game? The most exciting game? Or, perhaps the game that has the single biggest play? One of these is not like the other. The field goal to win the 1977 game against was one of the best individual plays in program history. However, in comparison to the ’70s and ’80’s decades, the 1977 season was not one of the best. That’s something that cannot be said about the 2000 season. Oklahoma’s first National Championship in 15 years at the time can’t be ignored. The 2001 Oklahoma Orange Bowl victory over Florida State in our National Champion.