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November 28, 2008

Texas puts pressure on Oklahoma with win

Texas' 49-9 victory over a rebuilding Texas A&M team reminded me just how much of a "what have you done for me lately" situation it is with the weekly BCS rankings.

You could not walk away from that game without being impressed again with how good this Longhorn team is and how equally deserving (along with Oklahoma and Texas Tech) they are to represent the Big 12 South in the conference championship game.

I realize that in our roundtable discussion I said I felt that if Oklahoma beats No.12 Oklahoma State that they would stay ahead of Texas in the next BCS poll. However, after watching last night's total dominance by the Longhorns over the Aggies, I have to wonder if an unimpressive win by Oklahoma on Saturday will actually hurt them among the voters who have ranked them above Texas in both human polls.

I say this because I know I am reserving my opinion of where the two should be ranked until after I see Oklahoma play Oklahoma State.

Considering the fact the Sooners have laid an egg in at least one big road game in each of the last four years, it makes you wonder if this game against the Cowboys is a lock in the first place.

I also wonder just a little bit how it will affect the voters knowing where they vote Oklahoma and Texas this week will very likely decide who will be playing for the national championship. We can pretty much guesstimate how the computer rankings are going to turn out next week, so the deciding factor will be the subjective voting in the human polls.

Speaking of the Oklahoma Sooners, after watching them annihilate Texas Tech in Norman last week all I could think about while broadcasting the game was "scheme shmeme" - give me talent every time.

As my good friend Jim Donnan likes to remind me, "It's not the X's and the O's, it's the Jimmys and the Joes."

It was the third game in a row that I covered the Red Raiders from the booth. Like so many of you out there, I became enamored with the Mike Leach system. It looked unstoppable against Texas and Oklahoma State the two previous games. Then I saw an Oklahoma team that got to the quarterback a little quicker, covered the receivers a little closer, tackled in the open field a little better, and knocked the defensive line off the ball a little further.

The same Texas Tech offensive scheme that was virtually unstoppable against everybody else this year could not get the exact same plays to work. I talked to several NFL scouts who told me Oklahoma had about seven or eight guys who are going to be drafted into the NFL, and Texas Tech might have two on the second day (they would not discuss redshirt sophomores like Michael Crabtree that might come out early).

However, if you are saying to yourself, "we just need to go out and recruit better players", that is easier said than done. There are very few teams in the country that have the ability to attract the level of talent that Oklahoma does.

Most teams are more like Texas Tech: They can recruit a few great players and a lot of good ones and must make up the difference with other factors like execution, intensity, and yes, "scheme shmeme."

Terry Bowden is Rivals.com college football analyst. For more information about Terry, visit his official web site. Click here to view previous articles. To send Terry a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

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