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Oklahoma, Oklahoma State could deliver strong blows to the SECopoly with bowl wins

BIG 12 VS. THE SEC — Next season ushers in the start of the four-team playoff, and don't look now, but the SEC is positioning itself to unofficially have two of those four spots reserved. Want to change that? Want to put doubt in people's minds that the SEC is superior? Beat 'em.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 21, 2013
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And in the process, the Sooners and Cowboys would give the Big 12 a much-needed boost.

During the SEC's run of national championships, that league has been .500 or better in bowl games each of those seven seasons. And five of those years, the league was a whopping three games or more above .500.

Overall record: 42-22.

The Big 12, by contrast, is a combined 29-27 in bowl games over the same period. In only four of seven years has the league finished bowl season with a record of .500 or better.

Included in those struggles are national title game losses to the SEC — OU to Florida in 2008 and Texas to Alabama in 2009 — as well as SEC supremacy over the Big 12 in the Cotton Bowl, an annual matchup of the two conferences. SEC teams have won nine of the last 10 Cotton Bowls, including Texas A&M's 41-13 trouncing of OU last season.

The Big 12's stature has slipped in recent years — losing two of three regular-season games to SEC opponents this year didn't help — and a strong showing in bowls would go a long ways to rehabilitating the Big 12's image.

Trouble is, league schools are favored in only two of their six bowls. Among the underdogs are OU and OSU.

Imagine the shot in the arm if the Sooners and the Cowboys, two of the league's best, were to score upsets.

It'd be big.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops doesn't buy the idea that his team or any other team is carrying the banner for the Big 12.

“There's always a lot of talk because newspapers have to be filled and airtime has to be filled,” he said. “You have to talk about something.

“We don't concern ourselves with it, really.”

Perhaps they should.

Perception is part of the game in college football, and it's going to be an even bigger part with the four-team playoff. Computers have no part in the new selection process. Teams will be picked entirely by humans. Yes, those humans will be well-informed. Yes, those humans will be armed with every bit of data that their hearts desire.

But at the end of the process, they will pick four teams for the playoff based on who they think is best.

Who among us doesn't believe SEC teams will get the benefit of the doubt, will win any ties, will dominate the process like they've dominated the sport?

When does it stop?

When teams bow up and beat them.

OU and OSU have an opportunity to do just that. They might not be able to bust up the SECopoly on their own, but they could sure deliver a couple of mighty blows.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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