I am a die hard Sooner fan. My great grandmother ran the OU dormitory for the football team in the early 1900s. My grandfather was recruited to play for Bud Wilkinson. I was born Crimson & Cream. What I am about to say does not come easy.[stick to the end for some spiritual thoughts] OSU deserves to play to the championship.
LSU does not want anything of these Cowboys. ESPN does not want them (probably would pick the Horns - kidding). Alabama certainly does not want OSU because they want a second chance to beat a team they could not beat on their home field during the regular season in their conference. Two Conference Champions should square off for the title game. It is pretty simple.
OSU had their biggest game in 105+ years Saturday night. They beat down their arch rivals, the big brother Sooners, who dominate them year in and year out. Not only did OSU beat the Sooners they punched in the mouth a Sooner team that is very good. Phil Steele (and almost every national group) picked the Sooners to win it all. These 2012 Sooners have suffered three losses. No I am not talking about the Tech game and the Baylor game, but the death of our top defensive player and leader of the defense from last year Austin Box, the loss of the NCAAs best ever receiver Ryan Broyles, a great walk-on running back who earned his way on to the cover of SI and a scholarship Dom Whaley, and many more injured players. The point is not excuses or injuries (we don't do well with giving excuses at OU), the point is that OSU beat a team destined for greatness that is packed with great players and coaches. OSU had their best game in history against this OU rival on national television to win their first ever Conference Title. OU is not a bad team (despite how all of us Sooners feel about how this year has ended). OSU beat OU soundly. They dominated our offense and forced turnovers. They did the wise thing and played run game on a cold cold night. The Cowboy offense was slowed but not stopped by a Sooner defense that has outstanding players and has shut down many top ten teams this year. OSU earned their greatest win of all time against a big time rival and regular conference and national title winner.
OSU's only loss came on a day when two coaches were tragically killed in a plane crash. It was a game that should have been won on a regulation field goal that only one referee and all this Iowa State fans believed was good (watch the replay). It was one loss that says little about how good the Cowboys really are this year.
So, OSU deserves their shot to play for everything. ESPN probably won't give it to them. The BCS likely will not. The poll voters likely won't. The political voters will put OSU in weird rankings.
LSU would never really know if they are champs if they play Alabama. If Alabama plays and wins the title they will never really know if they are champs. No one wants to see an all SEC rematch. Give us a new game between LSU and OSU and we will all at least know.
Now, what is the spiritual significance of all this? This space is typically not a sports page. The spiritual significance of sports is pretty much zero. Sports is a welcome distraction from life. At its best sports is a metaphor or representation of real life. In my case, sport becomes occasion for spiritual discipline. Will we win with grace and lose with grace? The ball in life can bounce either way. While we create many bounces, some of life's bounces we cannot control. What we can control is our attitude and our response. In this situation, we should honor the victory and accept defeat. This is an occasion for self emptying. Thankfully Landry Jones took this loss like a spiritual man. He took the blame as did many of the Sooner seniors and players. What speaks most clearly is who we are in defeat and when life does not go our way. They accepted this as a huge disappointment and will win it all next time. Who we are in life's difficult moments matters a great deal. Any difficulty becomes occasion to learn something very important about life.
Today like every day - God is still God. We are not God. We can only strive for God in the ups and downs of life.
I say give the OSU Cowboys a shot to make this year even more memorable than it already is.