Recruiting 101…

Three of the last four years Alabama has ended up the recruiting season ranked #1 in the country according to Rivals.com with a 2nd place finish the other year.   Each time Alabama started off the recruiting campaign in a similarly slow fashion as this year.

In other words, Alabama does not get into any hurry, realizing that in the end, they will be able to cherry pick their class. Currently, the Crimson Tide has six (6) commitments and is ranked #35.

Alabama is a prime example of why one must be careful not to put too much stock in early season recruiting rankings. Recruiting services rank teams ranked as much on quantity as they do on quality.   With everybody getting the same number of recruits (25), the cream will eventually rise to the top. Trust me Alabama will be in the top three at the end of the day.

The one number that never changes is 85…this is the maximum number of scholarships that a team can have at any one time.

You can do the math…eighty five (85) divided by four (4) years is twenty one (21) not twenty five (25). This is NCAA math predicated on saving money and leveling the playing field. In reality, it does just the opposite. This is why you see the same teams end up at the top every year.

As I look at the latest recruiting quality numbers I would like to make the following predictions.

1….Beginning for sure in 2018 OU and Texas will face each other twice every year, both in Dallas, once in the Cotton Bowl and the other at Jerry World.

2…The other Texas teams with the best Texas talent (TCU and Baylor) will battle for Big 12 spoiler and third place in the conference.

3…West Virginia and OSU will develop a rivalry for the next best bowl game.

4…Kansas will rise from the ashes and compete against K-State and Iowa State.

5…Texas Tech will start over after its love affair with Kliff Kingsbury as these two parties will end up in divorce court after this season.

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the most recent Rivals.com recruiting rankings that rewards both quality and quantity.

Rivals rankings based on traditional ratings…

(the number in parenthesis is the national ranking)

1…..Oklahoma (6)

2…..Texas (10)

3…..OSU (16)

4…..TCU (19)

5…..Baylor (20)

6…..Kansas (26)

7…..West Virginia (46)

8…..Texas Tech (55)

9…..Iowa State (58)

10…Kansas State (85)

Authentic ranking based on Rivals star ratings

The 2nd number represents the average of stars – 5,4,3,2…

1…..Texas 3.67

2…..Oklahoma 3.53

3……TCU 3.20

4…..Baylor 3.13

5…..West Virginia 3.09

6…..Kansas 3.08

7…..Oklahoma State 3.00

7…..Kansas State 3.00

9…..Iowa State 2.73

10…Texas Tech 2.54

The biggest change here is of course with OSU dropping from #3 in the quantity rankings to a tie with Kansas State for #7 in the quality rankings…

I will update the list again in late September.  Stay tuned…The OU/Texas rivalry is really heating up…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

K-State…The Beginning of the End or not…

I love Bill Snyder as much as the next guy and I believe he is one of the greatest football minds in the game.   I also wonder how long he can hang on. At 77 and recovering from cancer, a second and permanent retirement might be in the works.

Give the guy a ton of credit…Back in the late 80’s K-State was the worst football program in the history of the universe.   Barry Switzer had to call off the dogs every year to avoid hanging a hundred on the Mildcats.

Then came Bill Snyder…Snyder did his homework and realized that every town in Kansas had a junior college full of gifted players that could not qualify academically at D-1 schools.

All these players had to do was graduate from said junior colleges to be eligible to play at the next level. Snyder then identified those players that could play big league football and stay out of jail for two years.

That was then and now is now. Today, Bill Snyder is twenty-eight years older and is recovering from cancer. He has also lived through a previous retirement move. Once before Snyder stepped aside for family reasons. Eventually, his family like most of ours encouraged him to un-retire.

Seriously, the K-State program went into the toilet after Snyder retired. The new guy did not understand the only template that would allow K-State football to flourish.

In time donors coaxed Bill Snyder to come out of retirement and take back his program. In short order he turned the program back around.

At the same time, just like at OU timing is everything and if Bill Snyder is smart, he will resign this summer and force the coaching issue. He wants his son to take over and now is the time for this to happen.

