Social distancing…

I’m totally confused about this whole social distancing thing when it comes to college football games.  On the one hand, we have Texas A&M with their 12th man student section that resembles a mosh pit at a rock concert.  Then, we have the OU student section that resembled a Sunday morning church service at the K-State game.   Texas A&M upset 4th ranked Florida while OU was upset by K-State.  Enough said…

I know we have the piped in crowd noise this year that gives the appearance of fan support, but the OU players aren’t stupid.  When they look over at the student section and see a bunch of students spread out over five time zones, they know something’s up.   The students were being punished for not properly social distancing during the Missouri State game.  Seriously, who gives a rip…it was Missouri State and they were bored to tears just like the rest of us.   

When things starting going south in the 2nd half there was no raucous student section to stem the tide against the Wildcats.  Kansas State scored 24 unanswered points in that game.   I realize that I can’t blame the loss completely on the student section being dismantled, but I think it was certainly a contributing factor. 

I hope OU officials will get over themselves and allow our students to be students once again.  Wearing masks should be punishment enough.   If the same thing happens against OSU we should hold someone accountable.   This will be another test for Joe C.’s leadership style.  I hope for all of us that he passes this one. 

Boomer Sooner…

Hooked Horns…

Tom Herman, the head coach at Texas is in a pickle these days.   Not only did he lose to OU over the weekend, he lost his fan base as well due to activities not directly related to the game.  His donors are incensed that the UT players refused to stand for the “Eyes of Texas” after the OU loss. 

Of course the  Lyrics  to the “Eyes of Texas” have changed over the years.  When the Texas players were told that the tune got its origin from racist beginnings, they were incensed themselves and vowed not be a part of that tradition this season.

Regardless of one’s take on these issues, UT players, particularly black players are not going to back down. Just as resolute will be the UT donors. They love this song more than life itself. Tom Herman’s problem is that he should have taken a page from Lincoln Riley and dealt with these issues last summer.  He chose instead to kick the can down the road and now he’s in a lose-lose situation. 

His donors control his contract, but his players are firmly in control of his coaching future at Texas.   And here’s the kicker…OU fans now find themselves in a pickle as well.   Hating Texas is one of our favorite things to do, but Texas losing to OSU in two weeks will only hasten Tom Herman’s demise.  We need to rethink this situation in order to keep Urban Meyer away from the Texas campus.    

Lincoln Riley and the Sooners are firmly in control of the OU-Texas series and we don’t want to mess up a good thing.   The bad news is that Mike Gundy owns Texas as well.  If this pattern holds and OSU beats Texas in Stillwater in two weeks Tom Herman will likely be fired before the end of that weekend.    

Donors are bellying up to the bar as we speak in anticipation of buying out Herman’s contract and then pursuing Urban Meyer.  As we know money is no concern when it comes to Texas.  I know this is a tough one for OU fans, but seriously would you rather play against Tom Herman or Urban Meyer…sounds like a no-brainer to me.  I’m going with Texas over the Ags.

Boomer Sooner…

2020 miracle…

Right on cue, we have another miracle in the Cotton Bowl.  Many Sooner fans did not think it was possible for us to win and the Sooners kept them guessing right up until the bitter end…then it happened.   Tre Brown intercepts a Sam Ehlinger pass and the game was over and the Sooners had won.   

Granted, the game should never have gone into overtime, but that’s college football in the covid era.  To win that game the way we did in four overtimes was even better.   This win will pay huge dividends for us down the road.  Since going undefeated was not an option, going on a winning streak down the stretch will be just what the doctor ordered. 

The same goes for Spencer Rattler…he needed that game. I know he struggled early on and was benched, but he came back and led the Sooners to a critical win.   Spencer Rattler haters will disagree, but this kid is going to be a really good quarterback for us in time.  Just as importantly, for those who can’t read a roster, he’s all we have.  Tanner Mordecai is a nice quarterback, but there’s a reason he’s the backup. 

It was also nice to see other players like T.J. Pledger, Drake Stoops and numerous defenders have great games.  We’re going to need those guys down the road.  Yes, the naysayers will harp on the fact that we were just a couple plays away from being 1-3 going into TCU, but that never happened.  We’re 2-2 and headed north instead of south. 

