POSTED ON DECEMBER 28, 2011:
Another Bowl, Please?
We've said it before, weíll say it again -- college football doesn't play fair
Let's just move to Arizona for the winter. Or maybe just for a week or two to close out bowl season. Both OU and OSU travel to the home of the Cactus Wren.
Imagine the annoyance Oklahoma State fans must feel. The Cowboys battle the little brother syndrome in football on a yearly basis.
So how are they rewarded for their remarkable season? Coach Mike Gundy's squad gets poked by the BCS beauty pageant.
They pop their BCS cherry in a game the Sooners have played in three times in the past five seasons. Adding insult to insult the Sooners play down the road in Tempe just four days prior to the Fiesta Bowl. Foreshadowing or overshadowing?
As luck would have it, OSU fans do not seem to care. Good for them. There is no reason playing second fiddle in the past to OU should taint the good vibes this year.
11-1 x 2
When No. 3 Oklahoma State takes the field against No. 4 Stanford you can throw out the records. Seriously, let's just toss them out for two specific reasons.
First of all, they are identical. Second of all, by the time these teams take the field it will seem like a different football season due to the gap between games.
Lazy journalists and talking heads will attempt to describe the Cowboys and Cardinals as similar teams. This would be a stretch.
Both teams score points in bunches. Each team leans on their quarterback a little too much. This is where the similarities end.
"There's no question that Andrew Luck is a special player," said Head Coach Mike Gundy. "If you break down all of his throws, his percentages are through the roof. He's smart, well-coached, big and strong. Their tight end is a really good player and they have backs that fit into their system."
Let the record show Mike Gundy does watch his opponent's offense. How involved he is with schematics is a different story.
The Stanford tight end he mentions is a matchup problem for most defenses. If the Cowboys can hold him in check, they will likely route the Cardinals.
Easier said than done. The truth is the Cardinals have no Justin Blackmon type of game breaker. Who does?
They roll out a multitude of big, physical, fundamentally sound route runners. Several of their pass catchers fit the mold of a power forward in basketball. They can literally box out smaller defenders.
On offense the Pokes need to limit turnovers. Obvious right? More specifically Brandon Weeden cannot give Stanford a short field. He needs to target guys wearing the same jersey color.
You want in on a dirty little secret. None of it matters. We want these details to matter but they usually do not. When a game follows a logical path we all feel better about life.
If Weeden protects the ball and the defense contains the receiving threats, you and I can say we saw it coming. We'll smile and pound our chests and make sure to let our buddies know we called it ahead of time.
But it is all just WAGs. Wild Ass Guesses. During the regular season, with all things being equal, we can make educated guesses. Once postseason commences it does not matter in many bowl games.
The team motivated will win.
We try to overcomplicate football. Coaches are the worst. Again, if all things being close to equal in terms of talent, the team that wants the extra yard on fourth-and-one will win the battle nine out of 10 times.
Oklahoma State is a 3.5-point favorite in Vegas. They also sure seem like a team motivated to finish second in the final college football polls.
Not So Much
Big or in this case little brother OU is a 13.5-point favorite against Iowa in the Insight Bowl. Unless Head Coach Bob Stoops is leaking misinformation to the media, his team seems on the brink of collapse.
You are right. Collapse is a strong word, but they certainly feel like a team in disarray.
A 9-3 record is acceptable in all but 10 or so major college programs. Norman happens to be one of those 10. It also does not help the way the season ended. A no-show performance against cross-town rival left a bitter taste in the collective mouths of Sooners fans.
How invested in a run-of-the-mill bowl game are the Sooners? No doubt the coaches would like the "W" but how many extra hours are they spending on the game plan? Are they properly motivated?
The players get a nice vacation to a warm-weather city. They are veterans of the bowl game process. They know a nice gift package with goodies waits.
So when Stoops and the gang are implementing alignments are the players diagnosing the probabilities for success or thinking about sun and fun?
Again, football is a simple game made complicated by many. If the two touchdown favorite Sooners care, they will win this game going away.
If the middling Hawkeyes pull off the upset, you know trouble is brewing in the house Stoops added on to.
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