Joe’s in a pickle…

The OU women’s basketball program reminds me of days gone by. Back in the day, OU fans were torn by a similar predicament with John Blake.  We knew that he was not the answer, but we also knew that getting rid of him could be ugly.

OU fans had a real dilemma at the end of the 1998 season. The Sooners had won three (3) and four (4) games respectively in the previous two seasons and were looking at another four-win season in ‘98.  There we were rooting for our beloved Sooners to beat Texas Tech in the season finale, while realizing that losing this meaningless game would mean a four-win season that would make it easier for OU officials to do what had to be done.

As the OU football gods would have it, Sooner fans got the best of both worlds…we beat Texas Tech and the next day, Blake was still fired. Those were tough times.  Same goes today for OU fans and Sherry Coale.  OU fans owe Sherry a lot for bringing the women’s basketball program back from the dead some twenty-five years ago.  We also owe her for winning a ton of games over the years.

We also know that Sherry’s best days are behind her. Players that use to gloss over Sherry’s coaching skills, have stopped showing up in Norman.

Just like with John Blake back in the day, OU fans find themselves torn. We want to win, but we realize that the enemy of great is good.   We understand that as long as the women’s program is just good enough, Sherry will continue to hum along on the road to mediocrity.

Sherry’s Lady Sooners beat 24th ranked West Virginia yesterday to make my point.  Get swept by Texas and OSU on a yearly basis and then beat a bunch of Lady Mountaineers (that sounds scary, huh) to put off the inevitable.

I don’t know about you, but every time the cost of an OU football ticket goes up, I think of the red tape being absorbed by Sherry’s program. From her $700,000 yearly salary, to the charter flights to Morgantown and Ames, to the empty seats at the LNC.  Yes, I know that softball doesn’t turn a profit either, but at least we are getting some bang for our football buck with Patti Gasso.

Okay, here’s the deal…firing a men’s coach is one thing, firing Sherry will be something else. Making matters worse is Joe’s dilemma of how to arrange for Sherry to bow out gracefully.

Some have suggested that she be kicked upstairs to an Assistant A.D. position. Here’s the problem with that idea.  This would mean that Patti Gasso, the latest, greatest OU rock star would be working for Sherry.

Call me crazy, but for some reason…I just don’t think that this arrangement would work.

Regardless, I believe Joe Castiglione is the best Athletic Director in America. He also gets paid to be the best A.D. in America.  He tends to think outside the box, so hopefully he is developing a plan as we speak…

We can only hope…

Boomer Sooner…

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Rushing the Court…

The bad news is that OU lost on Saturday, the good news is that we must be better than I thought. The scene after the game resembled a fan base that had just beaten the Big 12 Champion. I hope this still happens, but I would not hold my breath.

OU is a good team, but not a great team…to lose by two points on the road, particularly after trailing by double digits at half was pretty remarkable.

Of course as all of us know, OSU fans rush the court/field any time they beat the Sooners in any sport. This is what little brothers do.

Back in the day OU fans felt compelled to do the same thing.   The last mosh pit I can remember was back in 1997 when the fans of a John Blake OU team found themselves desperate for a win. The Sooners rallied and kicked a field goal to beat Syracuse at the gun causing an ecstatic student section to rush the field.

Right on cue, this was the highlight of a 4-8 season…in retrospect the mosh pit scene by Sooner fans made us look silly. Since those days, OU fans have come to expect wins, not crave them. Acting like we have been there before has become OU’s mantra.

Kansas does the same in basketball. When was the last time you saw KU fans who are arguably the best fans in basketball rush the court after a close win. Like OU in all sports and Kansas in basketball, KU fans expect to win and are not going to embarrass themselves by giving the opposition too much credit.

Finally, this OU team is vastly improved over last year and we need to embrace this thought.  Trae Young is a heck of a player, but now that Bob Huggins has created the template for shutting down his passing lanes, this team may have peaked.  OU should continue to improve next year with our without Trae Young.

As for the Cowboys, their day of NCAA reckoning is coming. The pipeline that has allowed high priced agents and OSU coaches to illegally place NBA-type in Stillwater is about to dry up.

As for the Cowpatty fans and rushing the court…let them have their fun. After all what else is there to do in Stillwater. I have been to Stillwater tons of times over the years and the best part of every trip was the ride out of town.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Road to Recovery…

Just like an alcoholic, I drank an excessive amount of OU Kool-aide once again and now I’m suffering from another OU football hangover.

