College College Football

Forget Ohio State! What About Oklahoma?

Last night Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators won the second BCS championship for the school in three years, bringing home a third straight BCS title to the SEC. The Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 with the leadership of Tim Tebow, who should run for President some day if you listened to all of the praise the Fox broadcast team delivered last night when it was not butchering the rest of the game.

Congratulations to Florida. Even though Utah is the only undefeated team in college football’s top level, the Gators are your national champions. Much was made about how the once relevant Associated Press poll could make a statement at the conclusion of BCS championship game by voting for another team at #1. Perhaps USC or Texas could gain enough votes for a split national title was the talk of the town. Utah made its statement but failed to gain enough support from the media to earn a so-called split national championship. Utah, you are MY national champion.

Now the time has come for me to put myself in the awkward position of defending Ohio State. What? Allow me to explain…

Ohio State’s image has been tarnished in a sense the past few years. With the Buckeyes coming up short in national championship games that many believe they should not have been involved in, the critics have jumped over the flaws of the program and those thoughts extend to the Big Ten conference. While the Big Ten is seen as a weak conference these days (that is hard to argue with a 1-6 record in 2008 season bowls) it is the high profile and wide exposure games that draw the most attention.

Ohio State fell flat on its face against LSU for a second straight BCS championship blow out loss last year.

Entering this bowl season, the Big Ten sent two teams to BCS games. Penn State was locked into the Rose Bowl where it faced the best fifth-ranked team in the history of college football. The Fiesta Bowl, clearly thinking of money before match-up, picked Ohio State to play against Texas.

Why do I believe money drove the decision? Because it did not take Boise State. Boise State lost its bowl game to Texas Christian, so in hind sight this may sound like a weak argument, but the Fiesta Bowl picked Ohio State because it knew that Ohio State fans travel and spend money.

Rather than taking a team that provided it with one of the best Fiesta Bowls in history (Boise State shocking Oklahoma, the bowl picked a team that would bring more fans and likely a higher television rating in the Buckeyes. Because of that the Big Ten sent teams to a higher bowl game than they probably should have slated for. When the conference only wins one bowl game out of seven the critics will have a field day.

Boise State beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, stunning Oklahoma with trick plays galore in one of the best Fiesta Bowl games to date. Not better than 1987 of course.

As a Penn State fan I could see that the Nittany Lions was punished for the sins of Ohio State’s past national exposure. Penn State entered the Rose Bowl with an identical record of Southern California and superior or even stats when compared to the Trojans in many categories. However, it was USC who was hypothetically playing to prove something to the nation. Nobody gave Penn State a chance from the start (except Lou Holtz – kiss of death) and USC was crowned co-national champions by halftime by Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit on ABC’s telecast, with games still to be played by Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Florida.

Texas, who was griping about not being in the Big 12 championship game, was supposed to come out and makeĀ  own statement. Entering the Fiesta Bowl many felt that Texas was probably a better team than Florida and Oklahoma (heck Texas was the team that BEAT Oklahoma!), but the Longhorns squeaked by Ohio State. Ohio State held its own, but ultimately came up short in the Fiesta Bowl, a game the school has actually had success in the past few years.

That’s right, Ohio State has won three Fiesta Bowls in the BCS era. In fact since the BCS started up the Buckeyes are 3-3 in BCS bowl games, including three appearances in the championship game. What about those Sooners?

USC dominated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in 2005 to capture the national championship.

How about 2-5 in BCS games? The Sooners get credit for winning one of those two games for a national championship (by beating Florida State 13-2 in the 2001 Orange Bowl) but they now have a five game losing streak in BCS games.

In 2004, the Sooners lost to Louisiana State in the Sugar Bowl.

In 2005, they lost to USC in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.

In 2007, they lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

In 2008, they lost to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl (pictured right).

Last night, they lost to Florida in the BCS Championship game.

Of course the critics will start talking about Bob Stoops and his failure in these big games, but when will Oklahoma take the same hit that Ohio State took? When will people realize that the Big 12 may not be as great as it was hyped during the regular season (foot in mouth statement seeing as the Big 12 beat the Big Ten in all three bowl match-ups this season)?

With Florida clinching a third straight BCS championship for the SEC we can all prepare for SEC this and SEC that leading into the 2009 college football season. It would be interesting to see how those SEC teams play up above the Mason-Dixon line sometime though. Full disclosure: I would love for Penn State to travel south of the Mason-Dixon Line as well (but Alabama has pushed back their meetings).

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