KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Juaquin Iglesias came to Oklahoma in 2005, the Sooners had been to three national championship games in five years, including the most recent two. He figured such frequency was standard operating procedure in Soonerville. He figured wrong. OU hasn’t returned to college football’s grandest stage since. Only four Sooners — fifth-year seniors Cory Bennett, Quentin Chaney, Alan Davis and Lendy Holmes — were on the 2004 squad that was blistered by Southern Cal, and none played in that Orange Bowl. That drought can end tonight in Arrowhead Stadium, where the Sooners play Missouri in one of the day’s two national semifinals. Alabama and Florida play in the SEC title game for one BCS title berth. The Big 12 title game provides the other semifinal, with the Sooners surely headed to Miami with a victory and Texas headed there if its proxy, Mizzou, pulls the upset. "We’ve never been,” said Iglesias, a senior flanker with 188 career catches. "Now it’s right there. We want to get it.” Time was, Bob Stoops was to the BCS title game what Duke was to the Final Four. Not automatic, but close to it. Three in five years, a success rate matched only by Florida State (three straight title games, 1998-00 seasons). But then came a mediocre team (2005) and bad luck (Oregon fiasco 2006, Sam Bradford’s concussion at Texas Tech 2007). The Sooners have learned that these chances don’t come easy. "Everybody thought we could just show up and win,” Iglesias said of his early Sooner days. This Sooner season shows how precarious is a title run. OU’s 45-35 loss to Texas — maybe you’ve heard of it — put the Sooners in a hole for half a season. The now infamous three-way tie in the Big 12 South reprieved the Sooners; they won the BCS rankings runoff and land here, with only bedraggled Missouri in their way. "It would be very special,” said junior defensive end Jeremy Beal. "A once-in-a-lifetime deal.” That’s not necessarily true. Those early Stoops Sooners proved that. But these chances are to be treasured. No assurance they will pass this way again. "It’s obviously incredibly difficult,” Stoops said of making the title game. "Look around the country, how many teams have never been to one. "You feel fortunate anytime you’re able to put together one of those years and see it through. "You fight every week to improve as a team and keep making strides so that down the stretch you hope to be in that position and give yourself an opportunity.” That’s what these Sooners have done. At mid-year, the OU running game, the OU defense and the OU kicking teams all were suspect. Now the Sooners soon will have two 1,000-yard rushers in DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. Their defense, while still occasionally burned, shut down Texas Tech. And the kicking game, well, sometimes it doesn’t stink. Should be more than enough to get the Sooners to Miami, where Juaquin Iglesias and Co. most certainly won’t take the title game for granted. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.