Texas-Ohio State: Fiesta Bowl Teams Battle for Fans' Respect

Ron StilesCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2009

Texas vs. Ohio State in the Fiesta Monday night is the battle between two teams that need respect.

Texas (11-1) finished strong in the Big 12 South, only to watch two teams it beat, in the course of the year, play for the Big 12 title. 

Ohio State, the NCAA stepchild who has won a championship and conference titles but has not performed in its last two outings in the NC title games. They both bring great coaches, players, and programs into the game with the intent to win.

The question is: Do we care and how will the win or loss affect football on the national stage?

With a loss or poorly played game, it's easy. Ohio State remains the same. There is no redemption.  With Texas, it's not as bad, but just as fatal. No, you didn't deserve to go. Oklahoma was the better team.

If Ohio State wins, it can have no bearing on the top spot in football. It will allow the Buckeyes to brag once again next year that they belong, but that is next year.

The Longhorns had the most to gain in this match-up.  Forced to cheer on Oklahoma in its last two games of the regular season before the Big 12 final, they are in the same boat again. They need an Oklahoma win, but a bad one.  With a bad Sooners win, Texas has a realistic chance to backdoor into a AP split National championship.

With the football that was played yesterday, the dream for Texas is gone.  Texas Tech was beaten soundly. Utah remained undefeated. That leaves the Longhorns, with a win, at best in third place, but probably only fourth behind USC and Utah.

I will watch, but the emotional reasons as to why I wanted to watch it are now gone.

If the BCS rules were simplified, if they were only allowed to invite the top ranked teams across America, if Texas would have been allowed to play in the Rose Bowl...

...the football games played, the fans' support, and the end result could be a lot different today.