By virtue of being ranked the highest in this week’s BCS Standings, a system designed to determine the number one and number two teams in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners will play in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game by winning a three-way tie in the Big 12 South over Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. But should they?
The Sooners lost to both Missouri and Texas A&M, and yet are ranked well ahead of each of them. The Tigers and Sooners have identical 10-2 records, while the Aggies’ other loss came in a non-conference neutral site game in Arlington against Arkansas by a touchdown, a team likely headed to the Sugar Bowl.
We shouldn’t be surprised Oklahoma emerged as the highest ranked team because, well, we’ve seen the Sooners get the benefit of the doubt in controversial situations in the past.
In 2008, despite a head-to-head loss to Texas, Oklahoma went to the Big 12 Championship Game -- and eventually the BCS Championship Game -- after winning a three-way tie in the Big 12 South between themselves, Texas and Texas Tech. Tech beat the Longhorns in the final seconds in Lubbock on Michael Crabtree’s memorable catch, then were blown out in Norman. Texas’ 45-35 win over then-No.1 Oklahoma didn’t seem to matter anymore.
In 2004, Oklahoma also won a battle for No. 2 in the BCS Standings over an undefeated SEC Champion Auburn. The Sooners began that year No. 2 and the Tigers 17th. Despite only one other Big 12 team being ranked in the top 20 (Texas) -- the SEC had four others besides Auburn in the final regular season poll -- Auburn never went by Oklahoma and the Tigers went to the Sugar Bowl where they beat Virginia Tech. Oklahoma would go the BCS Title Game and lose 55-19 to USC. The Sooners going over an SEC Champion was odd given that
One year earlier, Oklahoma was given the biggest gift of all. Despite being blown out 35-7 by Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game and being ranked No. 3 in the polls, the Sooners went to the BCS title game over Pac-10 Champion USC, which was No. 1 in the AP Poll. The Big 12 runner-up Sooners lost to SEC Champion LSU in the Sugar Bowl and we finished the season with split national champions.