Harrison On The Fiesta - No Split Title

Posted Jan 2, 2012

Phil Harrison's thoughts on Oklahoma State win over Stanford in the Fiesta

Phil Harrison
Harrison: Oklahoma State Deserves No Claim for a Share of the Naitonal Title

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Oklahoma State just polished off arguably its best season in its long college football history, and there are going to be fans of the Cowboys clamoring for recognition. Some of that recognition is going to center around the ship that has been steered by Mike Gundy all year getting a split title if LSU happens to lose in the BCS Championship game next week.


Look, there is no denying that Oklahoma State is one of the best teams in the country, that Brandon Weeden is an ultra-talented QB, and that the Cowboys could play with about anyone. But could they beat anyone? If we're talking about the creme of the crop in the SEC, then that answer is a resounding--no.

Even if LSU loses next Monday night, Alabama would have just one loss (as would LSU) along with OSU. The sad news for Cowboy followers is that the resumes just don't stack up for Oklahoma State to be considered for a share of the national championship. Yes, it absolutely demolished an overinflated Oklahoma team, and sure the offense can make a Madden football contest look like the single wing, but there are a few glaring warts that must be examined.

And it all starts with defense. We've all heard the cliche about defense winning championships, and if that's the case--and it generally is--then the Cowboys will be hiding in the corner when examining this phase of the game. Yup. Despite the ungodly offensive numbers, Oklahoma State ranked a ridiculous 106th in total defense when the dust cleared on the regular season. Who really believes that OSU could slow down either LSU or Alabama on offense? But pair up a Tide or Tiger defense--ranked No. 1 and 2 respectively-- against Oklahoma State, and is there any doubt that the Cowboy offense would hit quicksand?

Then, most importantly, and quite unfortunately, there was this game. For Oklahoma State to have a legitimate shot at all of the Tostitos, it needed to railroad Stanford. It needed to beat the Cardinal back into the pre-Harbaugh era. It needed a strong showing because the Cardinal got white-walled by an Oregon team AT home. This is the same Oregon squad that got handily beat by--you guessed it--the Bayou Tigers on a neutral field.

Now sure you can't always compare apples to oranges, but in this case, there is a common opponent meaning we can at least compare granny smith apples to red delicious. Advantage and tie break to Alabama by beating a better LSU team on January 9th.

So congratulate Oklahoma State. Congratulate them on a fine season, and a season in which it proved a lot of doubters wrong. But before you go to the water cooler to argue that the Cowboys deserve a shared title, remember that it lost to a very mediocre Iowa State team on the road, needed a missed FG to escape with a win in the desert, and couldn't hold a candle to a more physical, more talented, and more deserving SEC squad.