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Kansas City columnist: Oklahoma edging out Texas is 'criminal'

By Jason Whitlock / The Kansas City Star, Mo. Modified: December 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm •  Published: December 1, 2008

This being America and all, I'll never understand the near-violent opposition to sportswriters settling college sports' No. 1 debate at the ballot box.

There should be no surprise that Associated Press and Harris Poll voters picked the right team in the Oklahoma-Texas debate. Meanwhile, the coaches' poll and I'll presume several computer rankings screwed up the Big 12 South standings, giving the Sooners a slight edge in the BCS standings and sending them to the Big 12 championship game at Arrowhead Stadium.

The AP poll is composed of mostly legitimate journalists. The Harris poll is made up of a mixture of journalists, former coaches and players.

AP and Harris voters could comprehend a simple, unavoidable fact: On a neutral field, Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35 this season.

There's nothing left to debate. It doesn't matter that Oklahoma's nonconference victories are more impressive than Texas'. It doesn't matter that Oklahoma is playing "better" football at the end of the season.

Texas beat Oklahoma.

And I don't care about the three-way tie, and the fact that Texas Tech beat Texas. We're allowed to use common sense when deciding a complex situation.

The Red Raiders lost a game by 44 points this season. The Red Raiders barely beat Baylor this season. The Red Raiders needed a last-second touchdown to slip by Texas.

Tech had a magical year, beat up a bunch of cupcakes early and hung on for an 11-1 season. It's a fluke. Oklahoma exposed the Red Raiders and Mike Leach's gimmicky offense.

There was one primary question to debate Sunday morning when filling out a ballot: Texas or Oklahoma?

Journalists answered appropriately. The AP and Harris had Alabama No. 1 followed by Florida, Texas and Oklahoma. The coaches were wrong twice. They ranked Alabama No. 1 followed by Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

In my view, the Gators should be No. 2. Their one loss -- a 31-30 defeat at the hands of Ole Miss -- was far more fluky than Texas' or Oklahoma's. Florida turned it over three times against Ole Miss, and the Rebels scored 31 points despite gaining just 10 first downs. And I have to believe Florida has faced stouter defenses in the SEC than what the Sooners and Longhorns have seen in the Big 12.

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