KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You're on an eight-game winning streak. You have served crow not only to the entire college football nation, but also to a healthy portion of your most loyal followers. You took an unassuming, unselfish, unheralded wide receiver and made him your starting quarterback only five weeks before the season opener. You played your last seven games without a Heisman Trophy contender and went undefeated without him. You got jobbed on the worst officiating call of the season (which is saying something) and lost to your archrival after handing the ball over five times. Despite this entire mess, you're the Big 12 champs, thanks to Saturday night's 21-7 victory over long-time rival Nebraska at Arrow-head Stadium. Time for the Oklahoma Sooners to reap their reward — a Fiesta Bowl appearance against Boise State. That's right, OU beat long odds and busted its hump all season long for the right to play the Western Athletic Conference champion. Snicker all you want, but the Sooners couldn't be happier. In his eight seasons as OU's coach, Bob Stoops perhaps shouldn't be more proud than he is this morning. When Stoops won the 2000 national crown in only his second year, the football gods smiled upon his Sooners. OU had a quarterback with a 200 football IQ and didn't suffer an injury worse than a hang nail en route to winning the program's seventh national title. That year, the Sooners rode the wave of good fortune. This year, they dove head-first into a tidal wave of misfortune and came out high and dry. Had you told the OU faithful before the 2006 season they eventually would face Boise State in a bowl game, a BCS berth certainly wouldn't have seemed in the mix. Yet here are the Sooners, making their fifth BCS bowl appearance under Stoops' reign — Two Orange bowls, one Rose, one Sugar and now the Fiesta . In triumph, the OU defense mistreated one of its homeboys. The week started out much better than it ended for Nebraska quarterback and former Norman High School product Zac Taylor. It commenced by being named Big 12 offensive player of the year and ended with his worst outing of the season on a half-a-hundred attempts and three interceptions. "We just couldn't answer when we had to answer," NU coach Bill Callahan said. On this night, a sellout crowd of 80,031 braved temperatures in the 20s to watch two of college football's most storied programs . In a terrific setting, Arrowhead Stadium once again was seeing red. Normally, it's the red-clad, hometown NFL Chiefs. The crimson-colored Sooners have participated all four times the Big 12 title game has been held at Arrowhead and they are now 3-1 in the facility. Now, for who's got next ... Only two unbeatens remain in Division I-A — top-ranked Ohio State and Boise State. The 12-0 Broncos gained their Fiesta Bowl berth two ways: by finishing in the top 12 of the BCS standings and by finishing ahead of Atlantic Coast Conference champion Wake Forest. Quarterback Jared Zabransky has thrown for 2,325 yards and 20 touchdowns. Running back Ian Johnson has rushed for 1,613 yards and 24 touchdowns. If that's not impressive enough, the Broncos are 39-1 in conference play since 2002. Take the school name off their jerseys and Boise State is more than worthy of your respect. The Broncos should at least garner your attention. But that game is four weeks away. For now, the Sooners can enjoy a conference title that no one saw coming — no one outside the OU locker room, anyway. "I don't care what people think on the outside," Thompson said. Nor should he.
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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Boise StateJan. 1, 2007, at 7:30 • Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. • TV: KOKH-25 (Cox 12)