KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How long did it take for Oklahoma to go from 3rd-and-10 at its 1-yard line to up 21-7 and in control of the Big 12 Championship Game?

About as long as it took me to check airfares to Dallas on Expedia.com.

That turn of events sealed the deal on Nebraska’s Cotton Bowl berth. The Huskers, as the Big 12 runners-up, are going to the breakfast bowl.

Jan. 1. Kickoff at 10:40 a.m.

Early to bed on Dec. 31, right? Right.

The Huskers will probably face Auburn, but Arkansas (Houston Nutt alert) is still a possibility.

“Not a done deal yet,” said Cotton Bowl chairman Bruce Gadd on Saturday. “We don’t know. It will be Arkansas or Auburn. The Capital One (Bowl) gets first pick, and we don’t know if they’ll take Arkansas or Tennessee.

“One of those two, we won’t know until tomorrow.”

Gadd just knows his bowl game is excited about NU’s first visit to the event since the 1979 season.

“We’re thrilled,” he said. “We’re excited that they’re coming. It’s been, I think, 27 years since they’ve been to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.

“We think it’s important to have team from the North in the Big 12 come. We couldn’t be more excited.”

I have to believe that Nutt and Steve Pederson, who courted the Arkansas coach before hiring Bill Callahan, are hoping the Cap One folks take Arkansas, as expected. That’s one subplot I’m guessing both would like to avoid.

Hats off to OU

Oklahoma earned the Big 12 title with no debate, with what Bob Stoops called “a great will and determination.” Can’t argue. The Sooners were the league’s best team, and for a night, they had the league’s best quarterback.

I thought Paul Thompson wasn’t supposed to be much of a passer. He made some nice throws, none better than the bull’s-eye toss to Malcolm Kelly on the 66-yard touchdown that put OU up 14-0.

It just wasn’t Zac Taylor’s night, but the Husker QB appreciated the quick and kind words he received from Stoops after the game.

“Just kind of a small gesture that made me feel a little better,” he said.

Looking ahead

I don’t think strength of schedule is going to be a ratings problem for NU next season.

Two of this year’s BCS bowl teams are on the 2007 nonconference schedule in Wake Forest (in Winston-Salem) and USC (Lincoln). And the other two nonconference games are at home against Ball State and bowl-bound Nevada.

End zone — There were some fascinating pronunciations of Hunter Teafatiller’s name in the press box and on the OU radio broadcast. My favorite was Tea-filler.


— Needless to say, there were a few Nebraska fans heading south on I-29 Saturday. Four of every five cars I saw had Nebraska tags.

— Joe Ganz gets the sportsmanship award. He stood close by to see how OU’s Marcus Walker was doing after Walker went down, and Ganz applauded when Walker got up to head for the sideline.

— Almost forgot. You can find non-stops from Omaha to Dallas for about $300 round-trip. Don’t know what it will cost for the Huskers to travel, but if they’re playing Arkansas, I think it’s only fair that Nutt sends a plane to pick up the gang.

Reach John Mabry at 473-7320 or jmabry@journalstar.com.


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