In the opening week of the Big 12 BCS-era 16-team playoff, ’07 Missouri, ’03 Oklahoma, ’08 Oklahoma and ’10 TCU advanced to the second round by compiling more SportsNation votes than their first opponents (to see the bracket again click here).
The first round of the playoff continues Monday with a pair of teams that made national championship games in ’01 Nebraska and ’09 Texas. Remember, voting will be open until 10 p.m. Central time Monday.
Now, to the matchup:
No. 3 Seed: ’09 TEXAS LONGHORNS
Top player: QB Colt McCoy
First-Team All-Big 12: McCoy, Shipley, Thomas
Best wins: No. 20 Oklahoma (16-13); at No. 13 Oklahoma State (41-14); No. 21 Nebraska (13-12, Big 12 Championship)
Losses: No. 1 Alabama (37-21, BCS Championship)
Why they should advance: McCoy didn’t have quite the year he did the season before, but the Longhorns still featured one of the crispest passing games in the country.
The defense in ’09 was sharper too, led by Thomas, who became a star as a third-year sophomore.
Had McCoy not injured his shoulder in the first quarter against Alabama, who knows, Texas might have won the national title.
Final ranking: No. 8
Top player: QB Eric Crouch
Consensus All-America: Crouch
Best wins: No. 17 Notre Dame (27-10); No. 2 Oklahoma (20-10)
Losses: at No. 14 Colorado (62-36); No. 1 Miami (37-14, national championship)
Why they should advance: Like the ’03 Sooners, the ’01 Cornhuskers are mostly remembered for how they finished the season.
But Nebraska was dominant through the first 11 games. Up to the Colorado game, the Huskers won every game on their schedule by at least double digits, including a 20-10 victory over second-ranked and defending national champ Oklahoma.
Crouch narrowly captured the Heisman, rushing for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns operating out the option.
Who I would vote for: The ’09 Longhorns lost in the national title game. But at least they belonged in the game. The same can hardly be said of the ’01 Cornhuskers, who didn’t even win the Big 12 North Division.
This would have been a compelling contrast of styles with McCoy and Crouch, who probably had the two best four-year careers of any Big 12 quarterback. But McCoy had the better supporting cast, and as a result, would be my pick to move on.
Coming up Tuesday: (6 seed) 2004 Oklahoma vs. (11 seed) 2008 Texas Tech