For some reason I thought that Mike Stoops might develop a clue sometime during my lifetime. This was my first mistake.   Then, I assumed that this staff like every other coaching staff in America would have someone assigned to coach special teams.  Wrong again…

With both hands tied behind our backs, I should have seen this train-wreck coming. After all, I should have remembered that this is the same OU team that barely got out of Dallas and Stillwater with wins and lost at home to a weak Iowa State team. Baker, particularly a sick Baker can only do so much.

Then again, like all OU fans, I really wanted to believe in the worst way that we had turned the corner.

This would have been the time for me to remember that OU made its bed three years ago by deciding to stay in the Big 12. Recruiting that year took a nosedive as every 5-star recruit in Texas headed for the SEC.

I know OU fans get tired of hearing this, but the proof is in the recruiting pudding.

This OU team had one (1) five star player on the field in the Rose Bowl while Georgia had ten (10). Overcoming Mike Stoops with this kind of talent discrepancy is not going to happen.

However, there may be a light at end of the tunnel as OU got a commitment from five star defensive back this past Saturday…this guy will fit in nicely with the other five-star player (Caleb Kelly) currently on the OU roster. May not seem like much, but at least it’s a start.

Hopefully, history will repeat itself as well as OU fans can hope for more good news down the road.   The last time OU football suffered a loss like this one was the Bob Stoops/OSU fiasco of three years ago. That was when donors pressured Bob to get rid of Josh Heupel.

I have not seen Mike Stoops since the Rose Bowl game so we can only hope that he was left on the tarmac at LAX.   The same goes for our specials teams guru…Maybe these two idiot-sticks can take their Abbot and Costello Act on the road.

Okay, Lincoln here we go…these are your three steps you must take to ensure that OU can compete with the SEC

…Fire Mike Stoops.

…Make someone on this staff accountable for special teams (maybe you can give Ruffin McNeil something to do).

…Recruit SEC-type players.

If this does not happen, we must hope that football gods will spare us another Final Four/SEC matchup next year.   Give me a Cotton Bowl game against a slow-footed Big Ten team any day. Then, we can end the season on a positive note before going into the dreaded offseason.

Boomer Sooner…

Bowl games…

I am probably the only guy in America that still gives a rat’s behind about bowl games. With the advent of the playoffs, these games have become pretty much meaningless. Then again, I love filling out a bracket and seeing my teams go belly up.

Some may ask…why do bowl games matter? Let me give you three reasons.

First…why else would anyone want to visit Alabama towns like Mobile and Birmingham? Here’s why…People in Kansas and Iowa are desperate for any reason to get out of town in the dead of winter.

Secondly, conferences use bowl games to sell their product. The Big 12 has nine bowl game tie-ins

For the bowl games, this is a win-win situation. Those empty seats you see on t.v. are actually filled with seats purchased by the conference.   Teams assigned to a bowl game by the conference must purchase an allotment of tickets. If fans don’t pony up the money, the league will.

Let’s say, oSU only sold 5,000 to the Camping World Bowl in Orlando which looked about right…the conference then picks up the tab for the rest of oSU’s 12,000 tickets. That’s right the conference is on the hook to the tune of $350,000.

Reason three is the big one…back in the day, teams with marginal records would occasionally turn down a bowl game opportunity. That never happens today for this reason. Bowl teams get an additional twenty days of practice…this is the equivalent to an extra spring practice.

Coaches use this time to evaluate younger players for the upcoming season. Only the big boys in the playoffs use this time to prepare a game-plan for the bowl game. This is why these games are so unpredictable and yes, ugly.

What I learned from this bowl season…

…Never pick against a service academy. Unlike everyone else, these teams take bowl games seriously. They also run the option that makes the opposing teams look silly.

…Never pick a MAC team. MAC teams should never play anyone outside the MAC. That Toledo team that lost to App. State (that’s right App. State) reminded me of the old Toledo Dolls Womens’ League team.

…Never pick a Mike Leach team in a bowl game. I know the guy is entertaining, but he will never take a bowl game or any game for that matter that means nothing seriously…Conversely, Mark Dantonio at Michigan State would take a dogfight seriously. This made for a predictable outcome.

…It is hard to believe that oSU only beat a very average Va. Tech team by nine points. And that 9 point win came gift-wrapped as the Hokies fumbled away a chance to go up by 11 points in the first half. oSU started three projected NFL first round draft choices in this game…what a waste.

…The TCU win over Stanford reassured me about OU’s chances against Georgia. The Horned Frogs who OU handled easily twice this year manned up quite well against a Stanford team that is mirror image of Georgia…I like our chances…

 

2017 recruiting – first signing period.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having a hard time getting use to the new early signing day. In the old days the 2nd Wednesday in Februrary was perfect. February is the most miserable month of the year and having a signing day in February made the month bearable.

This year the NCAA decided to create an early signing day in December, just four days short of Christmas. Most football fans were so covered up with Christmas distractions or work, they missed the whole thing.

