Ahh, what better place to hold the funeral service for the Big 12 as we know it than what my dad affectionately refers to as the Death Star. Old school rivalry. Set in a futuristic behemoth. 78,000 variations of red everywhere. The scene set for a fantastically interesting night of football.
And fantastic, it was. There is a term thrown around pretty liberally in Sooner lore- "Sooner Magic."
Some see it in the awe of certain plays, or in the defeat of a worthy opponent. I myself see it a little more intangibly. I have only witnessed it twice in person. The first time was the 2008 Texas Tech game. Anyone who was there can attest to the atmosphere and the "Jump Around" that will never be duplicated.
The other was in this OU- Nebraska final Big 12 game. The Sooners dug themselves out of a 17-o hole, a feat which a little stat-bearing bird told me has not been done by any other Sooner squad since 1981! The defense, save for a couple of long runs, played lights OUT. Travis Lewis and Austin Box had some of the defining plays of the day in terms of turnovers and momentum shift. . And you can't win a game on a few field goal kicks if your defense isn't doing something seriously right to protect such a flimsy margin of success. Megaprops.
We just seemed to make plays when we needed to make plays, and get the stops exactly as they had to happen. We overcame what for us seemed like a nearly-impossible deficit. We never gave up and we played with swagger and determination to claim our 7th Big 12 Championship. Sooner Magic.
So naturally, after such an exciting, thrilling, nerve-wracking, magical game, we were all feeling on top of the world. Back to the BCS we go!
Back to the BCS we go... and our reward? A shot at the 8-4 Big East Champion UConn. Daunting.
This was supposed to be our chance to make a statement against Stanford. Instead, we are in what many have dubbed a no-win situation. If we win, it's because we were supposed to. We are, after all, the heavy favorite. If we lose, than it's just an embarrassment. A la Boise. A la West Virginia. I don't think it's no-win, because it is a great chance for us to right the ship in terms of BCS play. If we want to make a run for the NC next year, and I think we will, we have to set the tone NOW. I want a massacre in this game. We better throw down like we've never thrown down before. We are making some lemon-flavored Gatorade out of these freaking lemons, dangit!
But lemons, indeed. This lackluster bowl pairing marks a dramatic paradigm shift for me. I have always been leery of advocating the move to a playoff system for college football. I like the excitement and controversy of the BCS system. But something has GOT to change. Look at the bowl line-ups for this year- out of 35 games, there are maybe 8 that are even remotely compelling. I am sick of these watered-down bowls and automatic berths for conferences whose "champion" has a worse record than five Big 12 teams. It's ridiculous. We want to see meaningful games, not a whole ton of crappy games.
Urban Meyer, I do not trust that you are, in fact retiring. I hope you will rest in peaceful sabbatical from coaching with your family as you say you will, but I'm not even holding my breath through the end of today on that one.
Kevin Wilson, good luck to you in the beyond. And by beyond, I mean Indiana. You have done some great things for Sooner Nation. I hope we are able to replace you aptly. We could certainly do worse.
Randy Shannon, you were gone before your time. I really think Miami should have given you more of a chance. Results do not come instantly, and Miami is certainly better after you stepped up than before it.
All gripes aside, I am looking forward to bowl season and seeing how it all shakes out, especially the national championship game. I'm pulling for Oregon- I just can't cheer for Cam Newton, and they have fabulous uniforms and a charming (read:cartoonishly absurd) mascot. Go Ducks! GOOOOOO SOONERS!