There is still a chance for Oklahoma State to claim a national championship and, truth be told, this title has long been considered the most prestigious in college football.
Voters in The Associated Press poll have been crowning champions since 1936. For six-plus decades, the poll reigned supreme. Some old-fashioned folk like me still consider it the granddaddy of them all. The AP poll was more prestigious than the United Press International poll (1950-90), which begat the USA Today coaches’ poll (1991-present), which now presents its annual trophy to the BCS champion (1998-present).
Though the Cowboys fell .009 short of their quest to play in this season’s BCS national title game, a scenario still exists where they could win the prestigious AP title: If No. 3 OSU is able to convincingly defeat No. 4 Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl and No. 2 Alabama beats No. 1 LSU in a punting contest similar to their 9-6 overtime meeting on Nov. 5, it’s certainly within reason for AP voters to consider the Cowboys at No. 1 in their final poll. In last week’s AP poll, OSU trailed Alabama by 154 points. In this week’s AP poll, the Cowboys trailed the Crimson Tide by just 18 points.
Keep in mind, all national championships in major college football are mythical because there has never been a playoff. Alabama claims 13 national titles in its history, including crowns selected by Williamson, Houlgate, Football Annual and Football Thesaurus. (No kidding.) All OSU is looking for is fair consideration to be crowned national champ by somebody, anybody. If LSU beats Alabama again, all bets are off and the Tigers — coached by former O-State head man Les Miles – are soul rulers. However, if our aforementioned scenario becomes reality, this could really get fun.
OSU supporters can start campaigning now. Put AP voters on your Christmas list. Wish them happy holidays. The key is to keep this good-natured and friendly. No pressure tactics. No insults. Kill these people with kindness. AP voters rarely, if ever, get positive feedback, but all that changes now. As far as you’re concerned, these are the true Wise Men of Christmas.
The Fiesta Bowl is Jan. 2 in Glendale, Ariz. LSU and Alabama play for the BCS national championship in New Orleans on Jan. 9. If the Cowboys defeat Stanford, that gives OSU supporters one full week to schmooze pollsters. Politicking can get unseemly, but this is polliticking. Besides, how unseemly was it for ESPN to promote LSU vs. Alabama for the BCS national title a full week before the matchup was even determined?
Keep your communication with voters short and sweet. Your message could read something along the lines of: “Please consider the OSU Cowboys for your national title if LSU loses. Much appreciated. Love your work. Always have. Enclosed you will find my favorite barbecue recipe. Have a nice day.”
Here is the list of AP voters. Commence polliticking.
In our haste for hyperbole, we have lost all track of time. As a result, we are clearly running low on centuries. By my count, we are now covered until at least 3011 before college football’s next “Game of the Century.”
The latest 100-year rendition was No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama on Saturday night. Turns out it was wasn’t even the best game in its time slot. Many of the 600-plus media types credentialed for LSU’s 9-6 overtime victory in Tuscaloosa must have gazed at Stillwater with envy as No. 3 Oklahoma State managed to outlast No. 14 Kansas State 52-45.
Ah, who am I kidding? SEC folk are envied, not envious. In their eyes, it doesn’t matter if the two greatest teams on Google Earth went to overtime andstill couldn’t find an end zone.
Saturday’s 7 p.m. time slot was all a matter of taste. Do you prefer a defensive standoff, or an offensive shootout? Do you seek a shot glass that’s darn-near empty, or a jug that runneth over? Do you call your editor and plead for more space, or ask him to run an extra photo to help fill the void?
- While LSU and Alabama combined for 12 points in regulation, OSU and KSU combined for 12 touchdowns.
- The Cowboys and Wildcats amassed 1,082 yards. The Tigers and Tide combined for less than half that.
- Every field-goal attempt at Boone Pickens Stadium sailed through the uprights. Alabama field-goal kickers missed 4 of 6 at home.
- In Stillwater, OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for a school-record 502 yards and All-American receiver Justin Blackmon had 13 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns. In Tuscaloosa, um, LSU’s Brad Wing had a 73-yard punt.
Come on, is there even a choice?
And yet, predictably, many scream for a rematch in the BCS championship game between the Tigers and Crimson Tide. No seconds for me, thanks. One serving of this matchup was more than enough.
Sadly, and equally predictable, Alabama sits solidly at No. 3 in this week’s BCS standings, which makes a rematch almost a certainty if the Tide wins out and OSU or Stanford doesn’t go 12-0.
A handful of reasons why Alabama doesn’t deserve a rematch:
1. They’ve already played. Been there, done that. Asked and answered. Nothing more to see here. Moving on.
2. LSU would have a 13-0 record in the BCS national title game. Alabama would be 11-1. The Tide would advance by not playing for its conference crown. What sense does that make?
