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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Oklahoma hoping for voters amnesia

Sunday, November 23, 2008

By RALPH D. RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

Oklahoma tries to give poll voters amnesia. What loss to Texas? The Atlantic Coast Conference can't give away a trip to Florida and a Heisman Trophy contender hides in the heartland.

Two weeks before the Bowl Championship Series matchups are set and the number of absurd possible outcomes are nearly too many to count.

The Big Story

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops summed up the problem perfectly.

"The logic of whether to put us in front of Texas? If you can't do that because they beat us, then you've got to keep Texas Tech in front of Texas. What's logical for one is logical for the other," Stoops said after Oklahoma's 65-21 victory against Texas Tech on Saturday night.

Coach, you should know by now that logic and the BCS only occasionally cross paths.

The BCS standings came out Sunday and Texas was in second place, slightly ahead of Oklahoma. But the Sooners are poised to pass the Longhorns.

Here's the craziness that's about to go down:

If the Big 12 South finishes in a three-way tie between Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the team rated best in the BCS standings goes to the conference title game to play Missouri.

Which is why Stoops, after his team's impressive-in-every-away victory, was still talking about the Sooners' 45-35 loss to the Longhorns a month and a half ago.

The Sooners need more voters in the coaches' poll -- both Mack Brown of Texas and Mike Leach of Texas Tech have votes -- and Harris poll to forget about what happened in the Red River Rivalry and put Oklahoma ahead of Texas.

The Big 12 South's Big 3 all have games left. Oklahoma has the toughest draw: at Oklahoma State. And that's a good thing for the Sooners.

Another impressive win against a quality opponent could turn that Texas loss into a speck in the rearview mirror and push Oklahoma into that coveted second spot behind Alabama.

But wait, it gets better.

If Oklahoma State upsets Oklahoma, and Texas Tech beats Baylor at home (lock) and Texas beats Texas A&M in Austin (lock), the Red Raiders are off to Kansas City, Mo., for the Big 12 title game on Dec. 6.

But it'd take one of those memory-erasing, flashing sticks from "Men in Black" for voters to forget the beating Texas Tech took in Norman. The Big 12 title is probably the only one for which the Red Raiders are still in the running.

Texas could be home watching its conference title game and still be in position to play for a national title. The BCS doesn't require teams have a conference championship to play for the national championship.

Sounds like a good scenario for the Longhorns, except that poll voters in recent years have essentially implemented a no-teams-without-league-titles rule on their own.

Last year Georgia, which didn't reach the Southeastern Conference title game, appeared to be in line to play for the national championship but got jumped by LSU, which won the SEC.

Michigan was in position for a rematch with Big Ten champ Ohio State in 2006, but voters picked SEC champ Florida to play the Buckeyes for the national title.

Taking that history into account, Oklahoma State could eliminate both Oklahoma and Texas from national title contention next week by upsetting the Sooners.

So should the Longhorns be rooting for or against the Cowboys? Probably for. But what Texas really needs is for Baylor to pull a Stanford-over-USC-type stunner in Lubbock.

Two more things:

--If Alabama and Florida get through this week unbeaten, and the Gators defeat the Crimson Tide in a classic SEC title game on Dec. 6, the Tide will be 12-1, and screaming for a rematch in Miami on Jan. 8.

--Southern California's road to the BCS national championship game: win out and have either A) Oklahoma State and/or Missouri blow up the Big 12 South contenders or B) Florida State beat Florida, then Florida beats Alabama.

The BCS means never being able to give a straight answer.

No thanks, you take it

Instead of a championship game in Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 6, maybe the ACC can get all 12 members together for a high school-style jamboree, where the teams match up for a quarter or two.

While the ACC has been loads of fun, none of these teams is really worthy of being crowned champion.

Last weekend started with Miami and Maryland in control of the divisional races. The Hurricanes and Terps lost by a combined 78-26.

Now Boston College can win the Atlantic Division by beating Maryland on Saturday and Virginia Tech can take the Coastal by beating Virginia.

It's possible two 8-4 teams could play in the league title game.

New quarterbacks, new coaches and a plethora of underclassmen playing prominent roles have led to the unpredictability.

The good news is the future looks bright.

Heisman-worthy

Shonn Greene of Iowa, the nation's second-leading rusher, ran for 144 and two TDs on 22 carries in the Hawkeyes' 55-0 win against Minnesota. Greene set an Iowa single-season record with 1,729 yards. He hasn't gotten much Heisman publicity, probably because he spent last football season working for a furniture store, but he'd be a worthy finalist.

Quick hits

--Houston Nutt deserves kudos for leading Mississippi to its best season since Eli Manning took the Rebels to the Cotton Bowl in 2004, but it should be noted former coach Ed Orgeron left Ole Miss well-stocked.

--Ohio State chances to reach the BCS are probably tied to Oregon State. If the Beavers win the Pac-10's automatic bid to the Rose Bowl, USC -- likely to finish 11-1 -- would be a lock to get an at-large bid. That leaves no room for the Buckeyes.

Lookahead

The big game in Stillwater, Okla., we've already covered, and there are lots more games with conference title and BCS implications.

The key for fans will be having enough Thanksgiving leftovers to get you through Saturday night.


Ralph D. Russo covers college football for The Associated Press. Write to him at rrusso(at)ap.org.



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