STILLWATER — The week started with Oklahoma looking like a lock for the Alamo Bowl. It had no shot at Big 12 Conference championship and the league’s path for an at-large BCS bowl berth was blocked by Northern Illinois.
Thanks to the 16th-ranked Huskies’ loss Friday night in the MAC championship game, they’re gone from the BCS equation. The Sooners’ 33-24 victory over sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium the door is wide open for them to play in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 in New Orleans.
“If any other 10-2 teams are why wouldn’t we be?” OU coach Bob Stoops said when asked if his team deserved to play in one of college football’s marquee bowl games.
The Sugar Bowl will take the SEC champion, if it is not playing in the BCS title game, and an at-large team. After Saturday’s games, it appears to come down to the Sooners and Oregon for the other spot.
The Ducks, who didn’t play Saturday, will be ranked higher in the BCS standings when they’re released Sunday night. They entered the week at No. 12. But OU, which entered the week at No. 17, will rise into the top 16, which makes them eligible, and has a future bowl tie-in on its side.
Beginning next season, the Big 12 and the SEC will send its champions to New Orleans for the inaugural Champions Bowl. The Sugar Bowl organizers seem keen on getting that relationship with the Big 12 started a year early.
The Sooners, which finished tied for second in the Big 12 with the Cowboys and Texas, will be the second-highest ranked Big 12 team behind league champion Baylor.
It won’t become official until the BCS bowl bids are announced Sunday night, but all the stars are lining up for the Sooners to be back in a BCS bowl game.
Follow me @john_shinn
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.