Leaving now will allow his son to inherit not only the head coaching position, it will also allow his son to inherit a sure winner. K-State has a softer than normal schedule this year and has a ton of starters back.

This team will win 10 games this year, regardless of the coach. The elder Snyder can still hang around and help out his son learn the ropes. The younger Snyder can then replicate his dad’s old ways and hit the juco ranks for next year.

Time is running short for Bill Snyder and K-State.   As we know, timing is everything when it comes to winning football.

 

Does money matter…

Unlike most people I love this stuff…the stuff I am referring to is that of athletic department budgets. This is the stuff that sets OU apart from the other guys in the Big 12. Back in the day we used unlimited scholarships allowed by the NCAA and supplied by university funds to create a built in advantage.

The NCAA tried to level the playing field by creating scholarship limits. It has taken a while, but big time football schools have found a way to slant the playing field once again.

It takes money to hire and keep the best coaches, build the best facilities and create winners in all sports. OU has become a perfect model as OU has used an infusion of funds in all sports to create four National Championships this spring.

Each year USA Today creates a list of the most successful athletic departments in the country. I have shared the USAToday revenue list at the bottom of the page. I have examined the list and I have come up with some thoughts…

First…six of the top ten athletic departments are located in the SEC. That’s right the rich get richer. The Big Ten has two as does the Big 12. I do find that the ACC and Pac 12 missing from the top ten list as conspicuous.

Second…Texas A&M has proven once again that their move from the Big 12 to the SEC was a good one. These guys have come out of nowhere to overtake their instate rival Texas. It also means that Kevin Sumlin has one more year in College Station to get ‘er done.

Third…West Virginia has proven that its move from the Big East to the Big 12 has paid off. The Mountaineers have taken off financially even without decent facilities.

Fourth…Texas appears to have leveled off. Yes, the Longhorns are still ranked 2nd nationally, but their total revenue has dropped from previous years and their hated rival, the Aggies have taken their top spot on the big board.

Without a Thanksgiving Day game to fall back on the Longhorns must now beat their Ags in the boardroom. If a Big 12 affiliation cannot make this happen, expect UT to find another way.

Fifth…David Boren and Joe Castiglione have done an incredible job of creating an athletic powerhouse in Norman. Before Boren and Castiglione, the athletic program was drowning in red ink. Today, the program is the 6th wealthiest in the country.

Unlike other universities, the athletic department takes no taxpayer dollars and the Sooners donate millions each year to academics.

As we know athletic programs other than football do not pay their own way in ticket sales. These programs can however pay their own way through donors that contribute funds to their favorite sporting team.

Sixth…Kansas is scary. Even without a football program, KU generated over $91 million in 2015-16. Once they get their new stadium, this total could easily double. Bill Self will finally get his deserved raise.

Seventh…one must wonder what is going on in Stillwater these days. OSU has gone from 9th to 35th in one year. Then again, this may be the off year for T. Boone. For tax purposes he tends to make his big donation every other year. Like his son, Mike Gundy, he is smarter than he looks…

Eighth…Texas Tech and OSU have something in common.   That can’t stay afloat without tax dollars.   Tech gets 5% of their total athletic department income from Texas taxpayers. OSU tops this amount and leads the Power Conferences with its 9% of from the Oklahoma legislature.

This is one more reason to hate Oklahoma politicians. These clowns can generate almost $9 million dollars a year for Aggie football, but not a penny for teacher pay raises.

Revenue rankings for Top ten athletic departments in America…

  1. Texas A&M $194,388,450
  2. Texas $187,981,158
  3. Ohio State $170,789,765
  4. Alabama $164,009,745
  5. Michigan $163,850,616
  6. Oklahoma $150,373,216
  7. LSU $141,651,460
  8. Florida $141,441,109
  9. Tennessee $140,448,955
  10. Auburn $140,070,590

Big 12 athletic departments…

  1. Texas $187,981,158
  2. Oklahoma $150,373,216
  3. West Virginia $105,140,368
  4. Oklahoma State $93,672,676
  5. Kansas $90,658,829
  6. Texas Tech $82,996,321
  7. Iowa State $78,355,500
  8. Kansas Sate $77,936,600

Note: Baylor and TCU are private universities and therefore are not required to publically disclose financial information. Same goes for Notre Dame. I would love to see Notre Dame’s financial statement with its NBC national television network.

