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I know you were probably expecting my take on the Baker Mayfield/Arkansas story, but I see that one as a non-story.   My Arkansas sources, Bubba and Joe Bob have informed me that Baker simply came across some bad moonshine while on a Snipe Hunt.  The rules to a Snipe Hunt in Arkansas are simple…The first guy to find someone with a full set of teeth wins…

Unfortunately, winning the prize took longer than expected so the bad moonshine had plenty of time to turn toxic.   Baker learned a lesson.  Stay out of Arkansas and stay away from bad hooch.

Baker will apologize to the Sooner Nation, beat Ohio State on the road and everything will be forgotten…

Now, on with the show…

Today’s story for the 2nd time in six months is Kansas…

Kansas…

Back in the late 70’s Kansas actually went toe to toe with the Sooners and Cornhuskers in recruiting. The player craved by all three was Kerwin Bell, a five star running back out of California.

People were shocked when KU pulled a rabbit out of the hat and landed Bell. Of course just like the Ole Miss. of today, KU ended up on probation two years later.  That did not matter as Kansas like today was desperate.  Bell was the Big 8 freshman of the year in 1980 and the Jayhawks actually became competitive in football and won a few games.

Just like 1978, KU is back in the recruiting business as the Jawhawks are currently ranked ahead of OU and Nebraska in the latest 247sports recruiting rankings for the Class of 2018.

Two things have happened to make this football resurgence possible.   Kansas’ head coach David Beatty has found fool’s gold in the form of Louisiana recruits.  He has sent a young, energetic assistant coach to New Orleans to recruit the town and he has convinced six players, three four-star and three three-star recruits to leave Louisiana for Kansas.

Again, this move may be fool’s goal, because the word on the street is that the run on New Orleans is due to a boycott by New Orleans high school coaches of LSU, but it is a start.   If KU can pick up LSU’s loose change, KU could become competitive in this woefully weak league.

Yes, I know it is early, but this has never happened before and will likely never happen again, so a Kodak moment is in order.  There may possibly be another cause for KU to get back into the football business.

Is it possible that the KU administrators are finally figuring things out…Yes, basketball will always be king at KU, but after paying for Bill Self’s exorbitant salary, having money left over to pay for the other 18 non- revenue sports will always be in short supply.

Renovating or tearing down one of the worst football venues in America and filling it up with live bodies would be much more profitable.   Basketball wins championships, but football pays the bills.   Who knows, this football business may actually catch on in Lawrence.

Tomorrow we will examine the latest 247sports recruiting rankings sprinkled in with information to spice up the rankings.

 

Baylor…

Several years ago, Baylor hired Art Briles as head coach.   Briles was one of the winningest coaches in Texas high school football history.  As everyone knows Texas high school football is a win at all cost industry so Briles came by his Baylor behavior honestly.

Eventually, Baylor under Art Briles became the poster child for “lack of institutional control.” Rapists disguised as football players wreaked havoc on the Waco campus.  His players also played with a sense of thuggery not seen since the Jimmy Johnson/Miami days.

Briles used his Thug Brigade to beat the Sooners in back to back seasons, which still sticks in the craw of Sooner fans.   As always happens however, the Grim Reaper had the last laugh and the Baylor machine came crashing down.

When push came to shove, embarrassed Baylor officials finally got it right.   Baylor Regents fired Briles along with the Athletic Director and university president and set out to right the ship.  Next, they coaxed long time good guy Jim Grobe out of retirement to coach the Bears.

They also released the recruits from the Class of 2016 to go elsewhere. The new guys jumped at the chance, which left Baylor with the shell of its former recruiting class for that year.

Adding insult to injury members of the Briles coaching staff spent the year looking for new employment. This meant there was no one left in town to entertain in-season recruits.

Losing one recruiting class is one thing, but losing two in a row is the kiss of death.   It appeared to everyone that the Baylor was toast.  And then, it happened for a second time in less than six months, Baylor did something right.

