Originally Published: Dec 28, 2010 12:8 PM CDT
Underdogs do well in bowl games for a couple of reasons. Big favorites get complacent having weeks to sit around and hearing how of their superiority. Big underdogs become more focused, determined and better prepared having to sit around hearing how they don’t have a chance.
Big underdogs like UConn make use of the extra preparation time to really scheme opponents, especially like OU who run unconventional offenses that can be too much to handle during the regular in-season work week. Underdogs like the fact there are five weeks between the final regular season game till the bowl game. That will help the Huskies be more prepared for OU’s up-tempo offense and the stress it puts on defenses by not having to sub to run a myriad of formations and plays.
Big favorites have the obvious advantage that usually trumps all others. They have bigger, stronger, faster, better players and typically in better coaches in programs who are accustomed to winning.
A big factor in OSU’s Alamo Bowl game with Arizona is how effective Mike Stoops is with the information he’s gotten from big brother Bob and OU’s DC Brent Venables. The Sooners surprised OSU OC Dana Holgerson with a new-look defense that shut down the vaunted run game of the Cowboys. But two OSU has two things going for it in minimizing any advantage MStoops would have in putting in wrinkles to his defense that worked in Bedlam. The Cowboys won’t see the same quality of athlete and Holgerson will have had time to come up with things to counter the new scheme (one assumes he’s done this even though his attention has been in large part on getting the new gig at W Va.
I know some football people who’ve stubbornly ignored one key fact that is overlooked in OU’s losses in Fiesta Bowl gamesparticularly the loss to Boise in OT. Do you realize that Boise was really good and OU was no better than an average by Bob Stoops’ standards? Proof was the fact that Boise was only a seven-point underdog. It should never be considered one of the biggest upsets in college football history when a quality team that is only a one TD underdog winsno matter the logo on the helmet.
OU should not have lost that game, especially in the manner it did when they let Boise rally from a double-digit lead late in the game. And they definitely should be criticized for their 20 point loss to a 7 point underdog in the 2008 Fiesta the year after Boise. But losing to a TD underdog in OT has been completely been blown out of proportion.
Stoors, CN is 22 miles from Bristol, CN. With UConn being a favorite of the sports TV Bible, a Huskie upset of the Sooners would make OU’s loss to Boise seem like a blip on the radar screen. And the Boise upset as but a 7-point dog has been promoted as one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football.
-I’ll be surprised of OSU doesn’t rack up some numbers against an Arizona defense that’s not up to the standards of what’ve we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Mike Stoops. UA’s hope is that they match it against OSU’s defense that couldn’t hold up against what the two best teams in the Big 12 did to them at home (OU & Nebraska).
DOES OSU BOWL HISTORY TELL A STORY?
Going back to the Alamo Bowl in 1997 when Purdue beat the Cowboys by thirteen points, OSU has lost to Ole Miss in the 2003 Cotton, to Ohio State in the 2004 Alamo, to Oregon in the 2008 Holiday, and to Ole Miss again in the 2009 Cotton. Its wins were against lesser foes: Southern Miss, a watered-down Alabama and Indiana.
Arizona is not as good as some of the teams that beat OSU in those bowls, but they aren’t as weak as the ones OSU beat. Makes you wonder how the Pokes will match up in this one. Arizona’s late-season slide leads me to take OSU but a win over a solid Pac-10 program would be the best of the bunch (remember, the Alabama team OU beat in the Independence Bowl was perhaps the worst Alabama team in school history).
Nonetheless, give me the Pokes in this one. We’ll predict a score in the OU-UConn game later in the week.