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November 30, 2008

Sooners are in

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops woke up Sunday morning with a strange feeling. His Sooners had beaten No. 11 Oklahoma State 61-41 a few hours earlier, but something didn’t feel right.

“I had to remind myself that we won last night,” he said. “You play a rival team that’s ranked and at their place and win by 20 and wake up and you have a knot in your stomach.”

The Bowl Championship Series rankings will do that to a man when the entire season rides on how two human polls and six computer formulas decide to rank the best teams in college football.

In the end, OU had nothing to worry about.

It jumped to No. 2 Sunday afternoon in the BCS rankings and will represent the Big 12 South against Missouri in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

A victory would send the Sooners (11-1) to the BCS title game against the winner of the SEC title game between Florida and Alabama Jan. 8 in Miami.

The Sooners put themselves in this position by a margin thinner than a fashion model. They were second in the USA Today coaches poll with Texas one point behind. The Longhorns were one spot ahead in the Harris Interactive poll at No. 3 with OU one spot behind, the difference just six points.

It was a strange turnabout in both polls. OU led the Longhorns in both heading into Saturday night’s games. Texas rolled through unranked and under-.500 Texas A&M; 49-9 Thursday night. The Sooners’ victory over the Cowboys was just as, if not more, impressive.

Luckily for them, the computers took notice.

OU jumped to No. 1 in the average of the six computer rankings — ahead of undefeated and top-ranked Alabama.

Stoops, who has said many times that he doesn’t know how to check e-mail, was praising the computer component of the BCS Sunday.

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