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Oklahoma State has the resume for the BCS title game, but is it enough?

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Three more wins against top 25 BCS teams. Three more victories against teams with winning records. Two more wins against teams .500 or better. A schedule featuring an average opponent that ranks 20 places better in the Sagarin rankings.

Better victories against a tougher schedule.

Now imagine Oklahoma State's name is Alabama's.

Maybe that would do the trick. Maybe then folks could wrap their minds around the fact that Oklahoma State -- no more Chokie State -- has played a tougher schedule and has more quality victories than Alabama.

How bout these Cowboys? The outright Big 12 champions very well could be the nation's second-best team. Oklahoma State made its case with a historic 44-10 Bedlam beatdown of No. 10-ranked Oklahoma Saturday night before a raucous Boone Stadium crowd of 58,141.

Is Oklahoma State the nation's second-best team? This won't play well in SEC country: but, yes, I think so.

Oklahoma State's rout of Oklahoma was so dominant -- so thorough -- that early in the second half, the Cowboys weren't playing Oklahoma anymore. They were playing Alabama.

"They had their shot [at LSU], give us ours," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.

The Cowboys' fans celebrated their first outright conference title since, well, forever, by storming the field and tearing down the goalposts for the first time since they last beat Oklahoma in Stillwater in 2002. Back then, the Cowboys were coached by a guy named Les Miles. He wears a hat. Maybe you've heard of him?

This was the 106th meeting between OU and OSU and only Oklahoma State's 17th win in the series. After countless years of being on the receiving end of Oklahoma fans chanting "Poor Aggies," OSU's fans didn't even bother taunting the Sooners. Instead, they chanted "L-S-U, L-S-U" in the second half, hoping for a BCS title shot.

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"If we don't get in the BCS -- I'm not kidding you -- if I have the power to do it, I'm gonna have an investigation," OSU uber-booster T. Boone Pickens said. "The way we handled OU tonight. Somehow I just can't imagine LSU playing Alabama twice. It doesn't make sense. It looks like it's an SEC-closed system if that happens and Alabama didn't even win the conference."

Those that don't believe Oklahoma State should play in the BCS title game against LSU are either (a) SEC fans or (b) think OSU should not be considered because the Cowboys lost at Iowa State 37-31 in double overtime.

The rationalization is OSU's one bad loss should wipe away an otherwise dominant season, that included nine victories against teams .500 or better, and winning the nation's toughest and deepest conference, based on the computer rankings.

"We lost in double overtime on the road," Gundy said. "We didn't lose at home."

Oklahoma State was a four-TD favorite at Iowa State. In 2008, Florida's only loss was as a 22-point favorite at home to Ole Miss. The Gators played for -- and won -- the BCS title.

Then in 2006, when it looked like Ohio State and Michigan were headed for a rematch in the BCS title game over SEC champion Florida, the Gators had a familiar argument.

"Michigan already had its chance," Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin said. "I think we deserve a chance."

Added Florida president Bernie Machen: "If they don't vote for us after tonight, we need a new system. We should be packing our bags for [the BCS title game in] Glendale."

Former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, now West Virginia's coach, said this is what the Cowboys have been striving for the last 10 years.

"As long as Gundy has been there and when Boone got involved and started building that stuff, they did it for this reason right here," Holgorsen said. "Oklahoma State is as good as anybody. To go 11-1 as Big 12 champs, I think this puts them in the discussion [for No. 2]."

The Cowboys' resume consists of five wins against five current top 25 BCS teams (No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 11 Kansas State, No. 17 Baylor, No. 22 Texas and No. 25 Missouri), compared to Alabama's two top 25 BCS wins (No. 8 Arkansas, No. 21 Penn State). Oklahoma State also defeated seven teams that will go bowling this year, Alabama defeated six.

And, as Oklahoma State senior offensive tackle Levy Adcock pointed out, the Cowboys were conference champions.

"We were Big 12 champions, by what, 34 points?" Adcock said. "This is breath-taking, I just want to stand here and watch them tear down the goal posts. I've never seen 'em do it. I didn't think they would come down."

The question is will Alabama drop down one spot, allowing the Cowboys to move into the No. 2 spot? Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who suffered the second worst loss of his career, said he will vote for the Cowboys second in the coaches poll. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas also believes the Cowboys did enough to move up.

"Of course, you saw them tonight," Neinas said. "They certainly acquitted themselves. Hopefully [the voters] have open minds to what has happened."

What happened Saturday night was historic on so many levels: Oklahoma State had never won an outright title since joining the Big Eight in 1960. In fact, in the past 50 years, the Cowboys had only finished in the top two of the league four times, compared to five last-place finishes.

Jerry Palm, BCS expert for CBSSports.com and CollegeBCS.com, didn't know if OSU's margin of victory was enough to bypass Alabama.

"A blowout win might change a few voters' minds," Palm said. "Virginia Tech losing would help too, of course.  But, I'm still not optimistic.  Voters just don't seem to be on board."

If not, Oklahoma State gets a nice consolation prize: its first BCS bowl in the Fiesta Bowl. The Cowboys, however, deserve better. They deserve a spot in the BCS title game against LSU.


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