3. Alabama already lost – at home.
4. We know what Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron can do against the Tigers, but we’re extremely curious how Weeden, or Stanford’s Andrew Luck, or Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, or Boise State’s Kellen Moore would do against LSU.
Somebody on CBS squawked that 10 defensive backs in the LSU-Alabama game would play in the NFL, which seems awfully hard to gauge playing against a steady stream of average offenses.
The SEC’s gaudy numbers on defense are easily explained by the league’s gaunt numbers on offense. This all works hand-in-hand.
Four SEC defenses rank in the top 9, but three SEC offenses rank No. 103 or lower and seven rank No. 87 or lower, including top-ranked LSU’s. The Big 12′s defensive stats stink (four in the bottom 13) because the league’s offensive numbers are astronomical (three in the top 4; six in the top 11).
5. Give someone else a crack at LSU. If the Tide were to win the rematch, then Saturday would mean nothing, and an LSU victory in Tuscaloosa should be worth more than an Alabama victory in New Orleans.
For these reasons, no rematch. It would be far better to expand the Tigers’ list of potential victims. Broaden the evidence. Leave no doubt. We’ve seen the best the SEC has to offer. Give another league a chance.
Besides, what would prove more? Weeden vs. LSU? Luck vs. LSU? Jones vs. LSU? Moore vs. LSU?
Or one more round with McCarron?
John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. Follow him on Twitter @RohdeOK.
BeyondU Sports has an in-depth discussion with Mike Leach – the former Texas Tech head coach and New York Times best selling author of “Swing Your Sword” – each week. Here is part of this week’s installment:
We had some huge upsets this past Saturday, did you see that Oklahoma upset coming?
I didn’t see that one coming but I did see upsets in general coming. Not specific upsets, but as long as I have been in this it’s that kind of year. Teams define themselves as top dogs and they have a target on their backs and everyone is gunning for them. Teams with an unsatisfactory season are trying to redeem as much respect as they can. Teams that have levels of success sometimes can get complacent and not have as much respect for their opponent. All these factors come into play. I think that it’s that time of year people are taxed physically and mentally. One team’s up the other is not. There can be surprises especially in these conferences that play one team after another back to back. You know they may not be having as good a season as they like. They (Texas Tech) have big strong players that are fast, so this is really as they say any given week, anybody can beat anybody. That’s especially true this time of year. There will be more upsets this week too.”
OU has a lot of veterans with players who have played a ton of minutes at key positions. It’s really rare for Oklahoma to loose a game at home. From a mental standpoint, how does a team slip up like that?
They had a ridiculous number of wins at home. At some point there’s a sense that you are invincible. I think that’s fueled by the media, I think its fueled by the people in town, it’s fueled by the players themselves. Sometimes confidence becomes complacency. You take victories for granted. Texas Tech was not afraid of Oklahoma. We used to have a sign “respect everyone but fear no one.” Texas Tech didn’t fear Oklahoma even though they were a superior opponent. Oklahoma didn’t have enough of a healthy dose of respect for Texas Tech. Texas Tech is a good enough team that if they play for 60 minutes, Oklahoma can’t beat them playing 30. OU squandered the first half, they need more than 30 minutes of good play to beat Texas Tech.
“I think that the weather delay factored in too. It’s one of those things you get ready to play at Owen Field. If you are Texas Tech, you are relaxed. If you relax, collect your thoughts, play loose, etc. then you don’t have anything to lose. If you are Oklahoma, you are initially ready to play. You go through your workmanship ready to have a game. Then as the weather delay hits, you know the rhetoric I have overheard once in a while. Some of your weaker minded players are saying:
“This fouls my plans after the game.”
“Boy I will sure be glad when this game is over.”
“This is taking forever.”
“At least we are 24 points favorites, yeah this team can’t beat us, remember how bad we beat them last year.”
“Then you go through the motions for a half and the other teams doesn’t go through the motions in the half then you are in trouble. The trouble with those weather delays, it’s not like they are saying we aren’t go to play for 1 hour and 45 minutes. It’s constant 15 to 20 minute updates, then it’s a half hour and the storm hasn’t passed. I mean, you are sitting on ready waiting on go. It really is a nuisance.”
Do you think in a weather delay it’s actually an advantage to the away team?
I don’t know if it is or if it isn’t. I was thinking about it but I don’t know where I line up. If you are playing at night and you’re the visitor, you’re probably not thinking about what you are doing after the game as you know what you are going to do. You are getting a plane, going home and going to bed. If you’re Oklahoma, its like – Well, alright, I can’t meet my mom or my girlfriend so there goes that. I just think over time if you don’t have the right frame of mind winning so many in a row can on one hand be a burden if you generate pressure on yourself, which you shouldn’t. Or, if victories are being taken for granted, confident drifts into a lack of respect.”