We can now finish strong and go win a bowl game for the first time in four years.   We can also spend the off week reminiscing about the greatest OU-Texas win ever…OU 53 – Texas 45…

Boomer Sooner…

The ’96 miracle…

I remember that day like it was yesterday…It was the first year of the John Blake era and we had started the season at 0-4.  Texas came into the game highly ranked and the point spread was just this side of a hundred points.  No one and I mean no one gave the Sooners a chance.  OU fans for the most part had bailed on the season and were now focused on other things.  

And then it happened…out of nowhere the Sooners decided that they wanted to beat Texas.    In a nutshell this is what happened…The Sooners were trailing by 11 points with seven minutes to play in the game.    The defense made a stop and forced a Texas punt.  OU took the punt back for a touchdown cutting the lead to five.  The Sooners then went for two and made it,  cutting the deficit to three. 

Texas gets the ball back with time running out.   The Sooner defense made another stand and forced another punt. The Sooners drove the length of the field and kicked a game tying field goal as time expired.  The game went into overtime and the Sooners found a way to scratch out a win.  Final score…. OU 30 Texas 27. 

In 1996, just like today, the Sooners started an inexperienced freshman quarterback in Justin Fuente.  Our running back was James Allen who had done nothing during his career at OU up to that point.   The players ignored the radio shows and news clippings for that week, as well as constant bickering from OU fans and focused on beating Texas. 

With the season’s goals gone, that team played with reckless abandon and won.  We’re in the same boat today.  We all thought that at this point we’d be sitting at 3-0 and on our way to the playoffs while picking up another Heisman Trophy along the way. 

While those goals are shot, we can still beat Texas which for many of us old guard types will constitute a great season in and of itself.  It happened in the Cotton Bowl in ’96 and it can happen again on Saturday.  I’m not suggesting that you go out and bet the house on a win, but then again miracles do happen.  

Boomer Sooner…

Where do we go from here…

As most of us have surmised we’re still a long way from where we want to be on defense.   Yes, we have a new “speed D” moniker, but our guys are still chasing their guys which is never a good thing.   The last few years we could at least fall back on our offense to keep us in games.  Unfortunately, those guys are now picking up million dollar checks in the NFL.  I would say that it is now official.   2020 is a rebuilding year. 

Of course OU fans don’t want to hear this.  They assumed that Spencer Rattler would have a break out season on his way to picking up his Heisman Trophy.   Nothing short of winning every game would have pleased most OU fans.   What we really have here is a young quarterback playing with young running backs playing behind an inexperienced offensive line.

Allowing oSU to steal our thunder this year may be a by-product of this dredful coronavirus year.  I would suggest that we avoid the local media for the next three months.   Those OU-haters and Aggie lovers are going to have a field day.   That’s okay, losing to a bunch of Aggies once every decade is simply the price of doing business.  OU fans need to focus on the next decade.     

We will lose more games than normal this year, but if we can right the ship and make it to a decent bowl game, we’ll lay the ground work for National Championship seasons in the future.  Regardless of what happens in Dallas this week, we can use the off week between Texas and TCU to ensure a decent season.  

In the meantime, let’s look on the bright side…we will avoid smackdowns from SEC monsters in the playoffs and/or the Sugar Bowl.  Beating up on a Kentucky in the Liberty Bowl looks pretty good at this point.   I know this sounds lame, but winning a bowl game will go a long way in building needed momentum for next year. 

In the meantime, I suggest that we heed the sentiments from Dr. Sydney Freedman of MASH fame.  “Ladies and gentlemen take my advice, pull down your pants and  slide on the ice.”   At this point, we simply need to relax and look to the future.

Boomer Sooner…

 .

Jesse Palmer…

After watching OU’s meltdown to Kansas State, ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer insisted that nothing had changed in Norman.  Same old OU defense…they can’t tackle and they can’t cover.  This team is going nowhere again this year.   

At first I was right there with him as I was still stewing about OU’s latest early season meltdown.  Then after picking up the dog that I had kicked across the room, I began my rehabilation by reflecting on how OU had played for the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game.   

