Big 12 champs should celebrate unexpected title

By John Rohde Published: December 3, 2006
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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 .

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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma vs. Boise State

Jan. 1, 2007, at 7:30

• Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

• TV: KOKH-25

(Cox 12)

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