And here we thought the Big 12 had rid itself of those pesky conference championship games.
Thanks to a touchdown with less than 20 seconds remaining, and another gift with no time remaining, Oklahoma stunned archrival Oklahoma State 33-24 in Stillwater. The shocking home loss to a decided underdog effectively ends the Cowboys’ hope for a spot at the BCS table.
After taking a 24-20 lead with 1:46 remaining, the Cowboys allowed the Sooners to drive 66 yards for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown, a seven-yard pass from Blake Bell to Jalen Saunders with just :19 seconds left that served as the Sooners first true offensive touchdown of the game. A series of laterals on OSU’s final possession ended with a fumble recovery for a touchdown for OU.
In the win, the Sooners scored on a punt return (Saunders), a touchdown pass off a fake field goal and a defensive touchdown. The two teams were a combined 4-of-18 on third down.
A win by the Cowboys would’ve clinched the Big 12 title and the conference’s automatic BCS berth for OSU. Thanks to the Sooners’ late-game heroics, the Texas-Baylor game in Waco is now an unofficial Big 12 championship game, with the winner representing the league in the Fiesta Bowl.
Unbelievably, the Sooners, depending on how things play out the rest of the day and if they can get into the Top 14 of the final rankings (they’re No. 17), could be in line for an at-large BCS berth, likely the Sugar Bowl against an SEC opponent. The Cowboys’ loss also raises the BCS hopes for Oregon, which could very well earn a spot in the Sugar Bowl instead of Oklahoma.
Such a development could give us the Alabama-Oregon postseason game everyone thought we’d see earlier in the year, albeit on a much smaller stage.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.