Baylor hired Temple’s Matt Rhule. Rhule had just coached a moribund Temple program to back to back ten win seasons and more importantly, he did it the right way.  The Baylor players on campus bought in to the Rhule rule and recruiting took off like a shot.

It is important to keep in mind that Waco is located in what can be described as the golden triangle of high school football. Positioned between Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, there are more prime time football players within 100 miles of Waco than in most states.

Baylor went from having one recruit at the end of November to a full complement of players on signing day. Baylor went from a Rivals class ranked #190 to a group just outside the top thirty.

For many OU fans the resurrection of a lifeless Baylor program may not be good news. As for me Baylor will never be a real threat…I blame Mike Stoops for those Baylor losses a few years back.

I instead see Baylor as a buffer to the color orange in Austin and Stillwater. Having a strong Baylor is a good thing.

2017 Big 12 recruiting rankings…

1….. OU (#7 nationally)

2….. Texas (#31)

3….. Baylor (#33)

4….. OSU (#37)

5….. TCU (#41)

6….. Iowa State (#44)

7….. Texas Tech (#47)

8….. West Virginia (#51)

9….. Kansas (#56)

10… Kansas State (#61)

Final recruiting rankings…

 

The more things change, the more things stay the same…The SEC, ACC, Ohio State, Michigan, and USC brought in the best hauls this year. The Rivals100 top ten list is as follows…

1…Alabama……..SEC

2…Ohio State…..Big Ten

3…Georgia………SEC

4…Michigan…….Big Ten

5…Florida State…ACC

6…USC……………Pac 12 – #1 in 2015, #11 in 2016 and #6 in 2017

7…OU……………..Big 12 – #15 in 2015, #14 in 2016 and #7 in 2017

8…LSU…………….SEC

9…Florida…………SEC

10..Texas A&M……SEC

Standard logic tells us that the combination of returning starters and top recruiting classes create a formula for championship series teams.

At this point time you can go ahead and pencil in Alabama, Florida State, the Ohio/Michigan winner for next year’s final four spots.

Alabama will be Alabama again; Florida State will be loaded with five star recruits including the nation’s top line recruit from this year and they play Clemson at home. Ohio State with its likely home game win against OU and with only Michigan to beat in the Big Ten will be #3.

For the fourth and final slot, USC has righted their ship and is now recruiting lights out again.   They also have a ton of NFL-type players returning so these guys are a definite top four team.

As has become accustomed the Big 12 champion will likely be on the outside-looking-in again next year. The only thing that will change this scenario will be a Texas win in the Coliseum over USC (not likely) or an OU win in the horseshoe (equally unlikely).

At the same time OU and the Big 12 must start somewhere and this recruiting class will help the Sooners eventually horn in on the big boys. A close loss to Ohio State and the running of the table against Big 12 teams will give the Sooners a shot.

Long story, short is that the Sooners must continue recruiting top ten classes every year. Unlike Sooner basketball where rebuilding is in vogue, OU football must retool every year. Of course, doing so with five star recruits is a must.

Getting back to the top four nationally will be augmented significantly if we can land T.J. Fledger a five-star running back out of IMG Academy in Florida next year. Fledger will fit in nicely with five-star quarterback Cameron Rising who has already committed to the Sooners.   Those two guys could go a long way in convincing other top flight IMG Academy players to make their way to Norman.

Boomer Sooner…

 

Jacob Phillips…

Last week Jacob Phillips, OU’s only five star recruit in this class was bitten by the SEC bug and flipped his commitment to LSU.

At first I was really upset, after all how could Bob let this happen and yes, just a week before signing day? After cooling my jets, I focused my anger against the real culprit here, the OU Regents.  If OU were playing in the SEC today, Bob would be flipping five stars from LSU to OU.

Stoops did all he could do by invading the Phillips home in Nashville with the entire defensive coaching staff. Of course as we know, once the SEC lights come on, it is game-over for the rest of the football world, particularly the Big 12.

While I saw this one coming as I learned that Jacobs was visiting Baton Rouge last weekend, I could not allow myself to give up hope. The OU staff and I both learned a hard lesson however.  Recruiting football players southeast of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is simply a waste of time.  That is SEC country and they don’t like losing games or players.

