Wednesday, December 10, 2008

About style points.

So OU is going to the national championship game. Texas beat those Sooners by 10 points. On a neutral field. Took their best shot and beat them! I was there, saw it with my own eyes, believed with all my heart that the victory would MATTER.

Then came that dark night of the soul, that November night in Lubbock when my Horns, exhausted from four straight weeks of battling top 10 opponents, fell short to an inspired Tech team in the closing seconds. So many things could've changed that outcome, from a healthy Quan to just one actual holding call—and then there's the interception that wasn't but could've been. Still, that was our one loss: by 6 in the last seconds on the road. Florida lost AT HOME to an unranked Ole Miss team. And OU? We know how they lost.

But in this world of computers and even human voters, scores don't mean as much as "style points." Style points, apparently, are the difference between playing for a (mythical) national championship and playing in the runner-up bowl.

Here's the thing: To me, style implies a certain kind of grace, finesse, propriety. These "style points" that sent OU to the Big XII and now the MNC game were earned with none of the above. The Sooners scored 60 or more points in five straight games, and they scored a record 702 points for the season. "What a mighty offense they have!" the pollsters gush. What many seem to forget, however, is that:

1. When your defense is ranked #60 in the country, you're allowing your opponent to score a bunch of points relatively quickly, which therefore gets your own offense back on the field more often.

2. Because of your poor defense, you have to score that many points to still win.

3. Even if your team is winning by 20 or more points, you leave your starters in the game, you throw sideline passes to stop the clock, and you take advantage of every opportunity to run up the score.

We need a playoff to determine a champion on the field. And we need a better term than "style points" to describe this strategy for garnering attention for your defense-deficient team.

P.S. - I'm not the only one willing to beat a dead horse!