What do you know about Texas Tech QB Seth Doege?
I know a lot about him. I’ve known him since he was in the 8th grade. He came to our camp all the time. I coached him for 3 1/2 years. He has a really good arm, not a tall guy, but a strong arm guy. Good player and it doesn’t surprise me at all to see him have success.”
Ever since Oklahoma State posted its 30-29 victory at Texas A&M on Saturday, writers and fans have weighed on the biggest victories in OSU history.
Time to get the viewpoint of a coach who was part of that program’s history. Pat Jones coached the Cowboys from 1979-1994 and was head coach the last 11 seasons.
Jones shared his Top-10 list of OSU’s biggest victories. Key factors were the quality of opponent and the end result that season.
Jones’ list does not include the Cowboys’ upsets at Oklahoma on Owen Field in 1995 and 2001, when OSU finished with records of 4-8 and 4-7, respectively. “This isn’t a list of the 10 biggest upsets,” Jones said. “That would be a completely different list.”
As for Saturday’s triumph against the No. 8 Aggies at Kyle Field, Jones said the value of that result is still pending. “For now, give it an ‘I’ (for incomplete),” Jones said.
Here are Jones’ Top 10 victories in OSU history:
1. 1984 - (No. 9) OSU 21, (No. 7) South Carolina 14 in Jacksonville, Fla. (Gator Bowl): Cowboys finished 10-2 that year, their first 10-win season in school history.
2. 1976 - (NR) OSU 31, (No. 5) Oklahoma 24 in Norman: Cowboys finished 9-3 and shared Big Eight crown with OU and Colorado.
3. 2008 - (No. 17) OSU 28, (No. 3) Missouri 23 in Columbia, Mo.: Cowboys finished 9-4 and were 9-2 at one point.
4. 1972 - (NR) OSU 31, (No. 3) Colorado 6 in Stillwater: Cowboys finished 6-5, their first winning season since 1959.
5. 1946 - (No. 6) OSU 33, (NR) Saint Mary’s 13 in New Orleans (1946 Sugar Bowl): Cowboys and All-American Bob Fenimore finish the 1945 season unbeaten at 9-0.
6. 2002 - (NR) OSU 38, (No. 3) Oklahoma 28 in Stillwater: Cowboys finished 8-5 and beat the Sooners in consecutive seasons for only the fifth time in series history.
7. 1979 - (NR) OSU 14, (No. 15) Missouri 13 in Columbia. Mo.: Cowboys finish 7-4 in their first season under Big Eight coach of the year Jimmy Johnson.
8. 1984 - (NR) OSU 45, (No. 12) Arizona State 3 in Tempe, Ariz.: Cowboys finished 10-2 in Jones’ first year as head coach. In his first game, he stunned the Sun Devils, who were ranked No. 1 in the preseason by Sport Magazine.
9. 1975 - (NR) OSU 20, (No. 16) Arkansas 13 in Stillwater: Cowboys finish 7-4, with all four losses coming against teams ranked in the top 14.
10. 2002 - (NR) OSU 24, (RV) Nebraska 21 in Stillwater: Cowboys finish 8-5 and post their first victory over Nebraska since 1961.
Depending on what transpires Thursday at its board of directors meeting, the beleaguered Big 12 will start anew: with or without a lawsuit from Baylor trying to block Texas A&M’s exit to the Southeastern Conference; with or without Dan Beebe as commissioner; with or without Chuck Neinas as interim commissioner; with or without an acceptable profit-sharing formula from The Longhorn Network; but definitely three teams short come July 1, 2012.
No matter what reform comes out of Thursday’s meeting, the Big 12 Titantic must get back on an even keel. The best way to do that would be to add three teams. Don’t keep it at nine teams and insist you can survive. Don’t add one team and deem it sufficient. Don’t add one team and promise to re-evaluate down the road. Add three teams, pronto, for the 2012-13 school year.
Conditions are ripe to pluck TCU, so do it. The school is 30 measly miles from the Big 12 office, closer than any existing member. Louisville and West Virginia are scrambling for a life raft, so throw them one. The Big 12′s ship might be listing, but the Big East has capsized and is about to go under.
BYU would be isolated in the Big 12, the only team in the mountain time zone, way up there in high altitude, just like Colorado, which couldn’t take it anymore and headed for the Pacific Ocean. BYU just claimed its major independence and created its own network. The school no doubt wants to prove these decisions were wise. Besides, the Big 12 already has experienced enough headaches with the Bevo Network and doesn’t need to invite another.
Adding TCU, Louisville and West Virginia would make the Big 12 simpatico again, not only in name but also in scheduling, which is crucial. The Big 12 could return to its six-team, North-South alignment and rekindle its football championship game, which has long been a money maker. Dallas Cowboys Stadium could host the Big 12 football championship. Kansas City could host the Big 12 basketball tournaments. Same sites as before, only with three new entries.