Any way it is what it is…we will have to live with it. On a positive note, this year college football will have two signing dates. That’s my silver lining…

In any case, here’s the Scout.com’s national top ten…

  1. Georgia
  2. Ohio State
  3. Texas
  4. Penn State
  5. Alabama
  6. Miami
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Clemson
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Auburn

1…Watch out for Georgia moving forward…they start a true freshman at quarterback and have a bunch of returning starters. With this year’s #1 recruiting class and finally a decent head coach the Bulldogs will battle Alabama moving forward.

2…Typical Ohio State class. These guys do less with more than any team in the country. OU needs to make Josh Proctor pay for becomimg a Buckeye.

3…I know Texas is known for wasting recruiting classes, but I suspect this coaching staff may be different.   The good news for Texas and possibly for the Big 12 is that Texas turned the tables on A&M and the SEC this year. Texas signed the top player in Texas and 9 of the top 15 in-state players.

4…Penn State got a player in Micah Parsons that OU would love to have had, but other than that, I am not impressed with Pedophile U.

5…Just as predicted, Alabama took their sweet time cherry picking the best talent. These guys are not finished…may end up #1 after the second signing date.

6…There will always be a ton of talent in south Florida for Miami to recruit. If these guys had any coaching at all, they’d be dangerous.

7…Notre Dame loads up once again on highly ranked slow white guys…

8…Clemson is the antithesis of the Big Ten schools. They will get the most out of their players and will dominate a weak ACC. Clemson will be in the final four discussion as long as they can hold onto Brent Venables.

9…OU recruiting is just getting started under Lincoln Riley. We should thank Bob Stoops for stepping down before the season and before this recruiting cycle revved up. Bob was done and he knew it…Lincoln is just getting warmed up.

10…Auburn will continue to be the oSU of the SEC. They can live rather well off Alabama throw-aways.

 

Big 12 Rankings

1…Texas

2…Oklahoma

3…TCU

4…Baylor

5…oSU

5…West Virginia

7…Iowa State

8…Texas Tech

9…Kansas State

10.Kansas

Big 12 thoughts…

1…See Texas comments above.

2…See OU comments above.

3…TCU does as good a job of evaluating its recruits as anyone in the country. Two years from now the Horned Frogs will be competing for a Big 12 Championship once again.

4…Give Tom Rhule and Baylor credit. This guy has brought Baylor back from the dead. Baylor will be back sooner than people think.

5A. Due to scholarship limitations, oSU will always get their share of Oklahoma kids that OU cannot afford to take. They will also get Texas kids that Texas and A&M don’t have room for. All in all, this is a pretty good Gag class.

5B. Some recruiting services have the West Virginia class ranked ahead of oSU. Nothing special here, but with quarterback Will Grier returning in 2018, look out for the Mountaineers, especially the Friday after Thanksgiving.

7-10…Give Iowa State’s Matt Campbell credit. Convincing three star recruits to relocate to Ames Iowa is pretty impressive.

Texas Tech continues to struggle to convince good players to move to Lubbock. I have never been to Lubbock, but those who have been there tell me that it sucks. Then again, Tech has finally learned how to play defense. The Red Raiders also have a bunch of returning starters for 2018, so pretty boy may get in done after all.

Look for K-State’s Bill Snyder to put the rumors aside and return for his 100th season in Manhattan. At that point he can set his sights on the 2nd signing period and the Kansas junior college crowd.   When this happens, this class will rank in the middle of the Big 12.

This Kansas recruiting season started off with so much hope with six Louisiana commitments. The Jayhawks ended up with half that many, but one was a four star defensive back stolen from under the noses of LSU. May not seem like much, but this is a start for the worst football program in America.

2017 recruiting – first signing period.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having a hard time getting use to the new early signing day. In the old days the 2nd Wednesday in Februrary was perfect. February is the most miserable month of the year and having a signing day in February made the month bearable.

This year the NCAA decided to create an early signing day in December, just four days short of Christmas. Most football fans were so covered up with Christmas distractions or work, they missed the whole thing.

Any way it is what it is…we will have to live with it. On a positive note, this year college football will have two signing dates. That’s my silver lining…

In any case, here is…the Scout.com’s national top ten…

  1. Georgia
  2. Ohio State
  3. Texas
  4. Penn State
  5. Alabama
  6. Miami
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Clemson
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Auburn

1…Watch out for Georgia moving forward…they start a true freshman at quarterback and have a bunch of returning starters. With this year’s #1 recruiting class and finally a decent head coach the Bulldogs will battle Alabama moving forward.

