Big 12 football: Lamenting the loss of a title game
Several times Saturday night, ABC’s cameras showed an aerial view of Cowboys Stadium, glittering in the Texas night. Inside, the stadium buzzed with excitement, a sellout crowd roaring at every turn.
And I thought, the Big 12 wants to walk away from this?
After DeMontre Hurst broke up Taylor Martinez’s final pass and Oklahoma had secured the championship, the Sooners celebrated wildly and confetti fell from the rafters. Bob Stoops, his voice gone, talked of the splendor of winning such a game, which OU did 23-20 over Nebraska.
And I thought, Stoops and the Sooners want to walk away from this?
The Big 12 title game is officially dead, with the conference moving to 10 teams and no one in leadership — with the exception of Bill Snyder — standing up for the title game’s honor.
But maybe we’ve focused too much on what the Big 12 title game means. Maybe we should focus on how it feels.
Do you think Stoops and the Sooners have had a better feeling since, oh, maybe 2000? Winning that Orange Bowl against Florida State was sublime, but beating the Huskers in a storybook Big 12 title game produced euphoria.
A tough, tense title game that could have gone either way but went to the Sooners despite a 17-0 hole. Where will Stoops and the Sooners find that feeling again anytime soon? Certainly not in the Fiesta Bowl. The Texas games are like this, usually, but that’s another argument to keep the Big 12 title game. Replicating something as cool as OU-Texas? Who doesn’t sign up for that?
Next year, OU could win the Big 12 with a victory over Baylor. Or win it without even playing. The odds are long that the conference’s top two teams will meet in a season-ending game. With a championship game, the odds were certain that the conference title would be decided on a singular night, between two teams.
Hey, Big 12. Are you sure you want to do this? Hey, Bob Stoops. Are you sure you want to give up a chance at the feeling you had Saturday night, when your players leaped for joy and confetti fell from the sky?
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