Fort Worth column praises OU, slams Texas / Mack argument - FWST
Human element is a bug in BCS system
By GIL LeBRETON
In the eternal struggle of man versus machine, man failed miserably Sunday.
Thatís not to say that the right team wonít be playing in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday. The Oklahoma Sooners argued their case eloquently.
They said nothing.
No rented planes circling over Austin. No phone-ins from Bob Stoops in the middle of Mack Brownís Thanksgiving dinner.
Just football. Just a 61-41 victory in hostile environs over a No. 11-ranked archrival.
The Soonersí decisive win Saturday over Oklahoma State was as significant a road victory as any team in the Big 12 Conference achieved this season.
Thereís your tiebreaker.
As myopic Texas fans ó and their head coach ó conveniently decline to acknowledge, there was a three-way knot, not a two-team tie, atop the Big 12 South standings.
Why should a single game played Oct. 11 decide everything? Why not a game played Nov. 1?
Yet, over and over again over the past two weeks, Brown had filibustered for voters not to forget his Texas teamís October victory over the Sooners.
Never mind, he seemed to say, that just one week ago Oklahoma took apart a then-undefeated, No. 2-ranked Texas Tech team by 44 points ó the same Tech team that beat Texas on Nov. 1.
Never mind that the Soonersí season ledger included nonconference victories over TCU and BCS-bowl-bound Cincinnati.
Longhorns fans countered by trumpeting their Oct. 18 ó what is it about October? ó win over the Missouri Tigers.
Oh, right. The most overhyped team in the Country.
In the end, what could Brown have done for me?
He could have just shut up and allowed his teamís memorable 11-1 season do the talking for all of Longhorns, Inc.
Instead, Brown began to show up on TV more than that Geico lizard. The poor-taste clincher came Saturday night when he agreed to be interviewed in the middle of the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State telecast.
Why didnít Oklahoma do that, Stoops was asked Sunday?
"I was asked to be on the Texas game Thursday," the OU coach said, "and I said no. I didnít want to do it. I didnít think it was right."
Stay classy, Austin, Stoops was saying, without mentioning any names.
But as Stoops and the Sooners saw, Brownís politicking for his team worked. The Longhorns gained ground in both of the human polls.
Go figure. Texas, playing at home, defeated a vastly disappointing Texas A&M team 49-9 in a game that Colt McCoy was still quarterbacking in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, playing on the road, knocked off the No. 11 team in the nation ó and yet lost ground in the human polls to the Texas poor-us campaign.
"It was the campaigning. I donít think thereís any question," said Jerry Palm, whose CollegeBCS.com Web site is the bible for all things BCS.
For all the whining, in other words, about computers and formulas and BCS rules, the human element continues to be the bug in the equation. The same thing happened in 2004 when writers and coaches, after Brown again had politicked all week, leapfrogged Texas over Cal in the final poll and sent the Longhorns to the Rose Bowl.
Everyone seems to complain about the so-called "BCS computers," but as Stoops said, "They donít have agendas. They donít have loyalties. They donít have opinions. They donít have all the bias that everyone else does.
"And if you say no one else does, I donít think youíre being truthful."
When the numbers were finally added, Stoops thinks that the strength of Oklahomaís schedule likely was the determining factor that will send his team to Kansas City next weekend.
Itís probably not going to make TCU feel any better, but the Horned Frogs might well have sent the Sooners to the national championship game.
"For people to continue to want to play out-of-conference games that people want to watch and go to and be excited about," Stoops said, "there has to be an incentive. Otherwise, just schedule four wins and move on down the road. You could almost schedule a bowl game by that."
If Texas wants to blame anyone today, it needs to blame the guy that scheduled Florida Atlantic, UTEP, Arkansas and Rice. Similar cream-puff scheduling cost undefeated Auburn a title game shot in 2004.
This time, fortunately, the six BCS formula computers cut through the rhetoric.
They judged the football, not the filibuster. And Oklahoma came out the winner in more ways than one.