It's been a fun season. We had some surprise teams (Rutgers, Wake Forest, Central Michigan), some disappointments (Miami, Penn State) and even a mid-major make a BCS bowl (Boise State). One final time this week, we cleanup the championship action in college football.
Let’s say that this Big XII Championship had a little less drama associated with it than it has recently. It might be the renewal of an old rivalry in Nebraska and Oklahoma, but this game didn’t have the stakes of the last few contests.
2003 – Oklahoma was the leader all season and lost(!) the game yet still went to the BCS championship game. And then they lost to LSU, causing the only split champion under the BCS system.
2004 – Oklahoma again had to put their unblemished record on the line for a chance at the BCS title game. A win got them a chance to be blown out by USC.
2005 – Texas had to roll through this game on their way to the national title.
So, far be it for this game to attract a lot of attention when the national title isn’t on the line. All that was at risk was the “Boise State Challenge Cup.” The winner’s greatest victory was getting a chance to play the upstart Broncos in the Fiesta Bowl in January. Well, that and a great deal of cash.
Oklahoma, who the football gods apparently had a grudge against earlier in the season, managed to overcome adversity to get to the game. They lost what they thought was their opening day quarterback. Their best running back broke is collar bone. They lost a controversial game at Oregon because of obvious replay issues. They needed two losses by South division leader Texas in order to pass them. And yet, Oklahoma kept on running, earning their berth in Kansas City.
Come Saturday, the Sooners took all that adversity and changed it to a positive, winning 21-7 over Nebraska.
The Sooners had to rely on the throwing arm of Paul Thompson more than at any time this season in order to win the game. While Nebraska shut down the running game, holding Oklahoma to only 42 yards, they attacked through the air.