Some of #BuckeyeNation thought the Buckeyes should have been here instead of Oklahoma.
#11 Oklahoma(10-2/7-2 BIG12) versus #3 Alabama (11-1/7-1 SEC)
Thursday, January 2nd, 8:30 EST ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, LA
I am still amazed at how little history some of the super powers in college football have played each other. I guess that could explain how several have been able to stay in the top ten in all-time wins (Oklahoma #7, Alabama #9). Oklahoma holds the edge in the series with two wins, a tie and a loss that came the first time they faced each other in 1963 which Bama won 17-0. After the tie, Oklahoma has owned Bama in back to back regular season affairs in 2002 and 2003. Check out more from the series with this StatMilks match-up.
Mr. BCS coach Bob Stoops has some work to do to get out of the cellar with his 3-5 overall record in BCS Bowls which includes losing his last three national title appearances. No one team has played in and won more than Ohio State (10/6), but Stoops has been the king of conference titles and BCS appearances in his 15 seasons which includes a national title.
There hasn’t been a clear cut favorite for play maker on the offensive side of the ball but since I have to pick one I will go with the talented QB in a full backs body Blake Bell. The Sooners QB has had to share the post with Trevor Knight who has actually rushed for more yards than Bell on the season. Bell is no stranger to coming into the game in wildcat and scoring TD’s but his best attribute this season has been his growth in throwing the football. He hasn’t had ridiculous numbers but he has taken care of the football and led an offense that wasn’t quite as high power as in the past.
A young defensive core led the Sooners to the best defense in the Big12 this season ad will need All of them to step up if they want to win this game. The leader of the young group has been sophomore defensive end Charles Tapper who led the team in sacks and TFL’s (5.5/9). In most games this season he drew double teams on the edge and had little issue stepping up and making a play. If the Sooners hope to contain the powerful running attack from Bama Tapper will have to have the game of his life.
If Bob Stoops is Mr. BCS, then Nick Saban has been Mr. BCS National Championship. He will end the BCS era with the most titles over-all and won by one school (4/3 Alabama), and has secured himself among the elite of the elite as head coaches in the history of college football. After a “tiny” scare of the possibility of losing Saban to Texas, the Crimson Tide faithful can let out a sigh of relief and believe he has the upper hand in this game.
The Tide have been loaded with talent on offense and defense for several years pumping out NFL talent better than most programs. This team has been about their QB AJ McCarron who just wins football games and takes care of the football. His ridiculous career marks of 8000 plus in yards and 75 TD’s to just 13 INT’s will rank him as the best to ever play for Alabama under center. He will be the key to this game throwing the football, as he goes so will the Tide offense because Oklahoma has one of the better rush defenses in the country.
Defensively, the Tide has a pro style attacking group that’s #2 in the nation holding opponents to 11.3 a game and less than 275 yards for #5 in total defense. They haven’t sacked alot of QB’s over the season but they have done their best at slowing them down. CJ Mosely is a definite NFL level talented LBer who will wreak some havoc on Blake Bell and company. The hard hitter seems to always be around the football and is the team leader in tackles(102) by a long shot and was on several awards lists.
Ohio State Versus
One would have to certainly believe that the Buckeyes would have loved to be in this game. Even after the disappointment of the winning streak ending loss to MSU in the B1G title game and not being in the final edition of the BCS Championship? I believe they still wanted the measuring mark of the chance to beat the king of the mountain.
The Buckeyes have not played either of the teams in this game very often and have a home and home scheduled with the Sooners in 2016 and ’17 which is a highly anticipated series that could break the tie between the two. The Buckeyes played Oklahoma and Alabama for the first time in the very same 1977 season. They lost at home to Oklahoma in a barn burner in The Shoe 29-28 and got shellacked by the Tide in the Sugar Bowl 35-6. Their next game was against the Sooners in 1983 in Boomer Sooner land and defeated them in an all-time classic 24-14. They came close in the next two match-ups with Bama, losing in the Kick-off classic in ’86 16-10 and in the Citrus Bowl in ’95 24-17.
Alabama - Everybody
Oklahoma – (crickets)
Sometimes these match-ups come down to the coaching, but this game is all about the talent. The talent that Bama has with experience versus the young talent Stoops has that needs this experience to get better. Without some major turnovers that change the complexion of the game entirely, Alabama really shouldn’t have any trouble with the Sooners. The head to head pairings of offense versus defense could really turn into one of the worst losses in coach Stoops career. The good news is spring ball will be around soon enough and the repairs can and will be made by the good coach. Alabama 43-24.