A snapshot of this year’s recruiting will serve as reinforcement of my point. The Big 12 will end up with one team (OU) ranked in the top ten and the Big 12 will end up with no five star recruits. The SEC on the other hand will have five (5) teams ranked in the top 10 and will land no less than thirteen (13) five star players.   Enough said…

At the same time not all the news is bad for the Sooners…This class is the best group to hit Norman in a decade.   The Sooners will bring home eighteen (18) four-star recruits, many of which are already on campus preparing for next season.   For added perspective on this point, OSU has three (3) four star prospects this year.

Basically, what I glean from all of this is that while National Championships may be out of our reach for the Sooners for a few more years, Big 12 Championships should become a yearly event, particularly with the championship game.   For the time being conference championships will have to do.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel however. If OU can continue to recruit top ten classes, the next coaching regime will be able to jumpstart recruiting and kick it into the next level.

Once the reigns are turned over to Lincoln Riley, the coach-in-waiting, that extra of burst of momentum that comes from a new coach will allow the Sooners to recruit five star players again, and yes compete for National Championships.

Don’t get me wrong I will always be thankful to Bob Stoops for righting the ship, but his timing for securing National Championships has passed him by. The timing for the next guy will be pristine.

When it happens, OU fans will owe Bob a great deal for greasing the skids to make that happen…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking News…

The OU administration has issued an executive order by dropping the OU men’s basketball program.  Men’s Lacrosse will be replace basketball…

Without any notice to fans, Lon Kruger has decided to just go through the motions this year… However, like today, the games will continue to be played in hopes of getting the players some P.T. for next year.

In a press release the headman assured OU fans that he hoped the team would be competitive again in four years when these guys become seniors.

Unlike the OU football program that is reloading by bringing home a top five recruiting class Lon Kruger has decided that rebuilding is the better way to go for basketball.

Unfortunately for those of us with nothing else to do, we were subjected to the OU-Florida game anyway.  Apparently ESPN did not get the memo that OU had dropped basketball and sent a crew to Norman for the game.  And of course as they say, the game must go on when advertisements have been sold…

In a word it was about as ugly a basketball as I have ever watched. The good news for t.v. viewers was that once the Florida lead hit 30 early in the 2nd half, the cameras left the playing surface and began showing Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale in a one on one conversation.

The only thing uglier and more boring than the game was listening to those old farts drone on about the good old days. Mercy…

There was one thing that can be taken from the game however…a new record was set on Saturday. The last time OU lost by that big a margin at home was back in 1921, you know when they actually used peach baskets for goals.

I suspect that that record will be short lived however as a hot, well-coached Aggie team comes to town Monday night. With the Gags in their ugly black unis and a hankering for a smack down, that game will be really ugly.  I believe my bedtime will come early Monday night.

Thank God for football recruiting…

 

 

 

 

Saving the game…

The college game needs a fix. The game we love is simply gotten too long. Just like concussions that got the attention of NCAA bigwigs, the injury bug due to game length will likely do the same.

Studies have shown that injuries to players grow exponentially with each minute added to the length of a game. That makes perfect sense.  As the body tires, injuries increase. Not exactly rocket sense, huh…

Back in the day, games scheduled for a 1:30 start would be over by 4:00. You could set your watch by that happening ever time.  The pomp and ceremony of those games was the same as today, but games did not last forever.  Heck fire, I could milk the cows before breakfast and be back before dark to milk them again before dusk.  Okay that was a stretch, but you get my point.

Marathon games of today with their pass-happy offenses can easily last four hours..

Last year the 2nd half of most OSU games were played in front of fans disguised as empty seats.  If fans can find something else to do in Stillwater, you can only imagine what happens in real college towns.

The recent National Championship game announced for 7:00 ended at 11:30 which means most of America missed one of the best endings ever. Enough said…

Let’s take a take a look at some suggestions for shortening the game day experience…

1…Kickoffs should start within five minutes of the announced telecast time…

2…The National Anthem should return to its original intent of being a song and not an opera.  I love Aretha Franklin, but not with my National Anthem.

