Sooner BCS bowl hopes could be dashed by unlikely team
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
11/27/12 at 7:13 AM
NORMAN - Oklahoma's chance to play in a BCS bowl may be extinguished by a small Ohio school where Bob Stoops got his coaching start.
Kent State could take a huge leap toward crashing the BCS bowl party with a victory over Northern Illinois in Friday night's Mid-American Conference championship game in Detroit.
If the Golden Flashes win and move up one spot into the top 16 of the final BCS standings, the team will be guaranteed a BCS bowl bid and likely lock out Oklahoma.
Of course, all the talk is moot if the Sooners don't beat TCU in Saturday's 11 a.m. contest in Fort Worth.
Stoops' first job was as a Kent State assistant in 1988 before he joined the Kansas State staff one season later.
On Monday, the 14-year OU head coach wanted nothing to do with speculation on Kent State, the BCS or the Sooners' bowl situation.
At the same time, it also appears Stoops doesn't mind the title of "Big 12 co-conference champion" if the Sooners and Kansas State finish 8-1 in league play.
First, he talked - or didn't talk - about Kent State.
"I haven't followed Kent State, so I don't know," Stoops said when asked about his thoughts of the Golden Flashes possibly dropping OU out of the BCS.
"All I know is we have a big game to play (against TCU), so that's what I'm working on."
Defensive tackle Casey Walker said he wasn't concerned about the different scenarios.
"We're just worried about getting this win this week and finishing out the season right, and let whatever happens happen," Walker said. "Everything will fall into place. That's what I believe. Worrying about what bowl everyone will go to or if you do win the Big 12 or anything like that ... everything will fall into place."
Walker did say he wanted to play in the best bowl possible.
"Earlier in the season, it was the (BCS Championship game)," Walker said. "Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. So now we're trying to get what we can. That's either the Sugar Bowl or wherever they tell us to go."
Kent State could throw a wrench into Walker's plans. As a member of a non-AQ (automatic qualifying) conference, the Golden Flashes are closing in on a three-step checklist for all non-AQ schools to follow while chasing a BCS bid.
BCS rules say non-AQ schools must be: ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings; ranked higher than a champion of a BCS conference; and ranked higher than all other non-AQ schools.
The Golden Flashes were No. 17 in Sunday's BCS standings. The Big East Conference, an AQ league, has no members in the BCS Top 25, which has cleared a path. No. 17 Kent State has a lead over No. 20 Boise State and No. 21 Northern Illinois among non-AQ schools.
The MAC title game isn't the only contest with bowl implications for the Sooners.
OU and Kansas State are atop the Big 12 with 7-1 records. Both play on Saturday, with the Wildcats hosting Texas at 7 p.m.
Many of the bowl projections this week have agreed on OU being linked to the Fiesta Bowl if it wins and K-State loses, which would mean a fifth trip to Arizona in seven years for Oklahoma. It is possible that, if the Sooners earn the Fiesta Bowl nod, it could be swapped to another BCS bowl. That likely scenario could send OU to the Sugar Bowl.
The Sooners are projected to play in the Sugar Bowl if OU and K-State both win (but this could be killed if Kent State breaks into the top 16) or the Cotton Bowl if OU loses or is out of the BCS race because of Kent State.
Kansas State's higher ranking (No. 6) in the BCS came thanks to a 24-19 win at Oklahoma in September.
Now that both teams have one loss in league play, Stoops also was asked if it's a Big 12 championship season if they share records with K-State.
"Why wouldn't it be? It is," Stoops said.
Stoops pointed toward Saturday.
"They play later at night. All I know is we play at 11 o'clock," Stoops said. "There's an opportunity for a championship. Who knows what will happen in their game. Who knows what will happen in ours. In the end, that's where it's at right now."
One more thing about that Big 12 co-championship from Stoops.
"The rules are what they are," he said. "I don't make them."
Oklahoma has options heading into the final week of the season. At one point, it appeared the Sooners would be awarded a BCS bowl bid if they won out, but Kent State (ranked No. 17 in the BCS standings) could take away OU's potential bid if the Golden Flashes finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings.
A look at different scenarios:
Original Print Headline: Out of Sooner control
- If Kansas State and Oklahoma win: The Wildcats would get the league's automatic BCS bid because of its higher ranking. Kansas State would play in the Fiesta Bowl, while Oklahoma could head to the Sugar Bowl, where Florida has been projected. Once again, Kent State could kill this scenario with a top 16 finish in the BCS.
- If OU wins and Kansas State loses: The Fiesta Bowl is typically reserved for the Big 12 champion, which would likely face Oregon. But the BCS bowls are allowed to shuffle teams. OU has played in the Fiesta Bowl in four of the past six seasons.
- If Oklahoma loses or is out of the BCS race because of Kent State: It appears the Sooners would face an SEC opponent in the Cotton Bowl, possibly LSU or Texas A&M.
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
OU's Brennan Clay (center) is mobbed by Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders (right) after scoring the winning touchdown against OSU in Norman on Saturday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops hugs Landry Jones after their overtime win over Oklahoma State. Despite the win, Kent State, the school where Stoops got his coaching start, could take away OU's bid for a BCS bowl game. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World