Chase for Eight Still Alive??

NORMAN, Okla. — As soon as the crystal ball ended its tour at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and the Texas Tech Red Raiders snapped OU's 39-game home winning streak, Sooner fans succumbed to the assumption that OU's chances at its eighth national championship in 2011 were cooked.

But five days should have been long enough for Sooner Nation to cope with the fact that it was a heartbreaking, major upset loss but the Chase For Eight is not over.

Consider history, as I recall, although the history may be a little tough for Sooner fans.

In 2008, the Florida Gators started off 3-0 but lost a heart-wrenching 31-30 decision at the Swamp at the hands of Jevan Snead and the Ole Miss Rebels.

That shot the Gators from No. 4 to No. 13 and prompted Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's famous post-game interview speech.

We'll refrain from recounting that, as it's not essential to the story.

What is though, is how Florida responded and what transpired following that.

Week by week, Tebow and the Gators picked off one opponent after another, winning their final eight regular season games, all the while climbing from 13th to fourth in the polls (the Gators even climbed as high as third in the three previous weeks) by the time it was set for an SEC Championship battle against Alabama.

History tells the rest from there.

The Gators upset top-ranked Alabama and then knocked off the Sooners in the BCS National Championship Game.

Why then, if UF could climb the ladder from No. 13 to BCS National Champion in 15 weeks, can the Sooners not do the same from No. 9 to BCS National Champion in 11 weeks?

The truth is they can.

"Yeah, you never know what's going to happen in college football, you know," said OU quarterback Landry Jones. "And in '08, two one-loss teams played for it. LSU won it with two losses [in 2007], so it's still out there for us and everything's out there in front of us. We just got to limit our mistakes and learn from it."

It starts with Saturday.

If the Sooners take care of No. 8 Kansas State, they can start picking the teams off just like Florida did.

No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon play each other.

Top-ranked LSU and No. 2 Alabama meet on the gridiron in just a little bit more than a week.

The Sooners play No. 3 Oklahoma State in what shakes out to be a huge Bedlam game in about a month.

So, there's four spots the Sooners can presumably climb by just taking care of business without any help.

Then, depending on the outcome of the Stanford-Oregon game, one of those might need to lose another game and Clemson must lose.

All of that is possible, considering these teams' remaining schedules.

Clemson has road games against the likes of Georgia Tech and No. 13 South Carolina still on the slate.

Stanford heads to USC this upcoming weekend and also plays host to Notre Dame, along with that home date against Oregon.

And Oregon still has to host USC.

"We still have a chance, it's not over," said defensive back Aaron Colvin. "Things could fall into place for us. So, we just got to keep working and we got to be ready to play every week."

Say Stanford should happen to trip up this weekend, and OU wins in Manhattan.

There's a good chance the Sooners would leap all the way up to sixth, surpassing Oregon, because of the BCS computer rankings.

They would be no worse than seventh any way you put it.

Further, assume Clemson trips up at Georgia Tech, and OU could somehow be back in the top five.

The following week one of either LSU or Alabama drops from the ranks of unbeatens and OU's back in the top four behind only the winner from that game, OSU and Boise State.

And if OU wins the Bedlam battle Dec. 3, it'll likely leapfrog Boise State.

See, it's far from improbable, even if it seems like it with a midseason loss.

Granted, a few things have to happen, but take care of business and OU still has a chance.

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