Spencer Rattler made some freshman-type mistakes but he was still on his way to a four hundred yard and four touchdown passing day.   The running game was crisp and the defense had held K-State to 28 yards into the 2nd  quarter.  Even late in the third quarter the defense looked much improved from last year’s bunch. 

It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the wheels came off the Sooner Schooner.   I won’t rehash the crash and burn details, but some of this was self imposed and some of it was just bad luck.  As for those of us who had seen this stuff before, we have only ourselves to blame.  There’s a reason they call this kid football.    

This may or may not make you feel better, but Jalen Hurts and Baker Mayfield had similar breakdowns during their final years in Norman.   In 2018 it was against Iowa State and last year it was Kansas State. Spencer Rattler was just in the wrong place at the wrong time this year.  This kid can flat out play so let’s cut him some slack.

As OU fans, we love a challenge and now we have one.  The Sooners get a do-over next Saturday in Ames on our way to the Cotton Bowl.  OU beat Texas in Arlington in ’18 and in Dallas in ’19 after a similar miscues.   We’ll be okay…

Boomer Sooner…

Be careful what you ask for…you may just get it.

Big Ten presidents and chancellors succumbed to pressure last week and voted to play football this year.  Sounds like a great deal for Big Ten football fans, but before fans get all giddy and stuff, they may want to take a look at the agreement’s fine print. 

This is what I mean.   The league has stipulated that “any player who tests positive will be barred from games for at least 21 days.  Three weeks is a long time for a player to be benched for one positive test.  With no off-weeks on Big Ten schedules, this could mean a player may lose as much as 1/3rd of the season. 

Here’s another kicker.  A team must stop practice and competition for at least a week if it records a positivity rate of more than 5 percent over a rolling seven-day period.  Given a 85 player roster, it will take only take five (5) players to sideline a team for an  upcoming game.  Compare this number to the seventeen (17) OU players that were sidelined against Missouri State. 

The academic and medical people piled on even more by insisting that players who test positive must also pass a battery of heart-related screenings, including a cardiac M.R.I. exam before returning to practice.  On the surface, this policy seems to lack any bluster, but down the road it will. 

This is an attempt by the Big Ten to spare itself of Covid 19 lawsuits related to heart problems years from  now.  This is a pretty smart move on their part.    This league has been swimming in lawsuits over the past twenty years so they are trying to learn lessons from the past. 

There is some good news in all of this.   Big Ten games will be played in empty stadiums this year.   This should provide teams like Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue a boost.  Winning for opposing teams just got a lot easier in Columbus, Ann Arbor and Happy Valley. 

For the average college football fan, having the Big Ten back in the mix is a good thing.  Hopefully, the Pac 12 will follow suit. If so, we can add a bunch more early morning and late night t.v. games to our our Saturday viewing schedule.  Finally, we will be able to have some decent football Saturdays. 

What a year…

The Big 12 North…

What do K-State, Iowa State and Kansas have in common?  They are all part of the unofficial Big 12 North.  To say that these teams suck is an understatement.  The worst for OU is that these teams are dragging down the credibility of the Big 12 Conference of which OU is a member.

Obviously, for a power conference bunch to lose to Sun Belt Conference teams is unacceptable, but pouring salt into the wound is the fact that all three of these teams lost at home.   This is a black eye for the conference that was flashed all over America.    This news is the latest in a series of bad news moments to hit the conference in recent years.  First, we lose quality teams to other conferences and then a couple years later we chose not to expand, a move that would have restored much needed credibility.   

This conference picture is not going to change as these three teams must rely on two and three star recruits from Kansas and Iowa.   As a result, these teams will never compete on a regular basis against Texas athletes recruited by the rest of the Big 12 Conference and America.  Having a third of the conference represented by high school-type teams does not bode well for the Big 12. 

Now with this fact in mind, let’s scope out a plan for this year.  OU must not only run the table and go undefeated, they must beat the dog out of the rest of the league.  Anything less will look like a loss to pollsters.  I’ve never liked running up the score on helpless teams, but these lower level Big 12 teams asked for this when they signed up for a full portion of the conference financial pie.    

