We’ve all heard the perpetual narrative of the SEC being the best conference in college football.
After winning seven straight national titles from January 2007 through January 2013 and another since with Alabama in January 2016, the SEC became the first conference in history this month to send two teams to the College Football Playoff. Alabama and Georgia both cracked the final four on Dec. 3.
Baker Mayfield and the Sooners, however, don’t want to hear any of that hype.
Not as they prepare to face Georgia in the semifinals at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 2018.
Oklahoma will face its fifth SEC opponent since January 2014 when the Sooners and Bulldogs go head-to-head with a trip to the national title game on the line. As of Dec. 13, Georgia is a 1.5-point favorite over the Sooners.
The underdog mentality might not be a bad thing either.
In the face of adversity, Oklahoma has gone a perfect 4-0 against SEC opponents since the Sooners’ monumental upset of No. 3 Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma entered that date with the Crimson Tide in New Orleans, La. as a 17.5-point underdog before posting a 45-31 victory in front of a packed house at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It was the largest upset against the spread ever recorded in a BCS bowl game.
The Sooners didn’t need quite that magic against Tennessee in September 2014, as Oklahoma cruised its way past the Volunteers for a 34-10 victory in Norman, Okla.
A year later in Knoxville, Tenn., it was Oklahoma’s turn to prove everyone wrong again. The Sooners overcame a 17-point deficit to force overtime against Tennessee — ultimately prevailing in double-overtime as Oklahoma stunned the crowd at Neyland Stadium with a 31-24 triumph.
Oklahoma’s most recent victory over the SEC was once again a dominant exhibition of talent. Mayfield and the Sooners cruised past No. 14 Auburn for a 35-19 Sugar Bowl victory on Jan. 2, 2017.
And that was how Oklahoma finished the stretch with an average of 438.75 yards of total offense per game against the SEC, posting three double-digit victories.
Time will tell if Mayfield can finish his career undefeated against SEC opponents once the new year rolls around. He may even have to defeat two SEC teams in the span of the week to accomplish that feat, should Oklahoma and Alabama both win their respective semifinal game.
And, perhaps, hand the Big 12 its first national championship in football in more than a decade.
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