As Doc T. pointed out, it would seem that Tech left their game in Norman. It appears that he was right as the Red Raiders laid a big time egg against OSU. It is hard to determine if OSU is better than we thought or if Tech is worse or if there is something else going on here.
That something else may be scheduling. I will be the first to admit that I did not see the Tech implosion coming. At the same time there is no excuse for being caught off guard given the game’s placement on the schedule. There are three parts to winning college football games. Those variables are: talent, coaching and scheduling. This third aspect jumped up and bit Tech in the butt in a big way on Saturday night. Football is an emotional game and as a result, momentum means everything. The Tech/OSU game was the ultimate trap game with the Red Raiders playing and more importantly losing a hard fought game in Norman the week before. OSU on the other hand continued to build momentum with a laugher in Ames. OSU had momentum and Tech did not.
As we know, trap games happen all the time, but for OSU opponents, at least for this year, trap games are occurring with uncanny regularity. It is also ionic that OU appears to be the team being used to lay these traps for OSU opponents. It appears that OU has become OSU’s best friend as the Big 12 schedule makers continue to schedule an opponent for OU the week before that same team plays OSU. In other words, OU softens them up the week before OSU beats them down. If this sounds a bit farfetched check out the Big 12 schedule for 2013.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding and in this case the facts are clear. During the course of this season OSU will play four teams the week after OU plays that same team. Those games include West Virginia, TCU, and Tech and Baylor. While the strategy of conference leaders did not work out as planned in Morgantown, it was not for the lack of trying. The next two games against TCU and Tech worked to perfection. Only time will tell how things will work out for the Cowboys against Baylor, but I suspect that whether Baylor wins or loses against Sooners, the Bears will be flat when they roll into Stillwater the next week. If OU were to upset the Bears in Waco, the air would rush out of their balloon and they would be extremely vulnerable in Stillwater.
The Big 12 schedulers/conspirators know exactly what they are doing. In hopes of salvaging the Big 12 conference, Bob Bowlsby and his staff have created a made for primetime schedule for the Cowboys. After all with their jobs dependent on the survival of the Big 12, making OSU into a national power is the tactic being used to save the conference and of course their jobs. Setting up trap games for OSU opponents is actually an ingenious plan. Knowing that every team will get up emotionally for OU, these Big 12 operatives have made it a point to schedule the OSU game the next week realizing that an emotional letdown is inevitable.
Is this a coincidence or smart planning by the league office? I would suggest the later. College football is big business and the Big 12 commissioner owes his livelihood and his career to making the Big 12 work. An overt manipulation of the schedule to enhance OSU’s chances is simply considered good business to these people. In order to survive in the Final Four Playoff World that begins next year, the conference must find a third team to make a mark nationally and as luck would have it, OSU is that team.
As stated earlier, the national image of the Big 12 conference was seriously damaged by the defections of Texas A&M and Nebraska. Conference officials are now playing catch up in hopes of finding one team to take up that slack. The pickings for a third team to go along with OU and Texas are slim…The threesome from the north of KU, K-State, and Iowa State are football lightweights who will never be taken seriously. The threesome from the south of Tech, TCU and Baylor will never have the fan base to make it happen. West Virginia is not what anyone expected and has become a non-factor. In other words, OSU wins by default.
Basically, what happened in Lubbock was the latest step in the drive to fulfill the wishes of conference leaders. The Red Raiders were breathing fire when they came to Norman. Undefeated and 10th ranked, Texas Tech was playing with all kinds of emotion and swagger. After leaving town after a tough loss, their swagger and momentum were both gone. Enter OSU and its manipulated schedule as the Cowboys took full advantage of the situation and left town with a trap-game win. The emotionally drained Red Raiders allowed OSU to take the home crowd out of the game early and as they say, the rest was history. The team that we saw in Lubbock at the beginning of both halves against OSU was a shell of its former self. Again, we should have seen that one coming…
If all this conspiracy talk seems a bit much, keep in mind that the grassy knoll crowd had less to go on back in the 60’s. Also remember that conference commissioners, athletic directors and university presidents are not necessarily football fans. These guys operate with the financial bottom line in mind and for them football is a means to that end. It is also important to keep in mind that conference realignment is the subject most feared by these guys and that David Boren who is complicit in this matter will avoid that discussion at all cost. For this bunch, the thought of schedule manipulation for the sake of the conference is a no-brainer.
With the final weeks of the season now front and center, it will be interested to see how this theory pans out by year’s end. If I had been smart I would have put money on OSU going into the season. With their returning cast and manipulated schedule that would have been a smart move. OSU is headed for another good year and OU will do its part to grease the skids by being the set-up man. Maybe it is time for OU to have that “C” surgically removed from its forehead. In any case, at least for now, it is what it is…
I, for one however won’t be fooled the next time around.