 

Aggie Seats…

Just about the time I think I have run out of summer stories, OSU like the Lone Ranger rides into town.

In my latest edition of “you can’t make this stuff up”, OSU announces that the seating capacity at T. Boone’s Stadium will decrease this year. The move comes due to increasing pressure from OSU fans that need more seating space. The Ags will eliminate almost 4,000 seats in order to create additional butt space for OSU fans.

This is the point where I have to restrain myself, after all it would be so easy at this point to make snide remarks like “there goes another “big” OSU fan” or “OSU fans and their “double wide’s”.   Of course I won’t do this because it would be undignified.

I will restrain myself for another reason. On my row in Section 108 the poor OU fan sitting at the end of row does so with half his/her cheek off the bleacher. Fans in row (20) have figured out that they need to arrive early and stake out their excessive baggage claims. This leaves the schmuck on the end of the row with basically an aisle seat.

Regardless, no other university in America would reduce seating capacity due to butt size. This sort of thing only happens in Stillwater, America.   You would think that after years of Aggie jokes, OSU people would realize that OU fans don’t need any help finding ways to inflict pain on poor Aggies. This latest move paves the way once again for OSU fans to be the butt of more jokes (pun intended).

One last thing…the article’s author appeared to be cutting OSU some slack as he bragged that OSU was on target to sell a record number of season tickets this year. Get this…an Aggie record in this case would mean selling 37,000 season tickets.

Then, after giving away tickets to students, state politicians who underwrite the football program and people in town for the local pig races, OSU can reach the 50,000 mark.   This number will allow OSU to have bragging rights over Stillwater High School.

Here’s the deal…this decade under T. Boone and Mike Gundy, OSU has had its most successful decade in its history. Still OSU football can only sell/or give away 50,000 tickets. OU, OSU’s big brother has sold out Memorial stadium to the tune of 85,000 seats for every game since 1999.

This friend is the difference big time college football and the Pop Warner variety.

Boomer Sooner…

Becoming a Sooner…

I know OSU fans think we are an obnoxious bunch, but as the bumper sticker says, it is hard to be humble when you’re a Sooner.   OSU fans come and go like the wind. Win a few games and they come out of the woodwork. Lose a few and they scramble for that same woodwork like cockroaches.

Don’t get me wrong OU has its share of fair-weather fans, but I suspect that OU has a lot more fans that have weathered the good and hard times. To that end, let’s remember when we became OU fans.

Just like Americans remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated or on 9/11, we also remember where we were when we discovered OU football.

I was an eight-year-old kid living on a farm when I discovered the world of OU football via my transistor radio.   Bob Barry Sr. and Jack Ogle made it seem like Christmas every Saturday in the fall.

During my Bud years there were both good and bad days, but not tuning in the next Saturday never occurred to me.

During the Barry years, winning, particularly against Texas became my drug of choice.   That was what made the Blake years so difficult to deal with.

The low points were many during the Blake years.   The Nebraska 69-7 or the Texas A&M 51-7 losses and the 12-0 home loss to OSU come to mind.   During those games OU fans relished making first downs, much less touchdowns.

As we came to understand later, there were internal forces at OU during those days who wanted to punish Barry Switzer; OU football and OU fans were simply collateral damage.

The bad news is that we suffered through some of the ugliest football ever; not just at OU, but in the history of the sport. The good news is that we never considered jumping ship. As a result we developed a much greater appreciation for OU football.

This season will be one of those times that when hanging with the Sooners during those down years will pay off…An outstanding nucleus of players, a jacked up coaching staff and challenging road schedule that could provide OU extra RPI points.

I feel like a kid again who just discovered the power of a transistor radio and OU football. Tighten up that chinstrap OU fans, 2017 is going to be a fun ride.

Boomer Sooner…

 

I smell a rat…

Two weeks ago I jumped out on that proverbial limb and suggested that Joe C. was on a mission to turn OU baseball into a winner. This, I surmised was why he fired Pete Hughes.   Believing in Joe C., I wanted to give the OU A.D. the benefit of the doubt.

