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BCS Rankings: Why Oklahoma State Deserves National Championship Shot vs. LSU

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 12:  Brandon Weeden #3 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys throws against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2011

As it currently stands, the Alabama Crimson Tide are the No. 2 team in the nation and are in line to play the No. 1 LSU Tigers for the National Championship. While most agree with the matchup, I think the No. 2 spot should belong to Oklahoma State if they are able to defeat Oklahoma on Saturday.

The argument for an LSU vs. Alabama National Championship Game is that it would feature the two best teams in the country. Should Oklahoma State defeat Oklahoma, finish 11-1 and win the Big 12, then I think it can easily be argued that the Cowboys are better than the Crimson Tide.

The SEC gets all the credit for being the greatest conference in college football. While it is a good conference, its reputation mostly derives from the fact that an SEC team has won the past five National Titles. That, of course, has nothing to do with the current depth of the conference, which is actually quite lackluster when you look deeper.

Alabama's schedule was incredibly easy thanks to middle-of-the-road SEC teams like Florida, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Auburn. The highest-quality wins the Tide have are over Arkansas and an offensively-inept Penn State team.

The Tide had their chance to unseat LSU, and while they pushed the game to overtime, they simply didn't get the job done. When you couple that with an incredibly overrated schedule, I'm not sure how Oklahoma State can be denied if they finish with the same record as Alabama.

This may be a blasphemous thing to say, but from top to bottom the Big 12 is a deeper and better football conference than the SEC this season. Every team other than Kansas is a threat to beat anyone in a given week in the Big 12 and because of that the games are much more high-pressured than they were for Alabama in the SEC.

Oklahoma State has quality wins over Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech, in addition to an underrated non-conference win over Tulsa. The one misstep that could cost the Cowboys was a road loss to Iowa State in overtime, but I don't think it should disqualify them.

A win over No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday would clinch the Big 12 for the Cowboys and give them seven wins over opponents who are either currently ranked in the Top 25 or were at some point during the season. With that said, I don't think there is any question that the Cowboys have had a tougher road than the Tide.

Also, I don't think conference championships are being valued enough in this discussion. The Tide aren't even the best team in their own division, yet most are quick to give them the nod as the No. 2 team. I feel like winning the Big 12 would be a huge boost for the Cowboys and I honestly believe it would push them past Alabama in the polls.

Whether or not quarterback Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma State's spread offense can move the ball on LSU's defense is another story, but this is simply about which team is more deserving. Based on their body of work, I'm not sure how anybody can argue that Alabama deserves to play for the National Championship more than Oklahoma State provided the Cowboys beat Oklahoma.

Perhaps the Tide would play a tighter game with LSU than Oklahoma State, but that doesn't make them more deserving. The Cowboys have played a tougher schedule, and if they win the Big 12, then they are truly the No. 2 team in the nation.

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