Can Oklahoma’s offensive line win the battle against Bama? They’d better

We have been here before.

We heard it last year going into the Rose Bowl match up between Oklahoma and Georgia. We heard it in 2013 when the Sooners were preparing to play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

We are hearing it again.

No. 4 Oklahoma will take on No. 1 Alabama at 7 p.m. Saturday in the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff in the Orange Bowl in Miami and the national narrative is simple … the Sooners have zero chance at beating the Crimson Tide.

For much of the season, Alabama has looked unbeatable. The Tide steamrolled through the regular season schedule without so much as a scratch.

Ironically, the only time when Bama wasn’t out in front by a large margin at halftime was against the Citadel.

Even the machines that Bama head coach Nick Saban rolls out struggled to get excited to play a lower-class opponent, but after a Saban tongue-lashing in the halftime locker room, the Citadel was reminded who Alabama was … the clear-cut No. 1 team in the land.

Then came the SEC Championship Game pitting the Tide against Georgia, a top-four team. Few believed the Bulldogs had the fire power to stay with the cyborgs Alabama put on the field.

Not only did Georgia hang with the Crimson Tide, but for three quarters, the Dawgs looked like the better team.

Then, the Jalen Hurts miracle happened, and Alabama steamrolled back, stealing the SEC title from Georgia and the chance to make the College Football Playoff and play for a national title.

Many still believed the Bulldogs deserved to be in the CFP over a one-loss conference champion, despite having two losses.

After all, the CFP Committee was designed to get the four best teams in the playoff right? So, why wouldn’t a team that looked better than the apparent No. 1 team for three quarters get another shot?

The committee made its bdecision and went with the Big 12 Conference champion and one-loss Oklahoma Sooners, who had avenged their only loss of the season with a win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.

The Sooners have arguably the best offense in the country led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray. The committee felt Oklahoma’s offense was strong enough to put them in the CFP over Georgia, despite OU having one of the worst defenses in college football history.

Since, the Sooners were selected to face the top-ranked Tide in the Orange Bowl, there hasn’t been a lot of love nationally thrown Oklahoma’s direction.

It’s hard to argue, considering the Sooners’ defense has been no short of awful in 2018 and has had numerous embarrassing performances like allowing more than 40 points to Kansas.

An Alabama offense led by star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has the ability to score at will against the wet paper towel that is Oklahoma’s defense, so the OU offense will need a record day if the Sooners are to pull off the miraculous upset.

That brings me to the key match up in the game. If Oklahoma is to have any chance, it will be up to the Sooners’ offensive line, which is widely considered to be the best in the country.

The Crimson Tide defense isn’t one of Saban’s best, but let’s face it … this will, by far, be the best group of players the OU offense has seen all season.

Alabama is still rolling out NFL-ready defenders who will make you pay if you are not on top of your game. The Tide are led by Outland Trophy Award-winner defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

If the Sooners offensive line cannot contain Williams, this game will not be close.

Oklahoma has the skill players, led by Murray and receivers Marquise Brown and Cee Dee Lamb to give Alabama problems, but if the Crimson Tide win the line-of-scrimmage battle, it won’t matter.

In 2013, no one gave the Sooners a chance to beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and they shocked the college football nation with miraculous play from Trevor Knight and an outstanding performance from the offensive line.

Last year, many said the Baker Mayfield-led Oklahoma offense would struggle against the powerful Georgia defense and the Sooners racked up more than 40 points and more than 600 yards of offense against the Bulldogs.

This year, we are hearing the same things about Oklahoma’s offense against the Bama defense.

We know what is going to happen on the other side of the ball. All OU fans can do is pray for a turnover or two from their bewildered defense. If the Sooners want to pull off another stunner in Miami, it will all come down to the offensive line.

Can the big boys up front win the battle, or will the Tide’s front seven stand tall and move on to the CFP National Championship Game?

We will find out Saturday night in south Florida.

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