Oklahoma Sooners: Oregon Ducks
With the door closed on the 16-year reign of the BCS, we dove into the 72 BCS bowl games to find the 10 most memorable moments of the BCS era.
10. Utah’s hook-and-ladder: The first team ever dubbed a “BCS Buster” was the Urban Meyer-coached and Alex Smith-led Utah Utes in 2004. In the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Utah led Pittsburgh 28-7 late in the third quarter and lined up at the Panthers’ 18-yard line. Smith swung it left to Steven Savoy, who lateraled to Paris Warren, who ran it in for the score as the Utes completed a 12-0 season.
9. Peerless Price down the sideline: Tennessee led Florida State 14-9 with 9:29 remaining in the fourth quarter in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl with the first BCS Championship on the line. UT quarterback Tee Martin found Price down the right sideline, and Price took it the distance for a 79-yard score. Price had 199 receiving yards for the winning Vols, the most ever in the BCS title game.
8. Ginn’s costly return: Ohio State received the opening kickoff from Florida in the 2007 BCS Championship game, and Ted Ginn Jr. wasted no time in getting the game’s first score on a 93-yard return. What will always be remembered, however, is that Ginn suffered a foot injury on the ensuing celebration and was out for the rest of the Buckeyes’ 41-14 loss.
7. Warrick's juggling score: Though the championship of the 1999 season was marked by Virginia Tech freshman QB Michael Vick, it was Florida State’s Peter Warrick who was named the most outstanding player. He had a punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, and his juggling catch on a 43-yard score midway through the fourth served as the dagger.
6. Vince Young, Part I: Facing Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Young was responsible for all five Texas touchdowns in a 38-37 win. Though he had runs of 60, 23 and 20 yards, the most impressive was a 10-yard run in which Young escaped the tackle of Michigan lineman Pat Massey before scampering to the right pylon.
5. Dyer isn’t down: Tied at 19 with Oregon with just more than two minutes remaining in the 2011 BCS Championship Game, Auburn running back Michael Dyer appeared to be tackled for a short gain at the Auburn 45-yard line. Having rolled over the defender, Dyer was never ruled down, and ended up gaining 37 yards on the play before he was taken down at the Oregon 23-yard line. Auburn would win on a field goal as time expired.
3. Was it pass interference? Some will remember Maurice Clarett’s game-saving strip of Sean Taylor, but the lasting legacy of the game is the dubious pass interference call in overtime. Miami led 24-17 and Ohio State faced fourth-and-3 from the 5-yard line. Glenn Sharpe was called for pass interference, giving the Buckeyes new life in a game they would win 31-24.
2. Boise State’s trick plays: In the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State trailed heavily favored Oklahoma 35-28 with 18 seconds left and facing fourth-and-18 from the 50-yard line. Jared Zabransky completed a pass to Drisan James just short of the first down, but he lateraled it to Jerard Rabb, who took it the rest of the way for the tying touchdown. In overtime, down 42-35 on fourth down, wide receiver Vinny Perretta completed a 3-yard pass to Derek Schouman for a touchdown. Chris Petersen elected to go for two, and Zabransky faked a throw to his right before handing it behind his back to Ian Johnson on the Statue of Liberty play for the winning two-point conversion. Johnson would propose to his girlfriend, a Boise State cheerleader, on the sideline after the game.
1. Vince Young, Part II: After a Longhorns touchdown and key fourth-down stop, undefeated Texas trailed undefeated USC 38-33 with 26 seconds remaining and faced fourth-and-5 from the 9-yard line, with the 2005 BCS championship on the line. Vince Young dropped back to pass but saw nobody open, and immediately sprinted for the right pylon for the title-winning score in the marquee game of the BCS era.
Here's how they did it:
Our methodology was simple: We re-tallied the scores following signing day and ranked the schools based on total number of ESPNU 150 recruits (there have been 900) hauled in over the last six years. Of course, like success on the field, recruiting is cyclical -- and fans of programs both on and off this list might look back on Feb. 1, 2012 as the day their team began its rise (or fall) on the trail.
Here's the top-10:
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
T-10. Ohio State
Here's what it says about Oklahoma:
Top states: Texas (14), Oklahoma (seven)
Surprise state: California (three)
Oklahoma continues to reel in the relatively small amount of ESPNU 150 talent produced in the Sooner State, signing its top two 2012 recruits: WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City) and RB Alex Ross (Jenks). That puts the Sooners at 7-for-13 since 2007. Bob Stoops also went into Florida (No. 2 OC Ty Darlington of Apopka) and Missouri (WR Durron Neal of St. Louis) for the first time in the past six years.
“I wasn’t much for lobbying the last time we were in that situation,” Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “And it worked out pretty good.”
That year, OU edged Texas in the BCS to break a three-way tie for the Big 12 South, propelling the Sooners to the national championship game.
Oklahoma's national title hopes got two big breaks Saturday.
Boise State and Stanford both broke down and lost on their home fields — just like the Sooners did last month.
So here Oklahoma sits at a tidy No. 5 in the latest BCS standings, with a date against No. 2 Oklahoma State coming into focus.
The biggest problem?
The two teams ahead of the Sooners have only one blemish: A loss to the nation's No. 1 team, LSU.
Would a victory over Oklahoma State on Dec. 3 in the de facto Big 12 title game slingshot the Sooners into the national championship game?
Ultimately, it's going to depend on voters, who make up two-thirds of the BCS standings. The Sooners are strong in the computers — they're in the top five in five of the six computer rankings (and sixth in the other) and below both Alabama and Oregon in just three. Oklahoma State is No. 1 in three of the computer rankings.
Oklahoma's best hope? A voter mutiny against a rematch between LSU and Oregon (LSU won 40-27 in Dallas on Sept. 3) or Alabama and LSU (LSU won in overtime in Tuscaloosa, 9-6) and an impressive closing stanza for voters to remember the Sooners before coaches cast their ballots in the USA Today poll and before Harris poll voters send their ballots in.
Oklahoma, if it wins out, would have an impressive five victories over top-25 teams. Oregon would have two. Alabama would have four.
The Sooners, though, will have difficulty outrunning that Texas Tech loss, which gets worse and worse by the week. The Red Raiders have lost five of six games, and have been outscored 159-33 in losses to Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State.
Call it a fluke if you want, but championship teams don't have fluke losses. It could cost Oklahoma a shot at the title.
That is, unless the Sooners win out and voters say Alabama and Oregon don't deserve another chance to knock off Les Miles' team.