- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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The ’99 Nebraska team coasted past ’98 Wildcats on Wednesday in a showdown of former Big 12 North rivals with 67 percent of the vote in our Big 12 BCS-era 16-team playoff (you can see all the results so far here).
In the final matchup of the first round, Kansas State will attempt to pull off a massive upset and send its first team to the second round as the ’12 Wildcats meet ’00 Oklahoma. Again, polls will be open until 10 p.m. CT Thursday.
Final ranking: No. 1
Top player: QB Josh Heupel
Consensus All-America: Heupel, LB Rocky Calmus
First-Team All-Big 12: Heupel, Calmus, DT Ryan Fisher, S Roy Williams, S J.T. Thatcher
Best wins: No. 11 Texas (63-14); at No. 2 Kansas State (41-31); No. 1 Nebraska (31-14); at No. 23 Texas A&M (35-31); No. 8 Kansas State (27-24, Big 12 Championship); No. 3 Florida State (13-2, national championship)
Why they should advance: The ’00 Sooners might not have been Bob Stoops’ most talented Oklahoma team. But they were certainly his most clutch.
During “Red October,” in one of the most impressive three-game runs of the BCS era, Oklahoma took down No. 11, No. 2 and No. 1, sending a message that the Sooners were finally back after a decade of dormancy.
They capped their magical run with one of the all-time great defensive performances in college football history, shutting out Florida State’s high-powered offense in the Orange Bowl to pull off the national championship upset.
Final ranking: No. 12
Top player: QB Collin Klein
Consensus All-America: None
Best wins: at No. 6 Oklahoma (24-19); at No. 17 West Virginia (55-14); No. 15 Texas Tech (55-24); No. 23 Texas (42-24)
Losses: at Baylor (52-24); No. 5 Oregon (35-17, Fiesta Bowl)
Why they should advance: Like with Oklahoma, this wasn’t Bill Snyder’s most talented team either. But it was a team that maximized its talent with smart play and sure tackling.
The ’12 Wildcats finished second in the country in turnover margin and fifth in fewest penalty yardage. Klein and Brown were anchors, sweeping Big 12 player of the year honors.
This team was tough to beat because it pretty much never beat itself.
Who I would vote for: '12 Kansas State actually resembled the ’00 Sooners. That Oklahoma team wasn’t overflowing with talent, but won games with hungry, hardnosed players who were clutch when the game was on the line. Like Oklahoma in 2000, K-State came out of nowhere to win the 2012 Big 12 title with a team full of grinders. But those Wildcats eventually ran out of gas in November, while the Oklahoma train kept rolling all the way through Florida State for the school’s seventh national championship. The ’12 Wildcats had heart. But the ’00 Sooners should move on.
13hDavid M. Hale
2dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter