November 30, 2008
Oklahoma 61, Oklahoma State 41. The sheer number of points is a little surprising, but considering the expectations against a top-15 team, a high-scoring, double-digit win is about what we expected from Oklahoma. I don't think anything has changed about what anyone knows or thinks about the Sooners overall, other than the addition of another strong win to their resumé.
In-depth parsing of the relative merits of Texas and Oklahoma will follow in the a.m., but a few immediate thoughts on the heels of OU's final argument tonight:
1. It's a three-way tie, not two, among teams that finished 1-1 against each other. If the BCS is the standard -- that's the Big 12's decision, not mine -- then each team has to be judged on its entire body of work. That's 12 games, not two, and any argument should account for all of them.
2. I'm still not sure Texas is better off with Oklahoma's win, unless the Sooners go on to lose the Big 12 Championship. It's academic now, but the Longhorns probably had a better chance of holding on to the No. 2 spot in the BCS if Oklahoma State had won and Texas Tech advanced to the conference title game; despite the head-to-head thing -- which Longhorn partisans could conveniently forget if the argument was suddenly turned on them in a two-way competition with Tech, I'm sure -- the Raiders are too far back in the BCS to make a run at Texas, even as conference champion. And if they can't be bounced from No. 2, why would the Horns want the risk of a loss? Nebraska in '96, Kansas State in '98, Oklahoma in 2003 and Missouri last year all lost certain mythical championship bids by losing as a big favorite (Missouri excepted) in the Big 12 Championship. Now Texas is forced to either beat Missouri if it gets the nod or root for like mad for the Tigers against OU, instead of sitting comfortably at home with an unassailable lead in the polls.
3. Oklahoma has scored 60 points on four straight opponents, two of them (Texas Tech and Oklahoma State) ranked in the top 15 and another (Nebraska) that finished with eight wins. The Sooners scored on eight straight possessions against Oklahoma State, seven straight possessions against Texas Tech, 8 of 11 against Texas A&M, and 9 of 11 against Nebraska. OU is basically mediocre on defense and from another planet on offense; they're scoring touchdowns almost 80 percent of the time and been virtually impossible to stop over the last month.
4. Texas' pass defense has left something to be desired, but beginning with Oklahoma, the Longhorns have held its last seven opponents at least a touchdown below their season average in points.
5. One of these teams is getting screwed. Whatever method you use to separate them is only because of an extremely flawed system that forces inscrutable parsing of equally deserving teams that have no business being excluded in favor of the other. This extends to USC, Penn State, Texas Tech and Utah. The necessity of this argument is very stupid.
But we have no choice. More in the morning, when I try to determine whether the Horns or Sooners should unfairly screwed by this foolishness.