Best opponent for Ohio State? OklahomaPosted: December 5, 2006
Best opponent for Ohio State? Oklahoma
By RICHARD JUSTICE
KANSAS CITY, MO. — Some of you think this BCS stuff is complicated. Not
In fact, I’ve come up with a formula that will help all of you
understand how college football picks a champion. Hear me out.
Take Florida’s strength of schedule, divide it by Michigan’s average
margin of victory and subtract LSU’s record against quality opponents
coached by guys who will publicly admit they wouldn’t take the Alabama
job on a dare but would love to use it to squeeze a few bucks from
their athletic director.
When you finish, put your pencil down and wait for the other children.
Yes, it’s Oklahoma.
The Sooners are the second-best team in the nation, and if the system
worked, they’d play Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game.
Instead, it’ll be Michigan or Florida. That’s because the computers
aren’t being programmed to consider a mistake. They could be, but
that’s another story.
Only one loss legit
Voters won’t cut the Sooners any slack, either. Some of them may not
remember that OU should be a one-loss team.
The Sooners do have one legitimate defeat, that to Texas. OU has won
eight in a row since, including Saturday’s 21-7 walk over Nebraska in
the Big 12 Championship Game.
No team has overcome more than the Sooners. No team has shown more
resolve. No team is more deserving of a shot at Ohio State.
If coach Bob Stoops had anything left to prove, he proved it this
season by retooling the Sooners on the fly. On Saturday, he won the Big
12 crown for the fourth time in eight years on the job.
Meet the new boss — same as the old boss. Just when it seems the
A&M-Texas series could get interesting, Oklahoma’s re-emergence means
the Longhorns and Aggies again will be playing for second place.
OU has just 11 seniors, the lowest number in the Stoops era. Thirteen
of OU’s 22 starters have at least two years of eligibility remaining.
Perhaps the smartest thing Stoops did was move wide receiver Paul
Thompson, a former quarterback, back to his original position after
Rhett Bomar was kicked off the team.
Thompson became more than the OU quarterback. He became the OU leader.
”He’s the best,” Stoops said. ”If you could recruit guys like that
every single day, you would. He’s in the huddle with a bunch of young
guys, and they all look to him.”
Stoops should be in the BCS Championship Game for the fourth time in
seven years. He won’t because the Sooners are being penalized for a
game they shouldn’t have lost.
The refs have admitted they blew some critical calls in the OU-Oregon
game. That’s OU’s other loss. That’s the one sending the Sooners to the
Fiesta Bowl to play Boise State.
Stoops refused to alibi, saying: ”We can’t do anything about it. For
us to sit here and make an issue of it won’t come off the right way.”
But he knows what his team has accomplished. He knows how good the
Sooners are. This isn’t his most talented team. But his OU team that
won the national title in 2000 wasn’t his most talented, either.
”I just feel fortunate and blessed to work with a special group of
players,” Stoops said. ”They pulled together the entire year. They
never made excuses. This group is super competitive, resilient. It has
a great will and determination.”
Sooners can pass, too
On Saturday, Nebraska stacked defenders at the line of scrimmage,
gambling that if OU couldn’t run, OU couldn’t win. That strategy forced
Thompson to make plays in the passing game. He made them, throwing two
touchdown passes to Malcom Kelly.
Meanwhile, OU’s defense forced five turnovers, including three
interceptions against Nebraska QB Zac Taylor.
Arrowhead Stadium had the look and feel of a Nebraska home game, but
the Sooners forced a turnover on Nebraska’s first play and had their
first touchdown after 48 seconds.
They were on their way to another trophy. It’s a nice trophy and should
have gotten them an even bigger one. The Sooners say they can live with
the way things worked out.