Never mind those references comparing this year's Oklahoma football team to the 2003 edition. This season is beginning to look an awful lot like 2004. Though it is still summer, fans aren't particularly patient people, so we have to figure all this out now. With 12 weekends remaining in the regular season, OU and Southern California seem to be on a collision course for the BCS national championship game in Miami. We went down this road four seasons ago, and it was a dead end for the Sooners, losing 55-19 to the Trojans in the Orange Bowl. It was in 2004 when three BCS conference champions in USC, OU and Auburn, plus Utah of the Mountain West, all entered the bowl season unbeaten. An eerily similar combination could hold true this season with USC, the Big 12 champ, the SEC champ, plus BYU of the Mountain West all going unbeaten again. In 2004, Auburn and Utah were left out of the Orange Bowl. If this scenario repeats itself, OU and BYU figure to be the ones shut out. The SEC is the top conference this season, and the Big 12 is second-best. If the SEC and Big 12 champs go unbeaten, logically they should meet in the BCS title game. That won't be the case if, as expected, USC beats up on inferior Pac-10 opponents the rest of the season. If USC and the SEC champ are both unbeaten, the Big 12 could finally play the role of victim in the BCS title game. OU got a controversial nod over Miami in the 2000 season, Nebraska got the nod over Oregon in 2001, OU got the nod over USC in 2003 and OU got the nod again over Auburn in 2004. What goes around, comes around — and it all could come back around on the Sooners. We're predicting an awful lot of perfection here, which seems odd seeing how last year's national champ finished with two losses. We should know better than to try to figure all this out too soon, particularly when the usual suspects are involved, but it is too darn tempting. "Seriously, have we forgotten last season?” said Dennis Dodd of CBSSportsline. "Oklahoma and USC were in this exact same position last season and a couple of little things called Stanford and Colorado came along. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.” USC was 6-0 and on a roll in 2006 before stumbling 33-31 at Oregon State. In 2007, OU and USC were both 4-0 before choking against inferior foes. The Sooners lost 27-24 at Colorado. The Trojans lost at home 24-23 to a Stanford team that was a 42-point underdog and using its backup quarterback. OU and USC need to finish what they've started this season. If we indeed are headed for an Orange Bowl rematch between the Sooners and Trojans, hopefully it'll be far more competitive. "As Barry Switzer told me last year, ‘Bob (Stoops) knows who won the game,' but what memories we could rehash about that last Orange Bowl romp,” said Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times. Advancing to Miami would give OU a chance to redeem itself from its last national championship embarrassment. USC also failed in its last title game appearance, losing 41-38 to Texas three seasons ago in perhaps the greatest college game ever played. "Both mega-talented programs want to show they still have it,” Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com said of the Sooners and Trojans. "If a rematch occurs, will the outcome be different? Who knows? But if each is unbeaten and playing for the BCS title, I think USC will be favored by seven or fewer points.” Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com said, "I think Oklahoma is very, very good. It doesn't look like an obvious mismatch. If that's not damning the Sooners with faint praise, I don't know what is.” And the winner? "It will be USC in a nail biter,” said analyst and former coach Terry Bowden of Yahoo! Sports. Here's hoping we get to find out.
Adrian Peterson and the Sooners didn't have good luck against USC in the national championship game. Will the two teams meet again this season? BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE