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…

The hits just keep on coming…

About the time I was putting the finishing touches on my last blog, the Kennedy Brooks story broke and I had to trash it.   Like all OU fans, I was upset and I wanted someone or something to blame.  

I thought about using the standard “these kids now a days” blame game or blaming the Black Lives Matter movement or this damn coronavirus, but then I got a grip.  I realized I should go with an oldie, but goodie.   I decided to blame the system. 

The system that turned us into rabid college football fans is now turning its back on us.   College sports now exists at the mercy of professional sports and whatever they say goes.  You really can’t blame a Kennedy Brooks or Trae Young for pocketing millions of dollars, after all that is the American way.  Team owners have it to burn and as a result college sports exist at their behest. 

College fans are allowed to borrow college kids for two years plus a redshirt year in football and one to two years in basketball.  Anything more than this should be seen as borrowed time and for that matter a blessing.   Most importantly, whining about the system serves no purpose.   The system always wins.   

At this point all we can do is wish Kennedy Brooks well as he takes his slice of American Pie and then see who will be the next guy up.  As OU fans we are fortunate that we can recruit four and five star running backs to replace the four star guys that we lose to the pros. every year.    Here’s my next guy up list…

Kennedy Brooks……………….4 star recruit in 2017 opts out…

T.J. Pledger…………………………4 star recruit in 2018

Rhamondre Stevenson……..Juco All-American in 2019

Marcus Major……………………4 star recruit in 2019

Seth McGowan………………….4 star recruit in 2020

Camar Wheaton……………….5 star prospect in 2021

We’ll be okay…

Boomer Sooner…

Anxiety attack…

We now know that we will play a non-conference game along with nine conference games this season.  According to Joe Castiglione, we will play three games within five weeks which means we will play Missouri State on September 12th and Baylor on October 3rd.  The question now is who will be the mystery team in the middle of that sandwich.

Rumor has it that Big 12 officials want the Big 12 to start the season off with a bang so they are looking for rivalry games for that first conference weekend.    For OU this would mean either Texas or OSU. Texas will never agree to move their OU game away from October 10th and of course no one tells Texas what to do, so that would leave OSU. 

With their best team in years OSU would love the opportuniy to start the season on national t.v. against the Sooners.  For OSU this would be a dream come true.  For OU on the other hand, this would be a lose-lose situation.  

We are expected to beat OSU every year and as a result, the Sooners will have everything to lose and nothing to gain.  Next, the Sooners will start an inexperienced quarterback in Spencer Rattler.  We know that Spencer is going to be a star, but why put him in the fire swamp right out of the chute.  Give him a game or two to find his bearings. 

OSU on the other hand will start a former four-star quarterback who showed spurts of brillance last year.  The Ags will also trot out an experienced team with exceptional skill position players.   For the first time ever, this game will be played in front of phantom fans which means the Sooners’ home field advantage will be minimized. 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been licking his chops for several years hoping that someone would knock the Sooners off their high horse.  He wants conference parity in the worst way and I would not put it past him to use this game to make that happen.

I  know all OU fans want football, any kind of football in the worst way, but we don’t want it to happen at OU’s expense.  It will be Joe Castiglione’s job to make sure that OU’s interests are protected and that this sordid scenario does not happen.   This pandemic is not the Sooners’ fault and having to play a game of this nature due to the virus is simply unacceptable.    

Boomer Sooner…

Conference plus two schedule…

The latest coronavirus player revolt in the Pac 12 will likely spread nationwide and if that happens it may be the death knell for college football this fall.  If that happens we will be praying for a spring season.  In the meantime, Big 12 officials will decide what to do with a fall season this week just in case it happens.   

The other Power Conferences have settled on playing ten game conference schedules this year with the ACC going one better by adding one non-conference game to their ten game conference schedule.  This really puts the Big 12 in a bind as we max out at a nine game conference schedule. 

The first proposal on the table at the Big 12 meetings this week will be a conference plus one schedule.  For OU this will consist of playing a conference schedule along with Missouri State.  The unfortunate part of this schedule is it’s strength of schedule weakness.  While Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama will have strong resumes made up of power conference teams, OU’s schedule will be woefully weak by comparison.  More importantly OU will be  seriously handicapped when the playoff selection committee meets at the end of the season. 

If conference officials choose to think outside the box and go with a conference plus two schedule we might have a chance in the strength of schedule area.  For OU, let’s keep Army on our schedule.  Granted, Army is not Tennessee, but Army would certainly give our non-conference schedule much needed substance.

Conference officials should continue to allow teams to start in August and they should redesign the schedule to move Big 12 teams to early year open dates created by this mess.   Then, the schedule makers should create additional open dates later in the year to accommodate Covid 19 issues. Here is the mock conference plus two schedule. 

August 29-Missouri State

September 5 -open date

September 12-Big 12 opponent

September 19-open date

September 26-Army

October 3-Baylor

Rest of conference season with additional open dates as needed.

The August opener will serve additional purposes…first, Big 12 players and teams can be showcased to the nation for that first couple weeks.  We’ll be the only game in town.  That weekend will also be the propsosed date of the Sooner Summit.   This will be an opportunity for Caleb Williams to recruit some of his five star buddies to Oklahoma.     

This fall season is hanging on by a thread, but if it happens, we need to be ready.  Joe Castiglione needs to insist on a conference plus two schedule.  

Boomer Sooner…

John Blake…

From all accounts John Blake was a stand up guy who was respected by all.  You can’t do much better than that.  It’s unfortunate that his football life was characterized by his days as the Head Coach at OU. It was to say the least ugly.  A three year period without a winning season… the only time in OU history.  

Unlike many, I feel badly for John Blake because he deserved better.  Most importantly, this should never have happened.  You can’t blame John Blake for applying for the job with no experience.  We have to believe in ourselves and John Blake was given the opportunity of a life time and he took it.    

OU fans were desperate after the Howard Schnelenberger debacle and we wanted to believe that John Blake would be the answer.  We were sucked into this thought by people we trusted.   Barry Switzer had campaigned for Blake to get the job the first time around and when it came open a year later, he would not he denied.  

Al Eschbach, the Sports Animal loud mouth saw John Blake as his ticket to the big time, not to mention a way to buddy up to the King.  Neither Barry nor Al considered the ramifications to John Blake if he got hired.  Between Barry and Al and starved OU fans, the Regents were outnumbered and hiring John Blake was the only way for them to stay in town.  This ended up being bad news for OU fans and bad news for John Blake.  He was in over his head. 

John Blake was mercifully relieved of his duties three years later.  Good news for OU fans and if the truth be known, good news for John Blake.  Fortunately, there is a good ending to this story.

Unknown to most OU fans, John Blake won a National Championship in 2000.  Yes, Bob Stoops was the Head Coach, but Bob won that trophy with John Blake’s players.  You see, John Blake was one heck of a recruiter.  

Every OU coach has a legacy and in John Blake’s case helping make that 2000 National Championship season happen will be his…

Boomer Sooner…

Same old story…

You gotta love it…OSU decides to conduct an internal investigation into Mike Gundy’s behavior and as expected he is cleared of all charges. That’s right, he talks and walks like a racist, but he’s going to take sensitivity classes and get all better.  Being a fly on the wall in those sessions would be fun.  Teaching Gundy to spell sensitivity should take at least two or three sessions.

Thankfully, the NCAA did not leave it up to OSU to investigate OSU’s latest “pay for play” basketball scheme.  They asked the FBI to step in and as you might imagine the results were decidedly different. 

In a nut shell, the NCAA with the help of the FBI lowered the boom on the OSU basketball program. OSU’s near-death penalty will include sanctions for three years, a loss of scholarships for three years and a ban from post season play for this year. 

OSU fans should be excited…their beloved athletic program has made history again. The Ags who were already the most penalized athletic program in NCAA history out did themselves this time.  OSU is now the only school in NCAA history to suffer a near-death penalty in both football and basketball.  That my friend is hard to do.  

Oh well, nothing will ever change in Stillwater…they screw up in reverse every time they try to outdo big brother.  This year’s OSU recruiting class was on paper their best ever.  With NCAA sanctions in place, those recruits are free to enroll somewhere else.  Granted their big dog will spend some time in Stillwater, but he’s a one and done guy so his stay will be short lived.  With no post season play, having this year’s recruiting class around will lack any bluster.  

OU on the other hand had one of their worst recruiting classes ever as OU and Lon Kruger basically took the year off knowing that they had a solid team returning.  For next year, the Sooners are on the verge of one of their best classes in a while.  I’ll have more on that later, but the bottom line is that OU will end up having the last laugh in this deal. 

Hopefully, OSU fans will remember last year’s game against OU when they rushed the court.  Hopefully, these same fans recorded that event because I don’t I expect that to happen again for a while. 

Boomer Sooner…

Crazy summer…

This has to be the craziest summer on record and if last week is any indication, things are about to get even crazier.   The latest Vegas odds for playing football this fall now stand at 50-50.  The Vegas guys have been hanging out with the NCAA Commissioner who can’t make a decision on this matter either.   He has abdicated his role to the Power Five Conference Commissioners.  Right on cue, they appear to be split on the matter.

The Big Ten and Pac 12 announced last week that they will play only conference games this fall and the ACC will apparently make that same announcement by the end of the month.  Even though southern states have experienced a sunami-type surge in covid 19 cases the SEC is not the least bit interested in  calling off the season.   That leaves the Big 12…

With only ten teams to play nine games, the Big 12 is in a box when it comes to playing a conference only schedule.  The Big 12 also has another problem that no one else has.  How do you stay local as health experts have suggested when you have one conference team located just this side of Outer Mongolia? Let’s call it like it is…The Big 12 has no leg to stand on when it comes to this issue.  At this point, it would be best for the Big 12 to call it like it is and forge forward with a full regular season schedule. 

Let the academic conferences play an abbreviated schedule and allow the football boys have a full slate of games.  This will make everybody happy and give OU a huge advantage.  To elevate the status of the Big 12, OU will play an SEC team in Norman and Texas will play one in Baton Rouge.  These games will give the Big 12 a huge leg up in the race to the top when it comes to strength of schedule. 

As a result, if OU can run the table and then beat Texas in the Big 12 Championship game, it would come down to OU and the SEC champion for that coveted top playoff spot.  OU would have no less than a two seed which is critical to winning a National Championship. 

That’s right OU would go from today’s Vegas odds of no chance of winning a National Championship to a an excellent chance.  Ohio State which currently reigns as the top Vegas team to end up on top will come in at 3rd or 4th  in the seeding process due to its weak schedule.    Playing a conference full of Big Ten patsies won’t do much for a team’s strength of schedule resume.

Like they say…if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.  In this scenario, Ohio State may be staying on the porch.  I think Ryan Day should ask for a recount.

Boomer Sooner…