Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 4, 2012

OU fans should be outraged at the system, not Northern Illinois

Partisans will always expose themselves.

They’ll either tell you what their bias is in a direct way — like me when it comes to Class 6A football — making no bones about it, or they’ll say something like ESPN golden boy and college football guru Kirk Herbstreit said Sunday night in response to learning Northern Illinois would be playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

“I love MAC football. Don’t get me wrong,” Herbstreit said. “But to put them in the BCS is an absolute joke.”

Uh, Earth to Kirk? I don’t think you love MAC football.

But that was the chorus on ESPN Sunday night, and certainly in some quarters of the Sooner Nation. NIU kept Oklahoma out of the BCS and it’s an outrage, a miscarriage of justice, a black eye for Uncle Sam, etc, etc.

Did NIU keep OU out of the BCS? Well, sort of.

Lets review the rules. Bowl champions of the Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big East receive automatic bids. Also, no conference may be represented by more than two teams in the BCS. Also, any non-major conference champion that finishes as high as No. 16 in the final BCS standings receives an automatic bid. The Huskies topped Kent State — who everybody thought was the only threat to get into the top 16 — at the MAC championship game and came in No. 15.

For starters, Sooner fans should have no quarrel with NIU or even that part of the system that placed NIU in the BCS.

OU might have an issue with that part of the system that brought the Huskies in if it didn’t also allow bring in Big East champ Louisville and Big Ten champ Wisconsin, but the system allowed for the No. 21 Cardinals and the Badgers, who are not even in the BCS standings because it stops at 25 teams.

Consider the system.

There is a threshold that any non-major conference participant must reach. To play in any of four BCS bowls (the Fiesta, Sugar, Rose and Orange), the mid-major program must reach No. 16. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how bad you are if you luck into a major conference crown, you’re anyway.

On the one hand, NIU (or Kent, Boise State, Air Force, Tulsa, et al) must play up to the standard. But Wisconsin must meet no standard. What’s fair about that?

You say a major conference champ will always be one of the nation’s best teams? No it won’t.

Realignment has crushed he Big East, making it an also-ran conference. But the rules have not caught up to the reality, thus somebody among Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Pitt, Temple, UConn and South Florida — an eight-team league, can you imagine? — was going to the BCS no matter what. Alas, at least Louisville beat a reasonably good Rutgers team to get there and finished the regular season 10-2.

Not so the Badgers, who actually finished third in the Big Ten’s Leaders Division behind Ohio State and Penn State, going 7-5 and 4-4 in the conference. But because ex-Buckeye coach Jim Tressel turned out to be a liar and fraud and Penn State turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children, Wisconsin played Nebraska (10-2, 7-1 entering the game) in the conference title game and somehow crushed the Huskers 70-31.

Want to be mad?

Be mad at a system that should have found a way to tell the Big 10 it better hope the Huskers win the title game or the conference won’t get an appointment (of course, do that and Wisconsin has reason to throw the game, thereby not risking taking money out of the conference’s pocket; it is a conundrum).

Still, better than playing the game of what’s-the-worst-part-of-the-system is to recognize the need for the allowance that allowed NIU to make it. Because the bigger-injustice argument — NIU, Wisconsin or Louisville — is a false one. NIU making it is right, not wrong.

How many times was Boise State left out before it beat OU at the Fiesta Bowl? How often was it made clear that the national champ wasn’t really the champion of all hundred-some-odd FBS programs, but simply the champion of the combined rosters of the six major conferences?

The mid-majors were completely shut out. An avenue getting them into the system has to be in place. It legitimizes the entirety of the FBS and, more than that, it makes it fun.

I’ll probably watch the title game. I’ll probably watch the Fiesta Bowl, Kansas State and Oregon. I’ll skip the Rose. I might skip the Sugar. But I’ll sure as heck watch NIU meet Florida State at the Orange.

And when you think about it, just how exactly did OU get the short end of anything?

The BCS bowls are supposed to be the most important games of all, but they’re still a function of who’s playing in those games.

Well, to use Herbstreit’s word, it’s the Rose that’s the “joke.” Meanwhile, the Cotton will be played in front of almost 100,000 people in the nation’s best stadium, with OU facing a Texas A&M team that would be a sleeper pick to win it all if there was a playoff this season and the Aggies were in it.

The Sooners may not be the favorite at Jerry’s World, but the matchup is classic.

Win, and it matters.

That’s what’s important.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Lamons-main.jpg Tahlequah wrestler Hestin Lamons adds to memorable season with All-State triumph

    Hestin Lamons’ fitness regiment has been a grueling one this summer. It paid off in a big way at the All-State wrestling dual on Wednesday night.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Stocks