In October, the odds were stacked against Oklahoma and its outstanding quarterback, Sam Bradford, playing for a national title.
But it has been another crazy year in college football, and the past week was a microcosm of it all.
The craziness is evident off the field and in the all-important Bowl Championship Series standings that always create confusion.
The biggest controversy this season came down to which team should represent the South Division in the Big 12 Conference title game, and it basically came down to a two-team debate between Oklahoma and Texas.
The Longhorns upset the Sooners 45-35 on Oct. 11 in Dallas, but in the latest BCS standings, Oklahoma leapfrogged Texas. The development still has people scratching their heads. This is not the first time the BCS has defied logic, and it won’t be the last.
Five years ago, Kansas State destroyed undefeated Oklahoma 35-7 in the Big 12 championship game, and the Sooners still played and lost to Louisiana State in the BCS title game.
Missouri, which has had a disappointing 9-3 season, has nothing to lose today as a 17-point underdog to Oklahoma in Kansas City, Mo.
This is a rematch of last year’s Big 12 championship, which the Sooners won as 3-point favorites.
Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel has the capability to lead his offense to a score on every possession.
Bradford will be playing with torn ligaments in his left thumb, and cold weather due to the evening start time could affect him. The slow grass field at Arrowhead Stadium should help Missouri as well. The Tigers might not exact revenge on Oklahoma, but they can stay within 17 points in the Sooners’ third straight big game.
Other selections for today’s games (home team in CAPS):
• Army (+11) over Navy at Philadelphia: This is the Black Knights’ bowl game. They have a six-game losing streak to Navy, the longest in the series’ history. Both teams play similar styles, which should help keep the score close.
• UCLA (+33) over Southern California: The most deceiving score of the season was UCLA’s 34-9 loss to Arizona State last week in Tempe. The Bruins’ defense held the Sun Devils to 122 yards. But Arizona State tied an NCAA record by scoring four defensive touchdowns, and it also had a field goal set up by a 65-yard punt return.
If UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft can avoid last week’s costly mistakes, the Bruins can cover the huge point spread.
• Alabama (+10) over Florida at Atlanta: As if more motivation was needed, the undefeated and top-ranked Crimson Tide is a double-digit underdog on a neutral field. Nothing is flashy about Alabama, but the Tide is solid in all phases of the game, and coach Nick Saban knows what he’s doing.
The Gators were banged up in last week’s win over Florida State and might not have the services of a top offensive threat, running back Percy Harvin, who is listed as a game-time decision.
Last week: 3-3-1 against the spread
Barry Holthaus, a handicapper for VegasInsider.com, is providing college football analysis for the Review-Journal this season. He can be heard on “Leroy’s Sports Hour” at 10 p.m. Saturdays on KLAV-AM (1230).