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Can Oklahoma State Pass Alabama in the BCS?


The BCS Championship Game is looking more and more like it will be a rematch between SEC West foes LSU and Alabama. With the top two college football teams in the nation coming from the same division of the same conference, the Tigers will play against Georgia for the SEC crown this weekend while the Tide wait at home. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State will host its Bedlam rival Oklahoma as the Cowboys try to finish 11-1 and win a Big 12 title. OSU is ranked third in the BCS on the strength of being third in computer average; as the Cowboys are fifth in both the Harris and Coaches Polls. The interesting angle to an Oklahoma State win over the Sooners is whether any media members would try to manipulate the current system — presumably to try and block a rematch — and move Mike Gundy’s club up three spots over idle Alabama. With OSU’s strength in the computer rankings and a possible massive jump in the two human polls, it would make the race for BCS spot No. 2 very interesting.

If OSU wins, will voters put the Cowboys ahead of unanimous No. 2 Alabama?

Nathan Rush
There may be some manipulation by the pollsters to avoid an LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS national title game. And Oklahoma State would be the obvious candidate to benefit from that type of politicking. The truth is, the Pokes already blew their chance with a 37–31 double-overtime loss at Iowa State two weeks ago. An impressive Bedlam win over a banged-up Oklahoma squad would make a statement, for sure. But the die has already been cast — and it's a Crimson Tide. I'd like to see O-State and LSU play, nearly as much as I'm looking forward to seeing a Tide-Tigers rematch. But with the BCS system currently in place, Mike Gundy's men will be left on the outside looking in. Even if the Cowboys beat the Sooners, they will remain ranked behind No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama — and rightfully so.

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Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch
Some voters will move Oklahoma State up in the polls if the Pokes beat Oklahoma, but not enough for it to matter. Keep in mind that O-State is fifth — not third — in both the Harris and Coaches polls. This means that a significant number of voters in both polls would have to give Oklahoma State a big bump, assuming it beats Oklahoma. Obviously, a convincing win would help, but I just can't envision a scenario in which enough voters will be that impressed with the Cowboys to give them enough of a bump in the human polls to overtake the Crimson Tide.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman
I hope voters will not feel a need to make some sort of political statement and change the way they have ranked the teams for the previous month. If so, those voters would be more damaging or fraudulent than any system that they incessantly criticize. If you truly believed Oklahoma State was better than Alabama, then putting the Cowboys No. 2 would be fine. However, that scenario would make much more sense if OSU was No. 3 in the Harris and Coaches Polls, instead of the current No. 5 slot it has in both of those rankings. It’s hard to find many people — outside of Stillwater or those fueled by anti-SEC bias — that think Oklahoma State should be ahead of Alabama. The BCS Championship Game is simply a matchup of the country’s two best teams and if they happen to be from the same league, so be it. Despite a desire for controversy among some media members, I believe most of them will ultimately not try to manipulate the system or their vote.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven
I think the only way Oklahoma State can pass Alabama in the polls is a blowout win over Oklahoma. The Cowboys probably have to win by 30 points and the performance would have to leave no doubt they are clearly the No. 2 team. It’s not going to be easy, but there’s always a chance considering how this season has played out. How much of a chance? Slim. The Cowboys have a large gap to close in the BCS standings, which makes it nearly impossible. Had Oklahoma State lost earlier in the year, it’s possible that could have helped it move into the No. 2 spot after the LSU-Alabama Round I in early November. However, losing in mid-November is difficult to overcome in the national title picture. Oklahoma State has had a great season, but I would be shocked if it finds its way into the national title game. All signs point to an Alabama-LSU rematch on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden
If the Cowboys look impressive and handle the Sooners with relative ease, there will be plenty of votes for the Pokes at No. 2. And my gut instinct is that most of those that place the Pokes above Alabama will be doing so strictly because they do not want to see a rematch — not because they actually believe that Oklahoma State is the better team. Which, in my opinion, is the wrong thing to do — just like if you voted Florida above Michigan in 2006 strictly due to the rematch factor. If a voter truly believes the Cowboys (or Gators in 2006) are the better team, they have an obligation to vote them higher. The truth of the matter is Oklahoma State actually has the better resume. The Cowboys have more BCS top 25 wins, a tougher schedule and would deserve a chance to play for the national title. However, if you asked me after all the dust has settled, who is the better team: Alabama or Oklahoma State? I am taking the Tide all day - even if a rematch doesn't jive with my inner sports philosophies.