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.
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.
STILLWATER — Think Missouri State and you think of basketball, which is not a good thing during football season.
The institution formerly known as Southwest Missouri State is where Jackie Stiles became national player of the year, and it’s where Charlie Spoonhour and Steve Alford coached before advancing in their careers. Oklahoma native Barry Hinson also stormed the sidelines as the Bears’ coach before being fired last spring.
A 1983 OSU grad, Hinson attended last week’s game between the Cowboys and Houston at Boone Pickens Stadium. He and wife Angie will not be at Saturday night’s game, however.
“I’m still a Missouri State guy, but we’d be wearing orange for that game, and we thought that might get somebody upset,” said Hinson, who plans to return to Stillwater for the Oct. 4 contest against Texas A&M.
Born in Marlow, Hinson began his coaching career at Stillwater Junior High. From there, he was an assistant at Stillwater and Edmond Memorial, head coach at Tulsa’s Bishop Kelley, an assistant at Oral Roberts and then served as head coach at ORU and Missouri State.
As soon as Hinson sells his house in Springfield, he plans to move back to Tulsa. This coming basketball season, he hopes to land a job as a television color commentator.
“I’ll do dog races in Anchorage, Alaska. I don’t care,” Hinson said.
Missouri State football is led by former Kansas coach Terry Allen (1997-2001), who is in his fourth year in Springfield. Hinson and Allen spent the past three years together.
“I absolutely love him,” Hinson said. “He’s one of the most positive, energetic guys I know. I really like him.”
The Bears are coming off a shocking 35-27 loss to Division II Washburn (Kan.) on Sept. 4.
“The game hit him in the gut,” Hinson said of Allen. “It was really hard to listen to that game on the radio. Terry is so limited in what he can do. They have no budget to speak of, but if that school can ever make it football-wise, I think he’s the guy to do it. If they give him some revenue and leave him alone, I think they’ll be OK.”
The greater Springfield area is hardly a prep football hotbed.
Glendale went 7-4 last season, but the other four local public high schools — Central, Parkview, Kickapoo and Hillcrest — went a combined 3-37 in 2007.
“We don’t have any quarterbacks up here, but we’ve got guys who can fish like you’ve never seen,” Hinson deadpanned. “We’re raising kids around here for the Pro Bass circuit, not football.”
No one can accuse Oklahoma State officials of padding their attendance figures Saturday night.
An announced crowd of 45,001 was on hand at Boone Pickens Stadium for the Cowboys’ home opener against Houston.
That means there were 14,999 empty seats in the stadium’s new 60,000-seat configuration.
The low attendance total surprised most media members, who estimated the crowd to be at least 50,000.
Official attendance of Saturday night’s game between Oklahoma State and Houston won’t be known until the fourth quarter, but it has the makings of the largest crowd in school history.
The biggest OSU home crowd is 51,458, which gathered in 1979 when Oklahoma visited Stillwater. Tonight’s crowd inside the new 60,000-seat facility appears to have fewer than 8,000 empty seats, although there are several sections where fans are spread pretty thin.
The new west end zone is far more occupied than anticipated. Earlier in the week, one school official estimated the crowd would be around 45,000, but walkup traffic was busier than expected.
The score is 7-7 after the first quarter and it remains to be seen if the Cowboys will protect their home field. They’ve already surrendered 124 yards to the Cougars.
If OSU ends up stumbling, it won’t be due to a lack of support in the stands.
As soon as the official attendance figure is announced, we will send a blog.
Oklahoma State leads Washington State 15-0 at halftime in Seattle. Some early thoughts:
- Between receiving, kick returns and (hopefully) some occasional rushing attempts, OSU sophomore receiver Dez Bryant needs to touch the ball 15-20 times a game. This won’t be Bryant’s last game on Qwest Field. He’ll play here on Sundays sometime after his junior season.
- Mike Gundy’s first half of play-calling was so-so at best (22 rushes; 18 passes). He’s done a lousy job utilizing All-American tight end candidate Brandon Pettigrew, who has four catches for 21 yards. Pettigrew has been used only for dink passes. Send the kid downfield.
- Kendall Hunter looks terrific (63 yards on 14 carries). OSU’s reputation as Tailback U. is in good hands.
- You’d think a game between two no-huddle teams would have some rhythm do it, a fast-pace feel. Not this game.
- After a safety, a team can either punt or kick off from its own 20-yard line. WSU opted to kickoff. I can’t remember the last time I saw a team not punt after a safety. The reason was obvious. Punter Daniel Wagner punts like Dave Winfield used to hit — nothing but line drives.
Living on the West Coast has its advantages. Getting an early start to sporting events definitely is one of them.
ESPN’s College Football GameDay begins at 8 a.m. out here, which helped whet the appetite for today’s Oklahoma State-Washington State contest, which starts at 12:30 locally.
The WSU school flag, one of the staples in the GameDay crowd shot every week, was being waved proudly in the backdrop, drawing even more attention to the OSU-WSU opener.
More exposure came when commentator Lee Corso picked the Cougars over the Cowboys as his upset special. Corso ranted he liked WSU’s chances because the game was in Pullman, where the Cougars won four of five home games last season (they actually won three of five).
Trouble is, this game is being held on Qwest Field in Seattle. Classy guys they are, GameDay partners Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit didn’t publicly correct Corso, saving him further embarrassment.
(If Corso picks Oklahoma to beat Texas in Dallas later this season, let’s hope it won’t be because the Sooners are unbeaten in Norman since September 2005.)
Speaking of Qwest Field, it’s an impressive stadium, and should be, considering the project cost roughly $425 million. Across the street is $518 million Safeco Field, home of the Mariners. These are two big reasons the metro area balked at a proposed $500 million arena project that would have kept the SuperSonics in town.
By the way, I have yet to hear the word “Sonics” uttered by anyone locally since arriving in town.
Safeco has a retractable roof. Qwest doesn’t, but looks like it does. This begs a question: Why design a stadium that looks like it has a retractable roof when it doesn’t? The reason: The partially covered stands on each side of the stadium help prevent the crowd noise from escaping.