Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Playoff: '11 Oklahoma St. vs. '03 Oklahoma
By Jake Trotter
Well, Ohio has done it again.
Just like in 2011, when Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis (of all people) won the Madden cover vote, Ohio has mucked up the voting in our Big 12 BCS-era 16-team playoff bracket.
A thorough investigation revealed that all 2,930 votes -- 99 percent of which went to ’07 Missouri -- out of Ohio in Monday’s poll were in fact legitimate (no hacking), leaving us no choice but to advance ’07 Missouri past ’05 Texas in a stunning opening-round result. Thanks to their friends in the Buckeye State, the Tigers snagged 53 percent of the vote against one of the greatest teams to grace college football’s BCS era.
Even former Texas coach Mack Brown was perplexed by what transpired:
At least Brown still has two formidable Texas squads (2009 and 2008) left in the bracket.
And it will be up to the winner of today’s matchup between ’11 Oklahoma State and ’03 Oklahoma to stop ’07 Missouri and the mad men of Ohio in the next round.
Again, the voting will be open until 10 p.m. Central time tonight. And as the first game revealed, no vote can be taken for granted.
To today's matchup:
No. 8 seed: ’11 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Final ranking: No. 3
Top player: WR Justin Blackmon
Consensus All-Americans: Blackmon, OT Levy Adcock
First-Team All-Big 12: Blackmon, Adcock, C Grant Garner, DE Jamie Blatnick, CB Brodrick Brown, S Markelle Martin, K/P Quinn Sharp
Second-Team All-Big 12: QB Brandon Weeden, RB Joseph Randle, FB Kye Staley, WR Josh Cooper
Best wins: at No. 8 Texas A&M (30-29); at No. 22 Texas (38-26); Baylor (59-24); No. 14 Kansas State (52-45); No. 14 Oklahoma (44-10); No. 4 Stanford (41-38)
Losses: at Iowa State (37-31)
Why they should advance: As part of the best team in school history, the ’11 Cowboys featured the most lethal offense in the country. Weeden became Oklahoma State’s first-ever all-conference quarterback and finished second in the country in passing. Blackmon became just the second two-time Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s best receiver. And the offensive line was equally outstanding protecting Weeden as it was paving lanes for Randle. But the Cowboys weren’t all offense. An opportunistic defense also led the nation with 44 forced turnovers. Because of its offensive balance, Oklahoma State could have put up points on just about any defense -- and that includes the star-studded ’03 Sooners.
No. 9 seed: ’03 Oklahoma Sooners
Final ranking: No. 3
Top player: QB Jason White
Consensus All-America: White, DT Tommie Harris, LB Teddy Lehman, CB Derrick Strait, KR Antonio Perkins
First-Team All-Big 12: White, Harris, Lehman, Strait, Perkins, WR Mark Clayton, OT Jammal Brown, C Vince Carter, DE Dan Cody, DT Dusty Dvoracek
Second-Team All-Big 12: S Brodney Pool
Best wins: at Alabama (20-13); No. 5 Texas (65-13); No. 22 Oklahoma State (52-9)
Losses: No. 10 Kansas State (35-7, Big 12 championship); No. 2 LSU (21-14, national championship)
Why they should advance: The ’03 Sooners might have strung together the most dominant regular season in Big 12 history. Oklahoma defeated its conference regular-season opponents by an average of 40 points per game. Oklahoma’s defense featured three consensus All-Americans, its special teams had the best returner in the country and a Heisman Trophy winner quarterbacked its offense. That is special.
Who I would vote for
The ’03 Sooners had star players and that superb regular season. But the wheels fell off at the end of the year in the Big 12 championship. Because it failed to win its own conference, Oklahoma didn’t deserve to play for the national championship, and lost in that game anyway.
On the other side, I’m still not convinced the Cowboys weren’t the best team in the country in 2011. Despite Oklahoma State having the more impressive resume (that’s right, I said it), the BCS sent Alabama to the title game over the Cowboys, only because OSU lost in double overtime at Iowa State the day after another plane crash rocked the university.
We’ll never know how Oklahoma State would have matched up against LSU, which, by the way, laid a complete egg against the Crimson Tide in the national title game. But we know how the Sooners fared against LSU eight years earlier in New Orleans.
There’s a lot to like about both these Bedlam teams. But I’d give the slight nod to Oklahoma State because of its wire-to-wire consistency.
Who the winner plays in Round 2: (16 seed) ’07 Missouri Tigers
Coming up Wednesday: (4 seed) 2008 Oklahoma vs. (13 seed) 2007 West Virginia