If you’re like me, the Oklahoma State-Stanford match-up Monday night in the Fiesta Bowl was the bowl season’s finest game.
And what meaning did it ultimately have? Not much and not nearly enough as what it should have had.Oklahoma State junior Justin Blackmon caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns Monday night against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. Tuesday morning he announced he was leaving for the NFL.If the winner of that game – Oklahoma State – was now awaiting the winner of the LSU-Alabama game, can you imagine the furor? The build-up? The anticipation?
Instead, the Cowboys rode off into the sunset after their overtime win over Stanford and quarterback Andrew Luck, never to be heard from again. At least not in their current state.
Already today, wide receiver Justin Blackmon has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft. Luck will be close behind and OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden has nothing to stay for.
College football is a disaster and it’s appalling to me that with so many smart people as caretakers, something isn’t done to fix this mess.
The Fiesta Bowl had five times the star power of the BCS national championship game. I’m not saying either Stanford or Oklahoma State are better teams than LSU or Alabama. But when you consider Luck and Blackmon potentially could go 1-2 in the NFL Draft, you recognize just how rare it was to see two players of that ilk on the field.
If you weren’t sold on Luck being a potential franchise-changer at the next level, I’m guessing his performance against Oklahoma State helped convince you. Luck didn’t just air it out. He leaned on his running game, which was successful all night against the Cowboys. But when Luck made a throw, it was almost always on target. And his decision making was spotless.
Blackmon is one of the finest receivers in college football history, a guy who catches everything thrown to him and who doesn’t mind getting himself dirty by blocking. And Weeden, while a tick below Luck, can help an NFL team next season.
We should get to see one more Oklahoma State game. But because of the ridiculous BCS system, we won’t. Without a doubt LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Stanford are the nation’s four best teams. You can make an argument for Oregon, but I think the top four is clear cut. It would have made for a great four-team playoff.
Instead, there is a feeling of been-there, done-that when it comes to Alabama vs. LSU for the BCS title Monday night in New Orleans. No one doubts the quality of the teams, but if there was going to be a re-match between the two SEC clubs it should have come only after a playoff system produced it.
It’s not fair to either LSU or Alabama, either.
American sports fans would be talking about nothing but college football if a playoff was in place and Oklahoma State was now half of the championship picture, set to play the LSU-Alabama winner. The Cowboys’ dynamic offense against the stout SEC defenses or either the Tigers or Tide.
Instead, there is nowhere for Oklahoma State to go besides to go home. The thrill of an exciting victory quickly collapsed into the realization that the season was over. Over before it should have been over.