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Sports Then and Now

College Football: BCS Mess Has Us Right Back Where We Started 75

Posted on November 20, 2011 by Dean Hybl

After three crazy college football weeks LSU and Alabama are back on top, but can they stay there?

After three crazy weeks of college football upsets, looks like we are right back where we started the month when trying to determine which college football teams will play for the national title in January.

We began the month excitedly waiting for the matchup of the year between top-ranked LSU and second-ranked Alabama. The general consensus at the time was that they were unquestionably the two best teams in college football.

While the game did need overtime before LSU emerged victorious, few were willing to call the 9-6 defensive struggle a thriller. Granted, both teams had great defenses, but Alabama missed four field goals and neither team played with the offensive confidence you generally expect from a top-ranked team.

Except for a few folks from the SEC, most across the country were not interested in a potential rematch and glad that there were several undefeated teams, including Oklahoma State, Stanford and even Boise State still in-line to serve as LSU’s opponent in a national title game.

However, two of those teams took a tumble the very next week as Stanford was rocked by a suddenly resurgent Oregon (which had been unimpressive in an opening loss to LSU, but had quietly started playing like a national title contender again) and Boise State had its dream of finally making it to the title game snatched away by TCU.

This weekend was expected to be more like a place-holder weekend as most BCS contenders were prohibitive favorites and biding time for big games over the final two weeks of the season.

Instead, it suddenly became the weekend of the big upset. It started on Friday night when Iowa State shocked Oklahoma State in overtime to hand the Cowboys their first loss of the season. Then, just as quickly as they returned to the national conversation, Oregon was gone again as USC (anyone remember them) jumped out early and held on for a 38-35 victory. Read the rest of this entry →

College Football Classic Rewind:OU Stymies ‘Noles to Win National Championship 38

Posted on September 14, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The 2001 Orange Bowl was the designated national championship game for the 2000 season and it featured a team that was expected to be in the game and another team that was not expected to be there.

Ever since Barry Switzer resigned as head coach following the 1988 season, the Sooners went 61-50-1 in the next 10 seasons and played in only three bowl games.

After the 1998 season, Oklahoma hired Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops, who had helped the Gators win the 1996 national championship, in hopes of restoring the Sooners to prominence.

Stoops went 7-5 in his first season as head coach but things took off in 2000 as the Sooners went undefeated thanks to a high-powered offense led by quarterback Josh Heupel, who finished second in the running for the Heisman Trophy and a defense that allowed under 16 points per game on average during the season.

Despite being 12-0 and #1 entering the title game, the Sooners were 10 ½ point underdogs to their opponent, the Florida State Seminoles.

Florida State was the defending national champion and were perhaps the most dominant team during the 2000 season.

The offense, led by Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, averaged 42.4 points per game while the defense held opponents to an average of 10.3 points per game as the Seminoles won at least 10 games for the fourteenth consecutive season, all under the direction of head coach Bobby Bowden.

Despite their dominance, most experts believed that the Seminoles should not be in the title game because they lost one game, a 27-24 nail-biter to arch-rival Miami, who also finished the season with one loss and believed by most experts to play opposite Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

However when the BCS final rankings were released, FSU was ranked ahead of Miami, and it was the ‘Noles who got a chance to win back-to-back national titles.

While they were heavily favored, the Seminoles faced two issues as they entered their title tilt with the Sooners.

Offensive coordinator Mark Richt had accepted the head coaching job at the University of Georgia, perhaps distracting him from constructing a good game plan against the Sooner defense, and wide receiver Snoop Minnis, Weinke’s best target, had been ruled academically ineligible and had to sit out the game.

These two issues looked to cause problems for the Florida State offense, but It certainly did not look like that the Seminoles offense would have such trouble as Weinke connected with Atrews Bell for a 35-yard gain on the first play of the game. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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