2…Typical Ohio State class. These guys do less with more than any team in the country. OU needs to make Josh Proctor pay for becomimg a Buckeye.

3…I know Texas is known for wasting recruiting classes, but I suspect this coaching staff may be different.   The good news for Texas and possibly for the Big 12 is that Texas turned the tables on A&M and the SEC this year. Texas signed the top player in Texas and 9 of the top 15 in-state players.

4…Penn State got a player in Micah Parsons that OU would love to have had, but other than that, I am not impressed with Pedophile U.

5…Just as predicted, Alabama took their sweet time cherry picking the best talent. These guys are not finished…may end up #1 after the second signing date.

6…There will always be a ton of talent in south Florida for Miami to recruit. If these guys had any coaching at all, they’d be dangerous.

7…Notre Dame loads up once again on highly ranked slow white guys…

8…Clemson is the antithesis of the Big Ten schools. They will get the most out of their players and will dominate a weak ACC. Clemson will be in the final four discussion as long as they can hold onto Brent Venables.

9…OU recruiting is just getting started under Lincoln Riley. We should thank Bob Stoops for stepping down before the season and before this recruiting cycle revved up. Bob was done and he knew it…Lincoln is just getting warmed up.

10…Auburn will continue to be the oSU of the SEC. They can live rather well off Alabama throw-aways.

 

Big 12 Rankings

1…Texas

2…Oklahoma

3…TCU

4…Baylor

5…oSU

5…West Virginia

7…Iowa State

8…Texas Tech

9…Kansas State

10.Kansas

Big 12 thoughts…

1…See Texas comments above.

2…See OU comments above.

3…TCU does as good a job of evaluating its recruits as anyone in the country. Two years from now the Horned Frogs will be competing for a Big 12 Championship once again.

4…Give Tom Rhule and Baylor credit. This guy has brought Baylor back from the dead. Baylor will be back sooner than people think.

5A. Due to scholarship limitations, oSU will always get their share of Oklahoma kids that OU cannot afford to take. They will also get Texas kids that Texas and A&M don’t have room for. All in all, this is a pretty good Gag class.

5B. Some recruiting services have the West Virginia class ranked ahead of oSU. Nothing special here, but with quarterback Will Grier returning in 2018, look out for the Mountaineers, especially the Friday after Thanksgiving.

7-10…Give Iowa State’s Matt Campbell credit. Convincing three star recruits to relocate to Ames Iowa is pretty impressive.

Texas Tech continues to struggle to convince good players to move to Lubbock. I have never been to Lubbock, but those who have been there tell me that it sucks. Then again, Tech has finally learned how to play defense. The Red Raiders also have a bunch of returning starters for 2018, so pretty boy may get in done after all.

Look for K-State’s Bill Snyder to put the rumors aside and return for his 100th season in Manhattan. At that point he can set his sights on the 2nd signing period and the Kansas junior college crowd.   When this happens, this class will rank in the middle of the Big 12.

This Kansas recruiting season started off with so much hope with six Louisiana commitments. The Jayhawks ended up with half that many, but one was a four star defensive back stolen from under the noses of LSU. May not seem like much, but this is a start for the worst football program in America.

Baker…       

We won’t know until January 8th if Baker Mayfield will be the greatest player in OU history, but this guy has to be in the discussion.

Everyone has their favorites from Bud’s Billy Vessels and Tommy McDonald to Barry’s Joe Washington. I have a special place in my heart for Jack Mildren because he single-handedly recaptured the Texas recruiting map and returned the program to its former glory days.

I also love the fact that anytime OU played Texas in Dallas with the Boz in tow, OU fans would return to the Sooner state happy campers. That guy owned Texas.

Then there were the litany of great players that played during the Stoops era that are too numerous to count.   All of these guys were great players, but can any of these guys compare to what Baker has done for this football program. I think is safe to say, that OU fans will never again see the likes of a Baker Mayfield at quarterback.

Unfortunately, far too many talking heads measure the value of a quarterback from what they do in the NFL. I really hate this…College football is a different game. To underscore my point…without using google, tell me where these NFL greats played college football.

Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Matt Ryan….all nice college quarterbacks, but not one conference champion in the bunch. I have enjoyed their stories of how they moved from non-descript college careers to become NFL stars, but still none of these legends of the pro-game could carry Baker’s jock in the college football arena.

Baker has single-handedly brought the OU program and the Big 12 Conference back from the dead. He beat Tennessee and Ohio State on the road, dominated rivals Texas and oSU, won three conference championships and willed his team to a final four playoff berth, not to mention winning the Heisman.

If Baker leads the Sooners to a National Championship, it will be hard to overlook Baker Mayfield as the greatest Sooner of them all.

Boomer Sooner…