Streaks…

Famous college slogans…

Oklahoma “Boomer Sooner”

Auburn “War Eagle”

Alabama “Roll Tide”

Texas “Texas Fight”

USC “Fight on”

Oklahoma State “Next year is our year”

Possibly given the Sooner women’s recent dominance of the Cowgirls in softball, we should change this slogan for OSU to read, “next decade is our decade”. With this year’s sweep, the Cowgirls have not beaten the Sooners in softball since 2011. The current OU win streak is at 20 games. One more year and the Sooners win streak over the Cowgirls will last into the 2020’s.

One may ask…how does this streak compare to football? While the Sooners have dominated the football series 88-17-8, the longest winning streak was 19 games from 1946 to 1964.   While that streak spanned more than one decade and will forever be the moniker for in-state rivalries, sweeping a team in three-game sets every year may be a taller order.

As you know even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while, so just like the Aggie football team, the Cowgirls will eventually snap the softball streak. At the same time given the fact that the Sooners return a solid nucleus of junior starters next year and the Cowgirls will graduate their best team in years, this streak may be safe for at least one more year.

As OU fans we love winning streaks so stay tuned…

Boomer Sooner…

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The Baker factor…

On draft day, hundreds, if not thousands of OU fans declared that they knew all along that Baker would go first in the NFL draft.   As for me, I didn’t see this one coming. I was hopeful that Baker would be at the top of the first round, not just for Baker’s sake, but also for the good of the program and most importantly, for recruiting, but I never expected him to go #1.    Now that he has, it will be important for us to mark this moment going forward.

Just like another great OU quarterback, Baker will be like a bell cow when it comes to recruiting.  Back in the day, OU football had hit a lull following the Bud years.   It was 1969 and Barry Switzer was making one of his many forays into Texas to steal that state’s best high school talent for the Sooners.   The best player in Texas that year was Abilene Cooper’s Jack Mildren. Mildren like Baker Mayfield was not blessed with the prototypical physique of most star quarterbacks.   Instead Mildren like Mayfield possessed the heart of a champion to go along with the Crimson blood flowing through his veins.

Mildren became the bell cow that year as he led the procession of great Texas high school talent crossing the Red River to play for the Sooners.   With this group, the Sooners became a force on the national scene once again, played in the ’71 Game of the Century and won National Championships in ’74 and ’75.

I see the same thing happening today as Baker has become the standard bearer for OU football and as a result blue chip football players are flocking to Norman once again. The Sooners will return a solid nucleus of talent this coming year to go along with a top ten 2018 recruiting class.  Joining the Sooners over the next two years will be the #1 ranked Rivals (2019) class and the #1 247Sports (2020) class. Not since the Barry years have the Sooners recruited like this.

I know that no one would wish the Browns job on anyone, but then again, if anyone can be successful in Cleveland, Baker can. Baker is the type guy that legends are made of.  What better place than Cleveland for him to show off his Super Man impression. The whole world including the next batch of blue chip recruits will be watching as well.

Buckle up Sooner fans; we’re in for a fun ride in both Cleveland and Norman…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

There is always next year…

Just like the Chicago Cubs fans of old, this has been the mantra of OU fans for years. I loved OU football growing up, but I cut my teeth as a baseball player. Needless to say, I became an OU baseball fan as well. Times were good back in the day as Enos Semore put OU baseball on the map.

After Enos retired, OU spent only one year in neutral before hiring another great baseball coach in Larry Cochell. Cochell guided the Sooners to a National Championship in ’94. Those were good times…we did not know how good we had it. That was then and this is now.

A young Joe Castiglione fired Cochell for an ill-advised, politically incorrect comment. He compounded that mistake by hiring Gene Stephenson from Wichita State. Stephenson lasted less than 24 hours before changing his mind and returning to Wichita. Then in a knee-jerk move, Joe C. hired Sunny Galloway who many contended during his tenure to be the worst human on the planet.

When Texas pitching coach Clint Johnson was overlooked for the Texas job, Joe hired him to be the pitching coach for the then coach head coach Pete Hughes. I have to believe that Joe has matured as an A.D. and that he knew all along that Clint Johnson would be promoted to be the head guy at the first opportunity. This happened last year and now we shall see.

Okay, here’s deal with OU baseball…OU baseball is woefully behind the rest of the world. We recruit to a high school-type stadium while the other guys play at stadiums that Minor League teams would be proud of.  We will not turn this thing around over night, but then again, the college game can be unpredictable.

In spite of OU’s traditional midseason swoon, the Sooners have managed to salvage the third game of the three game set against Texas and Tech.  May not seem like much right now, but after twenty years of horrid baseball, we will have to depend on moral victories until the new coaching staff gets things figured out.

I know I am going out on a limb here, but I think we may finally have the right coach…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Pass me the football please…

Yes I know we are still stuck with Mike Stoops and yes; we must learn to play without Baker Mayfield, the greatest baller of all time.   At the same time, I really like Lincoln Riley and the direction of this team.   Unlike most of us, Lincoln spent little time stewing over the Rose Bowl loss.   He knew he had work to do.   Lincoln knew that OU had three priorities for returning OU to perennial national championship status. Improve the play of the secondary, special teams and recruit SEC-type athletes.

Being far wiser than his 33 years would suggest, Lincoln avoided making a classic Schnellenberger mistake. With Bob Stoops still hanging around Norman, firing Mike Stoops would have been a huge mistake. He did the next best thing…he promoted Kerry Cooks to play bigger role on defense and sent Cooks out to recruit a difference-make for a much-aligned defense.

Brendan Ridley-Hiles was recruited during the late signing period and this guy was a huge get for the Sooners. OU has not had a lock-down corner for years so getting Ridley-Hiles was big time.   Bookie as he is known was recruited out of IMG Academy, the Florida high school football factory.   With or without Mike Stoops, our defense will be much better over the next few years due to guys like this.

Next, Lincoln went out and hired a co-offensive coordinator and a special teams guru in the same package. Given today’s coaching staff size restraints, this was a brilliant move.   Again, Lincoln is avoiding mistakes made by more seasoned coaches.   Play callers can make excellent head coaches, but only when they share the offensive load with someone they trust.

Hiring Shane Beamer to help with the offense and with special teams was remarkable move to say the least.   In case this name sounds familiar, Shane Beamer is the son of Frank Beamer, the former Va. Tech Head Coach. For years Vegas odds-makers have given the Hokies an extra 10 points per game because of the play of Frank Beamer’s special teams.   Shane Beamer is a chip off the Frank Beamer block. This guy will be the difference maker that OU has badly needed in this critical area for years.

There you have it…in the last three months OU football has gotten better in each of the three phases of the game…offense, defense and special teams.   After living through the Trae Young/OU basketball trainwreck, football can’t get here fast enough. Pass me the football please…

Boomer Sooner…

Oklahoma wrestling…

In typical Aggie fashion, OSU named their basketball arena for a wrestling coach.   Then again, this is the same bunch that invented the term mythical National Championship. Even before they named themselves the 1945 mythical football national champions, they did the same thing in wrestling.

Since the days of Daniel Boone and Abe Lincoln, guys had been wrestling each other. Oklahoma A&M’s Ed Gallagher decided to turn this event into a sport. It was 1921 and A&M began beating up on high school teams in dual wrestling matches. The Ags won every match for 10 years and every wrestling National Championship for 20. That’s right, this is where all those national championships the Ags love to brag about come from.

After the war, other colleges, including OU and the best college wrestler of all time Danny Hodge got into the mix.   As a result Oklahoma became a hotbed for high school wrestling. Both OU and OSU won authentic National Championships in those days.

It was at the tail end of this era that the Bedlam term was created. OU’s Dr. Death (Steve Williams) had worked the Aggies into such a frenzy that OSU officials had to call out the Stillwater fire brigade to hose down the crowd.

In the 70’s girls decided they preferred watching guys run up and down the court while slam-dunking basketballs to guys rolling around on a mat grabbing each other crotches. High school wrestling in Oklahoma began to wane. When the Big 12 disbanded and Missouri and Nebraska left the conference the sport died on the vine.

Today, the Big 12 is made up of an OU program that is on life support, an OSU program in desperate need of a rival and Iowa State that is desperate of a men’s sport.  In standard idiotic style, Big 12 officials created a makeshift conference made up these three teams, North and South Dakota State, Northern Colorado and Utah Valley.

That’s right Oklahoma wrestling has gone from Bedlam to riveting matches against Utah Valley. Following suit…at this year’s national tournament, the once proud Cowboys finished 13th while the Sooners collected a measly one point to finish at #56.

Can anyone say…uncle…it is time to put this sport out of its misery.

 

 

Reflections…

While most would to prefer to burn the tape of this year’s basketball season, I suggest that we take another look…OU will never be a Kansas, Kentucky or Duke that can sign “one and done” players on a regular basis. Just as importantly OU is not going to interview for the FBIs Most Wanted List.   These facts create a conundrum of sorts for OU fans.  We want to win, but getting enough NBA-type players through the “one and done” process or by cheating is not in our future.

We are stuck with being a good, not great basketball program coached by a guy who will always do things the right way.   Kansas will get the one and doners while OSU will gets its players the old fashioned…by cheating.

On Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Trae Young and the OU basketball team will both be one and done. The good news is that Trae will make millions and possibly give some of that money back to OU for us to build a real basketball arena.  The other good news is that the Sooners will play one more game in the tournament than OSU.

I think that most of us believed that OU’s season would be over following that embarrassing loss to OSU in Kansas City. I believe that for OU to be playing one more game is a big deal.   Being the naïve sort of guy that I am, I believe the selection committee may have asserted itself by rewarding Lon Kruger the extra game instead of OSU.

The committee is made up a bunch of coaches who care about the game and who want it preserved for the next generation to enjoy.   These guys hate cheaters as much as I do and when given a choice between OU and OSU last Sunday, they chose the good guys.

Some may say, why does it matter with the Sooners likely headed back to Norman Thursday night. It matters because, it has to start somewhere and this may be a good place to start.  Good should always overcome evil.

This is my story and I’m sticking with…

Boomer Sooner…

Sherry’s new found BFF…

I had a tough time creating a title for this blog.   I could gone with a favorite Yogi Berra quote of “it’s deja vu all over again” but that would not work as we have seen this OU men’s team lay an egg time and time again this year…and for that matter we saw Lon’s boys meltdown at this same time last year.

I could have also gone with “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, after all the Sooners on many occasions have tempted us to the bitter end before bailing out the opponent with a barrage of three pointers that took out only cheerleaders.   Seriously, have you ever seen so many three-point shots miss iron?

Of course that standard “the enemy of great is good” phrase that has enveloped both the men’s and women’s teams would be a good title, but that would be way too easy. Instead I decided to go with “Sherry’s new found BFF”.

As you know I am an equal opportunity blogger…last time I hit Sherry pretty hard…this week it’s Lon’s turn. As everyone knows Trae Young is going to make a ton of money next year, regardless of how the Sooners finish.   He will become a special talent at the next level; in the meantime he has become the 2nd coming of a Mike Stoops defense…hard to watch.

While I hate this “one and done” deal, one can’t blame him for leaving, particularly in light of what college coaches make these days. By my math Lon Kruger is hauling down around $125,000 for every win this year. Of course you can double that amount for last season.   Granted paid fans are picking some of his salary, but football donors are picking up most of the tab. Trae has to do what Trae has to do…

The OU problem was here before Trae and it will be here after he is gone. For OU administrators, as long as Sherry and Lon can keep OU off the NCAA “most wanted list” and keep our newly found top 100 USNewsandWorldReport academic ranking in tact, Sherry and Lon will have lifetime contracts. I just wish OU officials could figure out a way to win a few more basketball games at the same time. By my count over a dozen universities ranked ahead of OU on the US News list have figured out a way to do both.

As for me I am not planning on spending my twilight years watching mediocre OU basketball, men’s or women’s. If that had been my course of action back in the day, I would have stayed on the farm and become an Aggie.

Boomer Sooner…