To say people viewed the Oklahoma – Texas Tech game with interest would be a wild understatement. Pretty much nobody outside of Lubbock has been happy to see Leach’s boys get this far with no losses, and Heathen Nation has been right there with ‘em. Smart money said that if the Raiders could get past the Longhorns, then the only team likely to stop ‘em would be Oklahoma — but pretty much everyone also expected a fairly hard-fought game.
Well, on that point at least, pretty much everybody was dead fucking wrong, as the Sooners managed to steamroll Texas Tech like a farm league team. Nothing the Raiders did worked; Oklahoma could do virtually no wrong, and by halftime it was very, very clear that Tech was no longer in the running for any championships — Big XII or national. Final score: 65 to 21, and it wasn’t that close. Tech’s final TD came with the Sooners’ bench on defense, and the Sooners’ played without starting QB Sam Bradford for the final quarter. Oklahoma improves to 34 and 1 under Stoops in home games, which is quite a stat.
This old-skool ass-whippin’ was utterly unforeseen, as we said; smart money said that if Tech lost, it would create a three-way tie in the Big XII South, leading to wailing and gnashing of teeth as folks tried to figure out who best deserved a shot at Miami. By folding up like a cheap suit, Tech eliminated themselves — and Texas beat Oklahoma already. By the time the BCS rankings came out last night, nobody outside of Norman was expecting anything other than what we got:
Yeah, some west coast nerd had to shove the Trojans in there. Tech drops to 7. Penn State’s a slot behind them at 8. Still-perfect Boise and Ohio State round out the top ten. (Amusingly, the AP poll puts Florida at #2, followed by Oklahoma, Texas, and USC; USAToday sees 2-5 as Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, and USC — but neither poll matters.)
Texas still has to beat unranked A&M and get to the Big XII game against Mizzou to play in Miami, but it’s not that simple; the Longhorns don’t exactly control their own destiny. Ties in this conference are broken by BCS standings, and that’s where things get woozy.
Should Oklahoma win convincingly over their 9-2 cross-state rival Oklahoma State, they’ll get lifted in the BCS model — but Texas’ last remaining game is against a helpless 4-7 Aggie squad, and beating them won’t impress anyone. The BCS gap between the two is small enough that even a slight increase in Oklahoma’s rating relative to UT could push them into the #2 spot and the conference game. The only certain thing is that it’s the Big XII South vs. the SEC in Miami; the North division hasn’t won since Kansas State in 2003, and Mizzou isn’t gonna break that streak (they already lost to Texas once this year, back in October, to the tune of 56 to 31).
Elsewhere, a couple other lovely things happened. Well, I say that, but when Ole Miss and LSU play, I really sort of wish both could lose. This time around, though, it was the Rebels winning big over a Tiger team clearly on tilt after some rough losses, but still ranked #18 going into the game. After the 31 to 13 drubbing, though, LSU’s nowhere to be seen — and Ole Miss popped up at 25 on the AP.
And where would a Heathen football comment be without some Notre Dame hate? We’ve got you covered: the Irish managed to suck out against coachless Syracuse, 24 to 23 at home in South Bend. This is a collapse of almost Texan proportions, as the Irish led 23-10 in the fourth quarter.
The Orange improve to 3 and 8; it’s the first time EVER for ND to lose to an 8-loss squad. They’ll still be bowl eligible at .500 assuming they lose, as expected, to USC in their season closer — which sets the stage for the Irish to extend their (NCAA record) winless streak of bowls to an even TEN. The 2007-2008 two-year span also boasts the most losses of any such span in program history (14, and they haven’t played USC yet). But keep Weis up there, Irish. Really. We’re sure this is gonna work out just fine, and don’t worry about the restless natives:
The Irish players were pelted by snowballs on the sideline for much of the first quarter by fans sitting on the student section. Defensive end Ethan Johnson was struck on the left cheek and several other players also getting hit by snowballs despite three announcement urging fans to stop.
The Irish were booed several times during the game, including Clausen on Notre Dame’s next-to-last possession when third-and-8 the Syracuse 31 he missed a wide open David Grimes.
Weis is at 28 and 20 over 4 seasons, or batting about .583; ND aced the last two coaches in that statistical neighborhood, but Weis still has 7 years left on his contract.
Oh, and the historic multi-year collapse of ND is actually showing up on non-sports blogs now. This pleases us at Heathen Central, as do a couple stats from the article the blogger links:
- ND has beaten only one team with a winning record this year: perennial powerhouse NAVY.
- The combined record of the teams ND has beaten this year is 18-46.
- Under Weis, the Irish are 12-17 against teams with winning records.