The Norman Transcript


December 2, 2007

Fiesta bound

Teams reach a Bowl Championship games as a reward for a successful season. But Oklahoma and West Virginia, who will meet in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2 in Glendale, Ariz., accepted their invitations in a similar manner.

There’s a sense of disappointment with both teams that they’re not playing a couple of days later in New Orleans for the national championship.

“Very honored and thrilled to be invited to the Fiesta Bowl,” West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said Sunday night after the bowl invitations were officially extended. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. It’s been less than 24 hours since we lost our last game.”

The ninth-ranked Mountaineers (11-2) secured a BCS bowl slot by winning the Big East Conference title. But it only needed to beat lowly Pittsburgh Saturday night to advance to the BCS championship game.

Like just about every other team that was in that position, West Virginia’s hopes were dashed in stunning fashion. The heavily favored Mountaineers fell 13-9 to the Panthers.

The third-ranked Sooners (11-2) are all too familiar with the feeling. Their national championship aspirations were mutilated a few weeks earlier with a stunning loss to Texas Tech.

However, that is the shared experiences end.

OU followed up its second loss of the season with its best two performances of the season.

While West Virginia was being knocked for a loop, the Sooners were taking then-No. 1 Missouri to the woodshed in a 38-17 victory in the Big 12 title game. The victory gave OU its fifth conference title in eight years and second straight.

The dominant performance changed some opinions about the Sooners. OU coach Bob Stoops aggressively lobbied after the game for his team for his team to reach the national championship game.

Some two-loss team had to be picked to face one-loss Ohio State for all the marbles. Why not select the squad that had just bludgeoned the previous No. 1?

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