10 Greatest Oklahoma Football Teams of All Time

Three unbeaten teams from Oklahoma's record 47-game winning streak under legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson tie for first on this impressive list

Oklahoma has a shot at its seventh claimed national championship when it plays Georgia in the Rose Bowl Game/College Football Playoff Semifinal on New Year’s Day. The Sooners bounced back from a loss to Iowa State to take the Big 12 title and now control their own destiny.

 

If this Sooners team wins the national title, then they will be one of the school’s 10 greatest squads of all time. However, Oklahoma has a rich history of amazing teams so making the playoff alone does not automatically guarantee a spot on this list.

 

10. 1971

Record: 11-1

Finished: Beat Auburn 40-22 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 2

 

Oklahoma’s high-powered wishbone offense averaged an NCAA-record 472.4 rushing yards per game in a season dominated by the Big 8 Conference. Only a 35-31 loss to eventual national champion Nebraska in “The Game of the Century” on Thanksgiving prevented the Sooners from taking the top spot. They finished second, while Colorado (who Oklahoma beat 45-17) was ranked third.

 

9. 1915

Record: 10-0

Finished: Beat Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) 26-7 to close regular season

Final Ranking: No. 1 (retroactively awarded by Billinglsey Report)

 

The Sooners spent five seasons in the Southwest Conference, and made their presence known in their first season in 1915. Oklahoma outscored its opponents 370-54, and won close games against Texas and Kendall (now Tulsa). While the Sooners’ year ended with few accolades after the 10-game regular season, the Billingsley Report retroactively named them national champion decades later. However, Oklahoma does not claim it amongst its national titles.

 

8. 1985

Record: 11-1

Finished: Beat Penn State 25-10 in the Orange Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 1

 

After quarterback Troy Aikman went down with an injury in a 27-14 loss to Miami, true freshman Jamelle Holieway took over the starting duties and kick-started Oklahoma’s wishbone. The Sooners won eight straight, including a 25-10 victory over No. 1 Penn State in the Orange Bowl. The second-ranked Hurricanes lost 35-7 to Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl, thus giving head coach Barry Switzer his third national title.

 

7. 1975

Record: 11-1

Finished: Beat Michigan 14-6 in the Orange Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 1

 

The defending national champion Sooners’ 28-game winning streak was snapped by Kansas and chances for a repeat looked slim. Then Oklahoma reeled off wins against No. 18 Missouri and No. 2 Nebraska. After No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas A&M lost their bowl games, the Sooners moved into the top spot to win back-to-back national titles.

 

6. 1949

Record: 11-0

Finished: Beat LSU 41-0 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 2

 

The 1950 Sooners won the national title, but that was in the era where the champion was crowned before the bowl games. That ’50 squad joined the ranks of many during that era to earn the top ranking and then lose their bowl (13-7 to Kentucky). The 1949 team did no such thing, however, posting five shutouts in the season, including one against No. 9 LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma finished ranked second behind Notre Dame, who was still operating under its decades-long “no bowl game” policy.

 

5. 2000

Record: 13-0

Finished: Beat Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 1

 

After toiling in futility in the 1990s, head coach Bob Stoops returned Oklahoma to national prominence in just his second season. The Sooners beat six ranked opponents over nine games. The last win was a nasty 13-2 Orange Bowl victory over Florida State to claim Oklahoma’s seventh national title.

 

4. 1974

Record: 11-0

Finished: Beat Oklahoma State 44-13 to close regular season

Final Ranking: No. 1

 

The 1974 Oklahoma Sooners are the best team of the era when NCAA probation barred teams from appearing on television, regardless of how good they were. Only fans and reporters in the stadium were able to see Oklahoma and its eight All-Americans average 43 points a game and beat all but one of its opponents by at least 14 points. At the end of the season, the Sooners were the only undefeated team in the country and the sportswriters and coaches had no choice but to award them the national title.

 

1. 1954, 1955, 1956 (Three-way tie)

Record: 10-0 (1954), 11-0 (1955), 10-0 (1956)

Final Ranking: No. 3 (1954), No. 1 (1955), No. 1 (1956)

 

It is impossible to separate the rankings for these three teams since they were all part of Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak. From 1954-56 alone, the Sooners won 31 games, beat Maryland 20-6 in the 1956 Orange Bowl, and took home two national titles. No other team has come anywhere close to threatening Oklahoma’s record streak.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

 

(Top photo courtesy of www.soonersports.com)

Event Date: 
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 11:23

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