3…T.V. timeouts must be gotten under control.  Every time the guy in his white jacket and red gloves steps on the field, I cringe.   After the fans have their ten-minute power nap, the game is back on…Advertisers should be asked to pony up more money per minute.  Those t.v. ads will sell just like they do now.   Problem solved.

4…Official reviews of every freaken play must come to an end.  The booth calls down as needed and is given one minute to make a call.  The booth guy then calls down to the head ref.  The head ref. hears the call in his headset and makes the call.  Give me a break…This is the 21st century.

6…College football has to give up its sacred first down clock stoppage rule.  Let the clock run on every play except for incomplete passes and the last two minutes of each half.  Quarterbacks can still clock the ball and coaches can manage their timeouts better… And yes, this goes for you too, Bob…

7…Play clocks should be set at 30 seconds after each play.  Cutting 10 seconds off every play will work wonders.  100 plays per team per game multiplied by 10 seconds…You can do the math…

7….Finally, and possibly most importantly for real OU fans, fewer clock stoppages will give Frick and Frack less time to start the wave. Every time the wave starts up at an OU game, Bud Wilkinson turns over in his grave. OU fans should honor Bud by letting him rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 16…recruiting – down the stretch…

Now that the dust has settled from this season and the Alabama/Clemson title game is in the books, we once again set our sites on recruiting. This year’s signing date is Feb. 1.

The National Championship game reinforced what we already knew; talent matters. Over the past three years, both Clemson and Alabama have recruited lights out.

Success breeds success, particularly in college football. Teams with five star recruits win on the field and in the NFL. A huge selling point these days is to show the high school kid how many players a program places in the NFL.

While I hate it when players leave early for the NFL, this is what high school kids want to see. Yes, it is a catch 22 for fans, but that is the world we live in.

A perfect case in point was this year’s Ohio State game. I actually thought we had a chance because The OSU had lost 12 starters off last year’s team to the NFL. As we witnessed, the Buckeyes simply reloaded and beat the dog out of our three star players.

Give Bob credit, he finally woke up a few years back and retooled his staff.   This move has made a huge difference on the field and in the recruiting wars. At the end of the last season, we saw five star recruit Caleb Kelly become a major factor.

In order to go mano y mano with the best teams in the country, we will have to convince more five-star-type players to relocate to Norman, America.

With a couple solid classes on campus and with 12 off the latest class going through spring drills and summer workouts, I am feeling much better about being more physical against Ohio State next year. Don’t expect a win in Columbus, but hopefully, we will not be embarrassed this time around.

Rivals Big 12…rankings…The top 25 list will follow this list.

4..…OU (Best class in a decade)…

27…Oklahoma State (Ags keep hanging around – makes us work harder)…

32… Texas Tech (pretty boy is finally recruiting juco players to play defense)…

33…Iowa State (new coach, new excitement, probably short lived, but you have to start somewhere)…

40…West Va. (How does Holgorsen convince Florida kids to relocate to Morgantown)…

41…Texas (few in numbers hurts ranking, but this will be the 2nd best in Big 12)…

57…TCU (small, but very solid class – TCU is hurting OSU in Dallas.

59…Kansas (Best recruiting move for KU was stealing OC Sonny Cumbie from TCU)

67…Baylor (for a bunch that started off with nothing, this class is not half bad)…

73…K- State (the silver fox will once again be asked to turn lemons into lemonade)…

 

Rivals top 25 rankings…

1…….Alabama

2……Ohio State

3……Georgia

4……Michigan

5..….OU

6……Florida State

7……Texas A&M

8……LSU

9……Penn State

10…Tennessee

11…South Carolina

12…Maryland

13…Miami

14…Auburn

15…Clemson

16…Notre Dame

17…Kentucky

18…USC

19…Florida

20…Arkansas

21…Louisville

22…Colorado

23…Washington

24…Arizona

25…Mississippi State