PRYOR, OK —
The Report’s regular readers know by now that I have a certain affinity for most things Sooner, which, I agree, is a fault beyond correction. So I hope readers will also forgive a little excitement that OU drew Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Perhaps it’s all that sugar that has me a little giddy to watch Blake Bell and Oklahoma try to decode the Alabama defense like Neo in the Matrix.
(For what it’s worth, I’m taking Alabama in this one. Big.)
But honestly, wouldn’t it be better for everyone if OU and Ohio State switched places in their respective BCS bowl games?
Now, I’m not lamenting the Sooners’ fate in the final iteration of the BCS. When you cross the football gods, as OU did when it stole a win at Oklahoma State 10 days ago, you are cursed. In this case, OU was cursed as a two-touchdown underdog against one of the best teams in the country still simmering over its missed opportunity to play for a national title.
So, yeah, OU deserved to get stuck with an insanely tough task. But — from a sports writer’s perspective — wouldn’t it be more fun to see the Sooners matched up with Clemson in the Orange Bowl and Ohio State and Alabama pitted in the Sugar?
For starters, OU and Clemson would be more equally matched, both on the field and by their identical 10-2 records. Add in OU’s tradition in the Orange Bowl, where it has won 12 of its 18 appearances — both all-time records — and its last national title in 2001.
And finally, Bob Stoops would get to face the man that helped him win that national title, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Venables was a co-DC with Bob’s brother Mike back then. Mike left to be the head coach at Arizona in 2004, making Venables the sole defensive coordinator, but Mike returned to Oklahoma in 2012 — displacing Venables to Clemson.
And, in my mind, an Ohio State-Alabama Sugar Bowl (and more specifically, an Urban Meyer-Nick Saban Sugar Bowl) would be a runaway for the title of “best bowl game that isn't Auburn-Florida State.”
But by now, we college football fans are used to getting what we get. And for the most part, the gettings have been good. (Missouri and Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, anyone?)