Finally, we must beat Texas twice.  With the Big Ten coming late to the party and with the SEC playing full blown conference schedules this year that should result in losses for those teams, this formula should land OU in the playoffs driver’s seat. 

Fortunately for Sooner fans, if Saturday night was any indication, this team is up to the task.   

Boomer Sooner…

Tidbits for the week of September 7…

  • The Sooner Summit seemed to be a smash hit for Fairfax (Va.) Robinson five-star offensive tackle Tristan Leigh and his family.   Leigh was joined by his mother, uncle and little brother Aidan Leigh, a 2023 offensive tackle prospect who was offered Oklahoma on during that weekend.

“It was great,” Leigh’s mother Laura told 247Sports on Sunday morning. The group arrived for the event organized by Sooners quarterback commit Caleb Williams and his family on Thursday. The two five-stars were even on the same flight to and from Norman

Personal note:  The commitment for Tristin Leigh will come down to LSU and OU.  His family is set to take a trip to Baton Rouge in the near future.  If the Sooners can overcome the Tiger Bait trip, we could realize a big plus from the Sooners Summit.  Also, Leigh is good friends with Caleb Williams so I believe that OU has a decent chance at landing another five star recruit

  • The Oklahoma Sooners received some good news following the Summit, as Camar Wheaton, a running back out of Garland, Texas, released his top-three schools at this point in his recruitment. The Crimson and Cream made the cut alongside programs like Alabama and LSU.

Personal note: Prior to the Sooners Summit, the recruitment for Wheaton was between OU and Texas.  After the Summit, Texas was eliminated by Wheaton.  I now see Wheaton, who is a five star prospect as basically a lock for OU. 

USA Today Sports predictions for OU in 2020…

Sept. 12: Missouri State

  • Projected winner – Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 99.8 percent

Sept. 26: Kansas State

  • Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  85.6 percent

Oct. 3: at Iowa State

  • Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 70.8 percent

Oct. 10: Texas (neutral)

  • Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  51.6 percent

Oct. 24: at TCU

  • Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  66.1 percent

Oct. 31: at Texas Tech

  • Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  79.3 percent

Nov. 7: Kansas

  • Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  97.3 percent

Nov. 21: Oklahoma State

  • Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  74.8 percent

Nov. 28: at West Virginia

  • Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  77.6 percent

Dec. 5: Baylor

  • Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory:  86.2 percent

Personal note: According to USA Today our toughest games will be in Dallas and Fort Worth in weeks four and five.  The good news is that we have an open date between the Texas and TCU games. 

Let the games begin…

It appears that I owe Joe Castiglione an apology.  This year’s football schedule lays out much better than I would have thought.   No Bedlam to start the season and a couple games that will allow the Sooners to become acclimated to conference play prior to Texas.  All of this became an even bigger deal with the Kennedy Brooks’ departure.

As for the Big Ten and Pac 12 Conferences, we should have seen that coming.  When push comes to shove, football will always take a back seat to academics in the midwest and on the west coast.  The Covid 19 deal simply allowed their school presidents to flex their muscles and remind the athletic departments who was really in charge.  School leaders in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country operate under a different mindset.  That fact was borne out by the decision to buck the tide and play football this fall. 

Now that we are off and running, let’s see how far we can stretch this thing out and if we can turn this choas into a great Sooner season.  If we can keep another coronavirus surge at bay and keep playing, the Sooners can use the split season on the national level to their advantage.

The NCAA has already decided that we won’t see a set of playoffs this year, so the Sooners will have to win this national championship the old fashioned way.    It has worked for us in the past as six of OU’s seven national championhips were won without a playoff/BCS system.   They were called mythical national championships and these champions was selected by a panel of sports writers and/or coaches. 

Here’s my game plan.   Let’s say that OU gets on a roll early, beats Texas in Dallas and OSU at home on the way to going 11-0.  Then the other Power Conference teams, which are now playing much more competitive schedules, beat up on each other on their way to one loss seasons. If this happens regardless of the two seasons, OU can end up on top for our eighth National Championship.

I know this may sound pretty far-fetched, but in a year like this, anything is possible.     

Boomer Sooner…