The Oklahoma defense has received plenty of criticism as the College Football Playoff race heats up, but coach Lincoln Riley said Wednesday the critiques aren’t all fair.
CFP chairman Kirby Hocutt made it clear Tuesday night that the selection committee has not been impressed by the Sooners’ defense. On ESPN’s Mike & Mike Wednesday morning, Riley said the Sooners ranking No. 88 in total defense is partially a product of the explosive offenses they face every week. Teams from the SEC and Big Ten don’t have to deal with that.
“I think people need to begin to look at the other side of it,” Riley said. “The offenses in this league are that good. You’re going to face really, really good offenses each and every week, and you don’t do that in the other conferences. That’s just the fact of the matter.
“If any other conference was sitting there playing offenses like ours, Oklahoma State’s, Texas Tech’s, several of the others that you’ve got in this league, it would be a different story in those leagues too.”
The Sooners allowed 52 points in a Bedlam win over Oklahoma State on Saturday. However, Riley makes a good point. The Big 12 has four top-20 scoring offenses this season: No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 11 West Virginia, and No. 17 Texas Tech. The SEC and the Big Ten each have two.
Riley also pointed to his team’s performance in non-conference matchups as evidence that Oklahoma can still play defense.
“It’s the same defense that went on the road in Columbus, Ohio, and held one of the top offenses in the country 200 yards under their average and won that game,” Riley said. “It’s the same defense that went in the Sugar Bowl last year and really shut down Auburn.”
No. 5 Oklahoma will get a chance to improve its defensive reputation this week against No. 6 TCU. The Sooners host the Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday on FOX.
The post Lincoln Riley defends Oklahoma defense: ‘The offenses in this league are that good’ appeared first on Diehards.
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