The rivalry in my native Oklahoma between the Sooners of the University of Oklahoma and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State divides parent and child, brother and brother. It certainly does in my family! The Sooners have almost always been better, but the intensity of the games is such that the Cowboys occasionally stage an upset. I have proposed, to torment my brother and parents (OSU alums) that the state legislature pass a bill requiring the lower-ranked of the two teams to forfeit the game between them, so as to protect the state’s chances to pursue a national championship and thus improve our image in the hopes of bringing new jobs to our citizens. (The prospect of “new jobs” can sell any bill.)
But such a bill would have worked against my cause this time. Oklahoma, ranked #10, would have had to forfeit to Oklahoma State, ranked #3. The lesson here is to never support a law that would support your narrow self-interest when it could actually cut two ways. (A good example would be Newt Gingrich’s proposal for congress to limit the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over certain bills. Conservatives might like that idea, until liberals do it. With that power, congress could have declared Obamacare non-reviewable.)
Some Sooner fans took comfort in the fact that OSU hadn’t beaten them in 8 years. Surely history is on OU’s side. But that is an utterly meaningless statistic (one of many in sports, as I’ve learned from reading Moneyball). Those other teams over the last 8 years are not the same teams playing this year! OSU has never been this good before!
So sure enough, as I thought would happen, OSU utterly pounded OU with a final score of 44-10.
It pains me to say it, but I salute Oklahoma State for this achievement and for improving their program so dramatically. And though the traditional terms of the rivalry would call for feelings of revenge, expressed in hoping the worst for the enemy team in the post-season, I will magnanimously wish OSU well.
In fact, I contend that OSU should play Louisiana State University, the #1 ranked team in the nation, for the national championship! LSU already beat the #2 team, Alabama. It doesn’t seem reasonable to set up a rematch. What if Alabama were to win? They would be crowned champion over a team that beat them. The two teams would have essentially the same record. It would be much more interesting to watch LSU play against another contender.
Nevertheless, as I just saw on the BCS selection show on ESPN, the labyrinthine ways of the BCS ranking system have given Alabama .942 points, with Oklahoma state getting .933. So the national championship game will have LSU playing Alabama. Again.