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Hypothetical Fun With: The Moral Universe's Theoretically Just Construction of the Oklahoma Sooners

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A while back, someone asked SMQ how Oklahoma's dubious defeat at Oregon - the one, you'll recall, that featured the heinous illegal touching no-call on an onside kick actually recovered by the Sooners to ice the win they then proceeded to deliver to the Ducks on a platter fashioned from the smoldering remains of the OU secondary - should affect Oklahoma's poll status. SMQ to this point has inconsistently regarded the Oregon game as a straight-up defeat and, more often, as kind of "half loss." Certainly it shouldn't be nullified or anything.

Regardless, Oklahoma's subsequent loss to Texas, on a schedule otherwise bereft of heavyweights, and the presumably crippling loss of borderline mutant rusher Adrian Peterson relegated the Sooners to the backburner. In terms of the mythical championship picture, even with OU's shocking de facto ascension into the Big XII Championship Game and January VIP lists courtesy of its defense, surprising offensive balance and chief rival's late collapse, that's where they remain.

Dennis Dodd, though, in a succession of paragraphs with single-digit word counts on CBS Sportsline Monday, says because of the call at Oregon, it doesn't have to be that way:

For the record, Bob Stoops is still bitter about Oregon. The problem is, that's about all that's on the record for the Oklahoma coach when it comes to the events of Sept. 16.

But we'll say it for him.

Somebody lied.

Somebody lied about the replay fiasco at Oregon that cost Oklahoma a shot at the national championship. With the proper conclusion to that game, the Sooners would be 11-1 instead of 10-2, at least in the discussion for the national title.


One-a these days, ref. One-a these days!...

If highly trained and compensated members of the mainstream media can take the wayback machine to the hazy realm of alternative history to judge the hypothetical landscape of a hypothetical present, SMQ can, too.

Dodd's premise - "With the proper conclusion to that game, the Sooners would be 11-1 instead of 10-2, at least in the discussion for the national title" - assumes officials who do not award a team possession of a loose ball on the basis of a pileup in which said ball is not even located, a subsequent 33-27 OU victory at Oregon and unchanging results over the course of the remainder of the season for Oklahoma or at least any other myhtical championship contenders. Under those circumstances, OU's "blind" resume - sans specific opponents, in favor of generalized categories, for the sake of easier direct comparison - relative to the other one-loss teams vying to play Ohio State would look like this:

Florida Michigan Oklahoma So. Cal
Losses 1 1 1 1
Opponent Win % 0.614 0.590 0.534 0.577
Avg. Margin of Victory + 15.8 15.6 14.2 17.2
BCS Conference Opponents 9 10 10 11
Record vs. Ranked ++ 2-1 2-1 1-1 4-0
Avg. MOV vs. Ranked 1.3 12.3 -8.5 22.0
Record vs. Bowl Eligible 8-1 6-1 6-1 8-1
Avg. MOV vs. Bowl Eligible 8.89 13.7 11.4 14.6
+ Avg. Margin of Victory=Difference in points scored/allowed in all games (including losses)
++ Ranked=Teams currently ranked in either the AP, Coaches or Harris polls
Bold=Best number in category
Italics=Worst number in category

While we?re in hypothetical fantasyland, let?s say Florida and Southern Cal lose this weekend, however farfetched the assumption: how badly would Oklahoma have to beat Nebraska to close the obvious gaps between itself and Michigan? Presumably by more than 28-10.

At the moment, Oklahoma?s various poll positions are 8 (AP, along with Arkansas), 10 (Coaches), 11 (Harris) and 12 (BCS), the first three of which are able to factor in the circumstances of the loss at Oregon. Louisville and Wisconsin are flip-flopping around at 6-7 in each of the same rankings, but neither is considered a mythical championship contender - Wisconsin, in fact, has already committed to the Citrus Capital One Bowl, its BCS dreams crushed by its conference circumstance. Using the same criteria as above:

Louisville Oklahoma Wisconsin
Losses 1 1 1
Opponent Win % 0.587 0.534 0.511
Avg. Margin of Victory 21.5 14.2 18.3
BCS Opponents 10 10 8
Record vs. Ranked 1-1 1-1 0-1
Avg. MOV vs. Ranked 3.5 -8.5 -14
Record vs. Bowl Eligible 8-1 6-1 4-1
Avg. MOV vs. Bowl-eligible 17.8 11.4 11.2

Wisconsin comes out on the short end of that stick, decisively, but Louisville's advantage over both the Badgers and Sooners, in spite of the skepticism surrounding the strength of the Big East, in a method that doesn't even recognize that UL also has easily the most impressive win of the three (West Virginia), is just as clear. OU's most valuable victory - still including the time warp "correction" in Eugene - is probably 17-16 at Texas A&M. If Louisville's not a serious championship contender with a game to play, how could Oklahoma enjoy the distinction? By name brand only. In the most generous reality of our selectively constructed reality, the Sooners are probably no higher than fifth in any poll.

But just love what you've done otherwise without your starting quarterback, your all-universe superstar tailback, 40 percent of your original offensive line or a shred of luck, Bobby!