According to the Chinese calendar, 2007 is the Year of the Pig. Who isn't excited about this? Not that there was anything wrong with 2006, the Year of the Dog, but we are talking about a Pig.
Let's celebrate the occasion by wallowing around in the Fiesta Bowl's glory. Oklahoma is saddled with a gargantuan task. A loss to the Boise State Broncos would devastate the current college football landscape.
Set aside for a minute the damage to OU's psyche and confidence. The BCS would be thrown into shambles yet again. The WAC champions hold a 12-0 record. The only other undefeated team is the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The difference is that Ohio State has a berth in the national championship game on the strength of their wins. The Broncos get a trip to Arizona's state-of-the-art stadium for their troubles.
I haven't heard a member of the Sooner faithful not brag about wiping the field with the Broncos beaten corpses. However, Vegas experts seem to disagree. The Sooners are favored by a mere 7.5 points right now.
There are 10 bowls with equal or higher point spreads going into the postseason festivities. All of this just points to the simple fact that OU really doesn't have much to gain.
You need another reason to make fun of the BCS? Oklahoma will receive a $17 million payout for its trip to Tempe. The Boise St Broncos will get a substantially less amount totaling $9 million.
Granted the universities cannot keep the grand total but the disparity between the have's and have not's continues to rear its ugly head. In case you were wondering, independent BCS recipient Notre Dame will pocket a mere $4.5 million for a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
Back to the Sooners. OU's defense will face a fairly balanced attack. The Broncos average over 200 yards in the air and another 222 per game on the ground.
Sophomore running back Ian Johnson leads the attack. His decisive running ability netted him 6.4 yards per carry. Number 41 will be the main focus of Stoops' Troops.
This version of the Broncos isn't the same old 'toss it around the smurf turf' we remember from TU's days in the WAC. Quarterback Jared Zabransky finished the season in the top-ten passer efficiency category.
He will not take over a game and win it but history shows he will not lose many games either. The Sooners foe puts up almost 40 points per game. It will be interesting to see if their offensive prowess carries over against their stiffest opponent this season.
What else can we say about the Sooners' season? Have we covered the quarterback play? Check. What about the defense? Check. What about the running back situation? Check.
That leaves us the two interesting subplots heading into the game. How much and how effective will Adrian Peterson play? Through six games he was averaging well over 5 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns.
Call me crazy but I can see AD going out with a mammoth game. This does two things for OU. A huge game by AD likely results in a huge victory.
But more importantly it propels Peterson back to the head of the running back crop for the NFL draft this April. Yes, he will likely be gone come '07 but all is not lost.
High school kids love seeing a college program turn out top draft picks. A top-5 selection of Peterson will have running backs across the nation looking toward Norman when signing day rolls around.
What are the players saying? And what are they thinking? Back by popular demand we guestimate where the Sooners minds really are heading into the showdown.
Center Jon Cooper on Paul Thompson: "We all knew he was a great player. We've seen him play quarterback, we've seen him play receiver. He's just a great athlete. We knew he was going to step up. It was his job."
What he meant was--He has command of the huddle and earned the players respect. The other guy sounded like a used car salesmen.
Safety Jason Carter: "(The Broncos) are very well balanced and what they have been able to do is great. I kind of compare them to a Texas Tech."
What he was thinking--Didn't we already beat the Red Raiders by 10 points? Is this a preseason game or something?
Quarterback Paul Thompson: "(The Broncos) have good size and they react to the ball well. They're very athletic and they rally to the ball well. We've got to try to go at them like we go at every team. It's a zone defense. They are physical and quick."
What he was thinking--Is it too late to get some reps in at wide receiver? I have no future in the NFL at QB and this is a great match up to showcase my pass-catching skills so I can get paid at the next level.
Coach Stoops: "I will promise you as a team here at OU, our players and coaches have great respect for Boise. You watch them on tape and they are a very good football team in everything they do, very disciplined, play hard, play sure of themselves, they've got a lot of ability."
He meant to say--That's about all I've got to say about that. Listen up BCS. I'm still pissed about the Oregon call and now you insult me with a game against Boise?
Here is Bob Stoops channeling the words of John Rambo, "BCS... I'm coming to get you!" The Year of the Pig.
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