The Sugar Bowl selected No. 11 Oklahoma to face No. 3 Alabama in its game, a decision that surprised some, who believed tenth-ranked Oregon would have been a better choice.
An Alabama-Oregon game would've matched up the teams many believed were destined for a meeting in the BCS National Championship Game. The Ducks, though, lost at Stanford on Nov. 7, and then were routed 42-16 at Arizona on Nov. 23.
Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan was asked Sunday night on a media conference call about the possibility that OU's selection was a “business decision.”
“Well, business always enters into the discussion as you sit and analyze your possibilities as our board did this past Thursday night, but obviously there are a lot of other variables that come into play,” Hoolahan responded.
“I think when you take a look at the way Oklahoma performed, and their last games particularly on the road and this particular game this weekend against No. 6 Oklahoma State, it's hard not to be impressed with the way they've been performing of late.
“I think it was a very difficult decision needless to say. There were other highly capable and attractive teams out there in the pool that we looked at, and when it came down to it, we just felt convinced that this was going to be the best decision for us at this particular time.”
IKARD WINS SELMON AWARD
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard has been named the winner of the Lee Roy Selmon Spirit Award.
The award is given to the college football player "who best represents the qualities of character that Selmon displayed with an emphasis on academic excellence and a commitment to community service."
The winners are selected by Selmon's widow, Claybra, and sons Lee Roy Jr. and Christopher.
"To receive this award from the Selmon family is truly humbling," Ikard said in a statement. "Particularly for a native Oklahoman like myself, to be the first individual from the University of Oklahoma to be recognized for representing everything that the Selmon family stands for is one of the most meaningful honors of my career."