Texas tiebreak sends Oklahoma to Big 12 title game Print
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Sunday, 30 November 2008 23:12
NCAAF Headline News

 NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -Bob Stoops woke up with a knot in his stomach, worried what the BCS had in store for his Oklahoma football team.
When the knot and the Big 12 South untied themselves, he and his Sooners were bound for the conference championship game - and maybe the BCS title game, too - and rival Texas was left with that nasty feeling inside.
Oklahoma edged out the Longhorns by 13 thousandths of a point for second place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday, meaning the Sooners will get to face No. 19 Missouri for a chance at their third straight conference title and most likely a shot at the national championship if they win.
But after the craziness that the last week brought - with airplanes towing banners, Web sites touting each of the Red River rivals and all the campaigning of a presidential race - Stoops isn't comfortable even believing that.
``I'm not convinced of anything anymore,'' Stoops said.
s (11-1, 7-1) beat then-No. 12 Oklahoma State 61-41 Saturday night in the Bedlam rivalry game. That made only one thing certain: Some deserving team was going to wind up on the short end of the BCS' latest controversy. This time it didn't even take until the final standings come out next week.
A three-way tie had to be broken to determine whether Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech would represent the South division in the conference title game, and it came down to the fifth tiebreaker: the BCS.
Oklahoma finished a single point ahead of Texas in the USA Today coaches' poll and six points behind the Longhorns in the Harris Poll. That left it to the computer ratings, and the Sooners came out on top in four of the six.
As it turned out, the only element of the BCS system that couldn't be swayed by the campaigning made all the difference.
Texas made up ground in both polls after fans handed out signs and created a Web site based around the winning score from the Longhorns' 45-35 win against Oklahoma in October. A plane was even hired to fly over the Bedlam game with a banner serving as a reminder.
While Texas coach Mack Brown campaigned even on the air during ABC's telecast of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game, Stoops declined to do the same two days earlier and tried to keep away from all the politicking.
e that's appropriate and then there isn't. I hope I hung around the appropriate area and didn't overdo anything. When I'm asked a question, I stated it. Just trying to do it the right way and have some principle in what we're doing.
``And I'm not saying anyone else didn't. That's just how I tried to do it.''
Stoops learned of the BCS standings while watching TV in the locker room with a few players and then had a news conference to talk about what happened. Brown issued a statement calling the situation unfair and suggesting that the Big 12 change it's tiebreaker procedure to match that of four other conferences, including the SEC and ACC.
``I'm really disappointed for our kids that two teams we beat this season will be playing for the Big 12 Championship,'' Brown said. ``I'll try to explain it to them, but most importantly, my message will be that you've done enough to put yourself in position to play for the conference championship, you had a great season and there still is a lot out there for you to play for.''
Texas could still have a chance to play for the national title if Oklahoma loses to Missouri, or it could be fifth-place Southern Cal that would jump up in that scenario. Alabama is in first and Florida is fourth, and those teams meet in an SEC title game that's essentially a playoff to get to the BCS championship game.
tic director, Joe Castiglione, hedged and said now isn't the time for that discussion.
``We may love the rules, we may be challenged by the rules, we may disagree with the rules. It's part of what makes this sport so interesting,'' Castiglione said. ``Yet we have agreed to play by the rules, and that's what we all voted for and that's how we've approached whatever was in front of us. That's all we can do.''
Both were glad that the Sooners apparently benefited in the computer rankings because of a nonconference schedule that featured two teams that wound up highly rated in the BCS standings - TCU in 11th and Cincinnati in 13th.
``In the end, I can't equate what all transpired and how much of an influence it had, but it had an influence,'' Stoops said. ``And I think for people to continue to want to play out-of-conference games that people want to watch and go to and be excited about, there has to be an incentive to do it. Otherwise, heck, just schedule four wins and move on down the road.''
For the Sooners it was a repeat of 2004, when strength of schedule helped them edge out undefeated Auburn for a chance to play USC in the Orange Bowl.
Once again, the BCS left a lot of people complaining - but not Oklahoma.
rent kind of debate and they've forgot about the other debates and we end up back here questioning the system once again,'' Castiglione said.
``When everybody steps back two or three months after the bowl season is over and takes a deep breath, they tend to lean on the system we have in place.''

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