Sunday, November 30, 2008

And the BCS nod goes to Oklahoma...

...which I say not because of what happened in Stillwater (though that was, as I have said so often in this unbelievable year in the Big XII South, a football game for the ages). What happened in Stillwater was an OU survival that I think leaves UT fans still with reasonable grounds to feel that they ought to be Big XII South champs -- their case is not as strong as it was going into the weekend's action, and I think OU has a better case, but 20 points when the last 7 was a gimme and when OU was mostly outplayed for most of the game (and, hey, I watched it, and I spent most of the game thinking we were bloody lucky to still be ahead) is most certainly not the domination that in my mind would have pushed OU's case over the top.

But it will be OU that comes out tops in the BCS, I now firmly believe. Not, as I say, because of what happened in Stillwater. It's what happened in Kansas City.

See, the pollsters already decided: they picked OU last week, and none of them are going to flip over to UT after this weekend. I imagine that if you voted for UT last week, you'll do so this week again -- and if you voted for OU last week, you'll go Boomin' this week, too. So OU gets the one-notch edge in both polls -- which means UT has to make up the difference in the computers.

It was already conventional wisdom that UT wouldn't improve its computer ratings by beating the woeful A&M, especially in Austin. The question was whether OU could boost its ratings enough by beating OSU on the road.

But then Missouri went and lost -- which means that UT's computer rankings not only won't improve this week. Now they're actually going to drop, because the Missouri win just got devalued. I think most people felt that an Oklahoma win on the road at OSU, especially if decisive (and the computers will see the twenty points and won't see the immaculate deflection to Gresham nor count the number of times Oklahoma was teetering on the edge of losing control of the game) would boost OU past UT. Add the completely unexpected Missouri loss into the mix and I think UT is toast.

But UT can still hold onto hope. One of the two teams in the BCS championship will be either Alabama or Florida. The other will be either Oklahoma or Texas. I don't think Texas will play in the Big XII championship. But if Oklahoma loses to Missouri, Texas will play for all the marbles. That's right, USC it out -- the Trojans won't jump both Alabama and Florida, and they won't jump both Oklahoma and Texas. It will be the SEC champion against Big XII South survivor.

Texas just has to pray for a Missouri upset now.

Heckuva game tonight, though, wasn't it? Wow. What a man-up by Bradford and the rest of the OU offense...

Oh, by the way: OU lost another linebacker for the season tonight. The one position where we absolutely couldn't afford any more attrition. Just devastating. Now I'm genuinely worried -- and ironically, now I'm thinking that Texas is probably back in front as far as goes the question, "Which of the two teams can put a better team on the field at this point?" If Oklahoma goes up against Florida now, I switch my bet from OU to Florida -- if you're going to play either Tebow or McCoy, you have to be stacked at linebacker, and the Sooners are now officially in deep trouble at a sick irony, the Sooners are probably back to the second-half-of-the-Shootout Sooners, with the hole at linebacker that they're not likely to be able to fill effectively.

So, as much as I like Urban Meyer and detest Old Nick Saban, I'm a big Alabama supporter as of right now, because I like the matchup better -- I think you have a better chance of compensating for lineback problems against Alabama than you do against Florida. And Oklahoma is going to have to go the rest of the way with major linebacker trouble, alas.

And if the only think I cared about was making sure the Big XII won the national championship rather than the SEC, then I'd pull for Oklahoma to lose to Missouri -- because, after a week of arguing for OU's superiority, in the wake of this latest linebacker injury I think Texas is a better team and would be more likely to bring the trophy home.

Life's full of irony, I suppose...


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