- Jake Trotter, College Football
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Only one more quarterfinal to go. Remember, you vote to decide who advances. Polls close at 10 p.m. CT tonight.
To the matchup:
Final ranking: No. 1
Top player: QB Josh Heupel
Consensus All-America: Heupel, LB Rocky Calmus
First-Team All-Big 12: Heupel, Calmus, DT Ryan Fisher, S Roy Williams, S J.T. Thatcher
Best wins: No. 11 Texas (63-14); at No. 2 Kansas State (41-31); No. 1 Nebraska (31-14); at No. 23 Texas A&M (35-31); No. 8 Kansas State (27-24, Big 12 Championship); No. 3 Florida State (13-2, national championship)
Final ranking: No. 3
Top player: QB Eric Crouch
Second-Team All-Big 12: OG Russ Hochstein, P Dan Hadenfeldt, PR Bobby Newcombe
Best wins: No. 21 Texas A&M (37-0); No. 5 Kansas State (41-15); No. 12 Texas (22-6, Big 12 Championship); No. 6 Tennessee (31-21, Fiesta Bowl)
Losses: at No. 18 Texas (24-20)
Who should advance: Bob Stoops has had several more talented teams than his 2000 squad. But that group -- week in, week out -- always found a way to win, no matter the circumstance. The ’00 Sooners will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Sooner Nation because they finally took Oklahoma football back to its former glory after several lean years.
But Nebraska was -- at the least -- the second-best team in the country in 1999, and would have played for the national championship had it not dropped a heartbreaker at Texas. The Cornhuskers avenged that Texas loss with ease in the Big 12 Championship, and drubbed sixth-ranked Tennessee by double digits in the Fiesta Bowl. Nebraska played a much tougher schedule than Virginia Tech, which got thumped by Florida State in the national title game, but there might have been some voter fatigue with the Cornhuskers at that point.
With Crouch operating the option, Nebraska had a powerful running game as well as a dominating defense. It’s hard picking against the ’00 Sooners, who were loaded with gamers. But to keep this from being an all-Oklahoma semifinal, I'm going with the Huskers in a mild upset.
So far, it's been an all-Oklahoma semifinal, as the '04 Sooners dispatched '01 Nebraska on Wednesday in our Big 12 BCS-era 16-team playoff.Only one more quarterfinal to go.