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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Playoff: '04 Oklahoma vs. '08 Texas Tech

By Jake Trotter

This is why we can’t have nice things, people.

On Monday, 2001 Nebraska bounced the ’09 Longhorns from the Big 12 BCS-era 16-team playoff with 58 percent of the vote, leaving Texas without a team going forward. Even though '09 Texas probably wasn't the program's best BCS era team, it's inexcusable for the Longhorns not to have a team in the second round. But I suppose that’s what happens when fate is handed over to the mob.

This time, Ohio wasn’t even to blame, holding only 30 of the more than 3,000 votes cast. Ironically, the ’09 Longhorns actually won the vote in the state of Oklahoma and lost in the state of Texas. I don’t know what to say.

Anyway, the ’01 Cornhuskers will play the winner of Tuesday’s matchup, featuring the ’04 Sooners and the ’08 Red Raiders. Voting will be open until 10 p.m. Central time Monday. To the matchup:

No. 6 Seed: ’04 OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Record: 12-1

Final ranking: No. 3

Top player: RB Adrian Peterson

Consensus All-America: Peterson, OT Jammal Brown

First-Team All-Big 12: Peterson, Brown, QB Jason White, WR Mark Clayton, C Vince Carter, DE Dan Cody, LB Lance Mitchell, S Donte Nicholson

Second-Team All-Big 12: OG Davin Joseph, DE Jonathan Jackson, S Brodney Pool

Best wins: Oregon (31-7); No. 5 Texas (12-0); at No. 20 Oklahoma State (38-35); at No. 22 Texas A&M (42-35)

Losses: No. 1 USC (55-19, national championship)

Why they should advance: The Sooners featured one of the finest backfields of the BCS era, boasting a Heisman winner at quarterback (White) and a Heisman runner-up and future NFL All-Pro at tailback (Peterson).

While they completely no-showed in the Orange Bowl loss to USC, which left a sour taste about this team, that defeat came against one of the best teams of the BCS era.

These Sooners had balance on either side of the ball, and might have been the most complete team of the Bob Stoops era in Norman.

No. 11 Seed: ’08 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS

Record: 11-2

Final ranking: No. 12

Top player: WR Michael Crabtree

Consensus All-America: Crabtree, OG Brandon Carter

First-Team All-Big 12: Crabtree, DE Brandon Williams, S Darcel McBath

Second-Team All-Big 12: OG Louis Vasquez, OT Rylan Reed, S Daniel Charbonnet

Best wins: at No. 19 Kansas (63-21); No. 1 Texas (39-33); No. 8 Oklahoma State (56-20)

Losses: at No. 5 Oklahoma (65-21); No. 20 Ole Miss (47-34, Cotton Bowl)

Why they should advance: The ’08 Red Raiders got smacked in Norman and lost their bowl game, but they still had a fabulous season and a fabulous squad.

Crabtree was a superstar, and while Graham Harrell didn’t garner first- or second-team All-Big 12 honors, he was one of the five best QBs in the country in ’08. And unlike some of Mike Leach’s other Texas Tech teams, these Red Raiders were stout in the trenches and on defense.

***

Who I would vote for: To me, this game is more evenly matched than the seeds would suggest. Both teams had debacles away from home against teams that played for the national championship. Both teams boasted great individual skill players (Crabtree, Peterson). And both teams handed really good Texas teams their only losses of the season.

Ultimately, though, I would give the slight edge to the ’04 Sooners here because of a defense that ranked sixth nationally and a running back in Peterson who was -- and has been -- virtually unstoppable when 100 percent.

Coming up Wednesday: (7 seed) 1999 Nebraska vs. (10 seed) 1998 Kansas State