Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sooner or Later, Oklahoma Will Be in Title Game

This wasn't a game. This wasn't even a blowout. This was an obliteration. A display of sheer power and skill on one side, and on the other a display of premature hype.

The score was 65-21, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Oklahoma had rolled up over 400...just in the first house. They ran for almost 300 yards. Quarterback Sam Bradford even threw for 4 TDs. The Sooner defense stifled the vaunted and powerful Texas Tech offense, holding them to 14 points through 59:49. They forced turnovers, even returning two of them inside the Red Raider five, making it just that much easier for the unstoppable OU offense to punch it in.

And while this victory was impressive, very impressive, the Sooners still were #3 in the BCS Standings, behind undefeated Alabama and rival Texas. The win convinced the human polls, who put the Sooners in either the #2 or #3 slot, but all three had them ahead of the Longhorns.

While some may argue Texas should be ahead of Oklahoma because they beat them, then another one-loss team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who beat Texas, should be ahead of the 'Horns. And there is a reason that the Big 12 South will be decided by the BCS: because none of the tiebreakers worked, including head-to-head. So why should this set of rankings be based on head-to-head?

Oklahoma's non-conference schedule was also much better than that of the 'Horns -- and the Raiders, for that matter. And although the Sooners played Division 1-AA (FCS) Chatanooga, the also challenged Big East-leading and 9-2 Cincinnati and Mountain West heavyweight TCU. Texas' best non-conference game came against SEC cellar dweller Arkansas. Even the darling Red Raiders had a cupcake non-conference schedule with WAC also-ran Nevada as the highest profile team.

Seeing as we're in November, just on the verge of December, every team should be playing their best football. And right now, there are two teams who are feared everywhere: Florida and Oklahoma. Since each suffered their first and only loss, they have been on a tear, scoring consistently in the 50s and 60s. I don't see Texas winning with as much ease as OU is. Not even close.

Now maybe this is a little premature, with the Sooners final regular season game against #12 Oklahoma State this weekend. If the Sooners win at Stillwater, it will be tough for Oklahoma not to jump Texas. In fact, Texas needs Oklahoma to win so they still have a shot at the Big 12 South. If Oklahoma loses and Texas Tech wins (they play Baylor), Texas Tech, not Texas will be the South's representative. No matter what happens, it seems inevitable that the Longhorns will left out.

This particular situation reminds me of 2000, when one-loss Florida State was inserted into the National Title game against Oklahoma, instead of one-loss Miami, who beat FSU. Although these two situations aren't exactly alike, the BCS has set precedent in these dilemnas.

Oklahoma has proved to everyone that they are one of the best teams in the country, blowing out Texas Tech by 44 and their next stop: Miami.

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