Replace Texas A&M with TCU and schedule accordingly against the opposite division — just like before. Pair Texas with Texas Tech, Oklahoma with Oklahoma State, Baylor with TCU, Kansas with Kansas State, Iowa State with Missouri and West Virginia with Louisville. Like a glove.
While other conferences freak out and form 16-team mega-conferences, the Big 12 can stabilize itself and show an even dozen is a far more manageable number.
The Big 12′s existing deal with ABC is up for renegotiation in the next two years, so there’s no time to waste. Make the Big 12 whole again. Twelve means 12. Enough squabbling. It’s time for the Big 12 to act, pronto.
One of these days, Hobart native Bill Hancock is going to take a low-pressure job and learn to relax. Luckily for college football, that won’t come anytime soon.
One of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, Hancock has been named the first-ever executive director of the Bowl Championship Series. The most volatile lightning rod in collegiate athletics now rests in the hands of a 1972 Oklahoma graduate who has no known enemies.
Hancock is so good at what he does, new positions continue to be created for him. Hancock initially caught the NCAA’s eye when he coordinated the Big Eight basketball tournament and the 1988 Final Four, both in Kansas City, Mo., the previous home of the NCAA.
The NCAA promptly made Hancock the first-ever director of the Division I men’s basketball tournament (the Final Four), and he helped make it the greatest sports spectacle on earth. Four years ago, Hancock became the first-ever BCS administrator, serving directly under the acting coordinator in day to-day operations. Now Hancock is executive director of college football’s non-tournament that seemingly everyone likes to criticize.
“This is so different for me because I came from the most popular college sports event in America to this,” Hancock said with a chuckle, “but I really think we can move the needle on the BCS. I think a lot of people’s frustration is they don’t understand it.
“When I was at the NCAA, I used to say, ‘I’ve got the greatest job in America.’ But when people asked if I could pick another job, I would always say, ‘I’d love to be the director of the football championship,’ never thinking it would happen. This is as close as it gets.”
Hancock’s promotion was announced by current BCS coordinator John Swofford, who will continue his role through the end of his term (Jan, 7, 2010).
The BCS coordinator position rotated among conference commissioners every two years, but Hancock said the demands became too great. “It became more work that the commissioner had time to do,” Hancock said. “Really, it was being run by volunteers. There was never anybody at the point, somebody who could say, ‘Here’s the problem, and this is why.’ ”
Hancock will manage the daily BCS operations, interact with bowl organizations and television rights holders and serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson. His promotion resulted from a recommendation of the BCS commissioners last month and was formally approved Monday. Hancock will report to the 11 conference commissioners and to the Notre Dame athletic director — the individuals who oversee the BCS operation.
Hancock is the father of former Oklahoma State media relations coordinator Will Hancock, who was among the 10 travel members killed on OSU’s return trip from a men’s basketball game in Colorado on Jan. 27, 2001.
Perhaps a miracle awaits either Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and one of them might somehow qualify for this year’s national title game.
The journey to reach that point commences when the first BCS standings are released on Oct. 18.
For pretty much this entire decade, OU fans have been engulfed in the BCS standings, with the Sooners making four national title game appearances in the last nine seasons. Cowboys fans were hoping this would be the year they could acquint themselves with the BCS process.
Bill Hancock, a native of Hobart, is head administrator for the BCS and sent a Cliff’sNotes’ version of the selection process. Should OU and OSU get on a roll in the upcoming weeks, local fans can follow the progress and the inner workings, which Hancock shares below:
With BCS Selection Sunday (Dec. 6) two months away, this week’s Bits topic is “How are the teams chosen for BCS games?”
The answer really is quite simple: some earn automatic berths, others are selected by the bowls. Basically there are four ways to qualify:
1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings qualify automatically.
2. The champions of six conferences have annual automatic berths.
3. Other teams can qualify automatically as follows:
A. The highest-ranked champion from the MAC, MWC, WAC, Sun Belt or C-USA qualifies if it finishes in the top 12; (or top 16 if ranked higher than the champion of a conference that has an automatic berth).
B. Notre Dame qualifies if it finishes in the top eight.
4. If spots remain after the above teams are slotted, a bowl can select any other team that finishes in the top 14, but no more than two teams from a conference can participate.
The ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC earned their automatic qualification by virtue of contracts with the host bowls and by meeting performance standards. As agreed by all 11 conferences, the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 regular seasons were evaluated using three criteria: rank of the highest-ranked team, rank of all conference teams and number of teams in the top 25. Those six met the standard.
The 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons will be evaluated to determine if a seventh conference achieves automatic qualification for the BCS games that will conclude the 2012 and 2013 seasons.