Granted I was not happy with the end of the Sooner season. To add insult to injury to OU’s late season swoon, OU lost its last two games in the NCAA tournament 22-1. While OU’s hitting coach deserves part of the fault here, I thought the pitching coach should be fired.

Instead Joe C. promotes the pitching coach to become OU’s next head coach. Reminds me of replacing the Captain of the Titanic with the lookout guy who believed the iceberg to be an aberration.

Adding to this mystery, three hours south of Norman is a baseball program with an outstanding head coach and two top-notch assistants. This team of coaches has turned TCU into a baseball powerhouse. The Horned Frogs are making their fourth trip in a row to Omaha. Overnight, TCU turned a patch of west Texas dirt into a state of the art baseball facility.

OU could have hired either one of these guys to return OU to the baseball Promised Land. Instead it appears that Joe C. replaced Frick with Frack.

Either Joe Castiglione is a smarter baseball man than I realized or I have gotten sucked in once again as an OU baseball fan. A third possible option is that there is something rotten in Denmark.

Remember, this is the same Joe C. that hired Gene Stephenson for a day and then when Stephenson returned to Wichita, he hired Sunny Galloway in a knee jerk reaction. Both players and fans despised Galloway, as a coach. He made Howard Schnellenberger look like a great guy.

Galloway left Norman just ahead of the hangman, was hired by Auburn, and a year later was fired.

I know baseball is considered a minor sport at OU, but even minor sports deserve better than this.   I smell a rat…I don’t think we are getting the real scoop on this deal…

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

He’s smarter than he looks…

Berry Tramel had OSU fans worked into frenzy as Mike Gundy dragged his feet on signing his contract. Apparently, the current deal was due to end in 2019 and he wanted a lifetime contract.

Gundy is smarter than he looks even with that pathetic mullet.   I would suggest that Gundy got exactly what he wanted; a pay raise, a contract extension and most importantly a reasonably priced buy-out clause.

What this means is this…T. Boone at 89 and having suffered a mini-stroke last winter is feeling the pressure to bring a legitimate National Championship to Stillwater. Time is running out on the old man.

And..it could happen this year…after all Lindy’s Preseason Football Magazine has OSU winning the Big 12 in 2017. While I would not rush out and put Vegas money on their projection, I would suggest that the Pokes do have their best chance in years of reaching the Promised Land.

Boone has done his part by paving or paying the way for the best set of OSU triplets since the Gundy, Hart Lee Dykes and Barry Sanders some thirty years ago to return to Stillwater.   Ironically, it was with the original set of triplets that caused OSU to be placed on life support after the NCAA issued OSU, it’s near death penalty.

This year, along with the triplets, OSU also returns a solid offensive line, and the country’s best group of graduate transfers.

A manageable preseason schedule that includes Tulsa, Pittsburgh, and South Alabama should get the Pokes off to a good start.   Then OSU gets OU and K-State at home and a Texas team with a mental bloc against OSU on the road.

Before you grab for the barf bag, other more reputable preseason football magazines have a different opinion, as does this blog writer.

As we know OSU has invented the art of losing a game they should never lose.   Also, Charlie Strong will be not coaching at Texas this year, which should help with the mental issue. Most importantly, to win the gold ball, OSU must beat OU twice in the same year. I would bet my house that this will not happen.

Just like Aggies, Gundy and T. Boone have put all their eggs in the same basket. OSU must produce a winner this year or go back to square one next year. Returning a lot this year means losing a lot after the year is over.

This brings me back full circle to the Gundy is smarter than he looks statement. He has a win-win situation. If he wins the Big 12, he is a super hero to OSU fans. If he comes close, he will still be a super hero to OSU fans.

Either way, he can sign up for another year at $4.2 million dollars per year or leave for his next Yankees job in the SEC. SEC schools scoff at $3 million buy-out clauses.

More importantly in the SEC, Gundy will be at a place that can actually win a National Championship.

Like I said he is smarter than he looks.