Dave Sittler: Voters should give OSU split-title consideration
BY DAVE SITTLER World Sports Columnist
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
1/29/12 at 8:26 AM
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Come on Associated Press voters, give these Cardiac Cowboys of Oklahoma State serious consideration as your national champion if No. 2 Alabama upsets No. 1 LSU in next week's BCS title game.
These gritty Cowboys more than did their part in Monday night's Fiesta Bowl to create some serious questions in the mind of AP voters that maybe they should do their part in creating a split national champion in 2011.
The critics had demanded No. 3 OSU and No. 4 Stanford put on an explosive offensive show in the bowl game like both teams did during identical 11-1 regular seasons.
Well how about OSU 41, Stanford 38 in overtime?
You talk about the heart of a champion. Coach Mike Gundy's team showed its ticker is gigantic against the Cardinal. The Cowboys overcame adversity, and some inconsistent play on both sides at times, to fight back to tie the game in regulation and then won it with a 22-yard Quinn Sharp field goal in overtime.
LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 during the regular season on the Crimson Tide's home field. If the Tide upends the Tigers in an equally boring game next Monday in New Orleans, the Associated Press voters have to wonder if Alabama and its suspect offense deserved to even be in the BCS title game ahead of the Pokes.
This OSU team proved it could handle itself on the national stage in its first-ever BCS bowl. It did it by rallying from a 14-0 hole after the first quarter and again rallying in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, the Pokes' marquee players all season, delivered like champions by leading the furious comeback.
"The first quarter wasn't too good for us," Weeden said. "But we found a way to bounce back and win."
If the AP vote doesn't go OSU's way next week, that shouldn't deter this team from being remembered as "The Immortals."
The accomplishments of this 12-1 team should never die. The 12 victories are the most in school history. The Cowboys won their first Big 12 Championship and earned their first BCS bowl win.
"These guys set the bar very high," Gundy said. "Oklahoma State football has come a long, long, long ways."
That's why "The Immortals" nickname fits. It also happens to be a word in OSU's alma mater. You know, the song the Cowboys and their fans sing after every win, which includes the line "Proud and immortal."
The Pokes should forever be proud of this season for the ages. That why the school's historians must find a way to make the Cowboys' accomplishments immortal, everlasting, instead of being forgotten a few seasons from now.
After all, OSU came within a whisker of playing in next week's BCS national title game, losing out to Alabama by .0086 points in the final BCS standings for the right to play LSU in the national championship game.
Once those standings were released, many in the national media and long-time college football followers insisted OSU had gotten jobbed because of Alabama's loss to LSU.
The only option left for No. 3 OSU was to put together a convincing win over No. 4 Stanford. If it was exciting enough, they just might create the possibility of voters in the Associated Press media poll creating a split national championship by voting OSU its champion if No. 2 Alabama avenged its lost to No. 1 LSU in a sloppy game.
At the very least, OSU officials need to do three things ASAP:
1. Give Gundy the 10-year contract he wants.
2. Throw a parade when the Cowboys return to Stillwater.
3. Build a statue to honor Weeden and Blackmon, the lethal combo that carried OSU to lofty heights never seen before.
And name that statue: "The Leaders Of The Immortals."
OSU's Colton Chelf tries to get around Stanford's Delano Howell during the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ, Jan. 2, 2011. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World