Forget what you read from sportswriters: the Sooners had clinched the Big 12 South division title Friday afternoon with Texas’s loss to Texas A&M, a victory that was not enough to save Dennis Franchione’s job.
The rules for breaking a Big 12 divisional tie are ambiguous at best (leave it to the Big 12 to write confusing rules intended to clarify a situation), but presuming the first tie-breaking step, “The records of the three teams will be compared against each other,” means that they’ll compare the overall records of all tied teams, that would have immediately dropped OSU from consideration (had the
Aggies Cowboys won yesterday, they would still have been 7-5, while both OU and Texas would be 9-3). By rule, that drops OSU from consideration, leaving a two-way tie between OU and Texas, which OU would win because OU won the Red River Rivalry in October.
If the rule really means that they’d compare the three teams’ records in playing each other, that would remain a tie (OU beat Texas, Texas beat OSU, and OSU would have theoretically beat OU or we wouldn’t be doing this exercise). It would then stay tied through the fourth tie-breaking rule, “The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish – 4, 5 and 6.” The fourth-place Big 12 South team (had OSU won yesterday) would have been Texas Tech. Texas and OSU both beat Texas Tech, but OU did not. By the same rule cited above, OU would then fall out of consideration, and Texas would win the tie-breaker with OSU. It would not have gotten as far as BCS rankings, the fifth tie-breaker, and no one who reads the tie-breaking procedure can possibly think it would have.
Fortunately, it didn’t matter: the Sooners defeated the Cowboys 49-17, returning to the form that had previously kept them in BCS National Championship consideration. The Pride was hot on a cold day as well, providing the home debut of the new bright red uniform coats as seen in the Macy’s Parade, and ending halftime by sharing the field with the Cowboy Marching Band in a Centennial-inspired rendition of Dr. Roland Barrett’s arrangement of the state song from 1989 (for OU’s centennial), You’re Doin’ Fine. (The OSU band also, wittingly or not, paid a little tribute to The Pride by opening with Roland’s 2000 arrangement of Luck Be A Lady, written and performed during Coach’s final season.)
NBC really did love feature twirler Meredith Sigler—we learned this weekend that the network’s TV coverage people moved her to the position in front of the drumline, which was not the position in which she practiced, so they could feature her more prominently. There’s really no question why, either: during the concert feature of Mambo from West Side Story, Meredith wowed the crowd from the north end zone by flawlessly twirling three batons that were each on fire at both ends. FSN may yet regret not showing halftime performances. Meredith repeated the feat during the post-game concert. It’s easy to see why she’s going for her third world twirling championship in 2008—good luck, Meredith!
The Sooners now travel to San Antonio for next week’s Big 12 Championship, kicking off at 7:10 PM from the Alamo Dome on ABC-TV in high definition. This will likely be the toughest game the Sooners have faced in years: their opponent, the Big 12 North champion Missouri Tigers, already played OU hard this year in Norman and came up short. Many of you will remember this, since it was Homecoming 2007.
OU is Missouri’s only loss this year, and with the victory over previously undefeated Kansas and LSU’s second loss on Friday, Missouri will be at least #2 in this week’s BCS rankings, and may be #1 (West Virginia will hold the slot that Missouri does not). Plus, for better or worse, the Sooners have not done well on the road this season.
If OU wins the Big 12 championship, the Sooners are in a BCS bowl—most likely the Fiesta Bowl, where the Big 12 Champion goes by default, but other bowls are possible, especially if Ohio State somehow makes it into the championship game. If the Sooners lose, the team may fall out of BCS at-large consideration. On the other hand, if Missouri wins their first-ever Big 12 championship, they will play for the National Championship. By the media’s rules, even though the Sooners are playing for a BCS berth, OU will be cast as the “spoiler” to Missouri’s national championship hopes.
There may be an opportunity to support The Pride at a public rehearsal in San Antonio on Saturday, December 1; we’ll update our Events calendar if such information becomes available. We’ve made the Macy’s Parade coverage into its own page so you can find the video more easily, too. The post-season destination is on the line Saturday night, and The Pride will do its best to boost the Sooners into the BCS. Cheer like a champion!