T. Boone’s big screen…

I have a confession to make.  There was a time when I actually liked OSU.  My first experience with OSU football was actually a positive one.  I was twelve and my Moore little league football team played the Stillwater little league team on Lewis Field prior to the Kansas-OSU game.

We entered the field from the east side through a green maze.   As a kid, this was a big time experience.   Once we entered the field of play, I noticed how the aluminum bleachers on both sides of the field seemed to tower into the sky.   We played our game as the fans began to fill up Lewis Stadium.  After our game we were allowed to leave the field and  watch the Kansas and OSU players enter the field via the maze.  Again, I was only 12, but I thought this was pretty cool.

Several years later OSU decided to do away with the maze in order to expand Gallagher Arena.  Yes, I understand progress, but it seemed to me that this expansion could have occurred without tearing down the maze.  At least the expanded Gallagher-Iba Arena façade would make for a respectable backdrop for the east side of the football stadium.

As we know OSU had already turned the keys to the ranch over to T. Boone Pickens by this point.  Then it struck T, Boone that his adoring fans needed a bigger view of his mug.  After all Jerry Jones can produce a full size likeness of himself the length of a football field at Jerry’s World.  Then it came to T. Boone…the side of Gallagher-Iba was just sitting there taking up space so let’s tack up a bigger than Dallas size jumbotron to its side.

I don’t know about you, but this may be the tackiest things I have ever seen.  Gone is the maze, as well as the architectural Gallagher-Iba backdrop.  In comes a drive in Movie Theater.   Now all of Paine County can see T. Boone’s insatiable half time interviews along with the latest Mike Gundy mullet cut.  I can just hear Aggie fans oohing and awing over their new big screen t.v.   This reminds me of the Beverly Hillbillies and their cement pond.

Now Bobby Joe and Betty Sue can park their pickup truck outside the west side of the stadium and watch the game in between whatever else they may be doing.   Grab a bag of popcorn and a soft drink and these guys will be set.   While we may have lost one piece of Americana in the green maze, we have recaptured one with a drive- in movie at the “Pick”.

This is a sad commentary of how low college football in this state has sunk…

So sad…

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Home field advantage…

I don’t want to rain on everyone’s Big 12 parade, but college football is a game of emotion and home field advantage is the name of this game.  I have not spent a lot of time in NFL stadiums, but I suggest that with the possible exception of Lambeau Field, the home field advantage of NFL games is nowhere close to the college game.

I want to give Gary Patterson and Sonny Cumbie credit for allowing their team to hang with a really physical Ohio State team in Dallas.  Unfortunately, we’re talking mash mouth football versus the Big 12 and eventually, Ohio State wore down the Horned Frogs.  I also believe that if this game had been played in Columbus, it would not have been close.

Same goes for Texas and USC.  Texas looked like a whole different team on Saturday.   The Texas defense fed off the crowd and created a second half blocked punt that sealed the deal.   USC was soft and in typical west coast fashion quit after Texas went up by two touchdowns in the second half.

Beating this USC team only happens with a frenetic, sold out Darrel K. Royal Stadium.  Same goes for oSU.  Boise State looked like they had never seen a football before as the Aggie crowd ate their lunch.  Give me a break…two critical blocked punts would not have happened if that game had been played on the blue carpet in Boise.

All of this makes OU’s win in Ames that much bigger.  I know it was Iowa State, but I also know that you can magnify the intensity of a home crowd a hundred times when they are playing OU.  OU limps into Ames without Rodney Anderson and comes out a winner.  That was big time.

Here’s the thing about the home field advantage in the Big 12. You can add a touchdown to the odds maker’s point spread.  This means that oSU should beat an improved Texas Tech team at home next Saturday.  Texas will not come close to duplicating that same home field advantage against TCU, but should still win the game at home, and West Virginia should beat K-State for the same reason.

College football games have become like college basketball games where the home team has a huge advantage.  Liquored up fans are placed within feet of the playing surface, crowds from opposing teams are seated in the rafters and the sound system is synchronized to coincide with the snap of the football.

I know this makes college football more fun for the home crowd, but I do want to advise oSU fans to hold off buying those tickets to the college football playoffs.   Road games, if oSU ever plays one, may not come so easily…

Boomer Sooner…

Bedlam…

You know I hate the word Bedlam, but between Joe C. and T. Boone Bedlam has become not only a marketing bonanza for both schools, it has become a rallying cry for OSU.  Thankfully Sooner Magic has prevailed over OSU for the most part in spite of Joe C.’s attempt to turn OU/OSU into a rivalry game.

Giving T. Boone credit, he has done a great job of financing the OSU coaching staff that has decided to stay put.   He has also put his money where his mouth is when it comes to recruiting better players to Stillwater.   As they say just follow the money…

According to the latest ESPN game percentages the Big 12 Conference championship will be decided in Norman on November 10th.  OU is favored to win all its game prior to and after that game and OSU is favored  to do the same with the exception of the OU game. I had hoped that Boise State would jump up and bite the Ags in the butt, but according to ESPN, OSU will beat Boise State this Saturday.

Here are the latest OSU win percentages according to ESPN.

Boise State – 56%

Texas – 62%

@Kansas State – 73%

Iowa State – 72%

Texas Tech – 73%

West Va. – 64%

@TCU – 52%

As we’ve discussed Mike Gundy’s soft non-conference schedule has allowed OSU to beat down two weak opponents, create confidence and avoid injuries to key players.   Combine these facts with a relatively weak Big 12 Conference schedule and you have the makings for another strong OSU season.

Of course as you can imagine it is times like these that we need to be reassured by Sooner Magic.   Fortunately, OSU’s chance of beating the Sooners is only 19%.  Always, looking for that silver lining, If ESPN prophecy comes to be, their will additional good news for the Sooners this year.  Even without Rodney Anderson this OU team will dominate OSU both in Norman and in the Big 12 Championship game at Jerry’s World.

Boomer Sooner…

 

Next guy up…

For those of us who have been watching this game for a while, we stroke out anytime a player grabs his knee after a play.  On Saturday, Rodney Anderson’s immediate reaction was not overly overt, but we knew that the news would be bad.  Nine times out of ten an immediate reaction by a player grabbing his knee means an ACL issue.  Nine times out of ten, this means season ending surgery.

As Rodney limps ever slightly off the field, we suspected the worse.  Even when he walked to the locker room under his own power, we were not convinced that our worries were over.  The ACL is the ACL and you can’t play this game without a fully developed one.  As the game dragged on and OU expanded its lead, that nagging feeling would not go away.

This guy is our meal ticket and we know it.  Lose this guy and the outlook for the season changes dramatically. Rodney Anderson is not only one of the best running backs in the country; he is also a pass threat out of the backfield that few teams possess.  Rodney Anderson is a difference maker.

While this is a huge loss for the Sooners, this injury continues a streak of horrible luck for this kid.   This will be his third season ending surgery during his OU career.  I have followed the game for a long time, but I don’t know that I have seen anything like this.   If he can fight his way back from this one, Rodney Anderson deserves to win the Heisman Trophy based on heart and perseverance alone.

That’s the bad news…the good news is that we are OU.  Rodney Anderson will get the best care and support possible and will be back next year for his run at the Heisman.  As for OU, Lincoln Riley’s leadership will be tested and his recruiting of great players will be rewarded.

On the immediate forefront a running back who has been getting playing time for the last couple of years will likely be the next guy up.  The long term solution comes from a guy who has only been on campus since January.  A high school running back has to be special to have been recruited out California to attend Florida’s IMG Academy.  T.J. Pledger is that kind of back.   We must now hope that T.J. Pledger can be the next guy up and can produce the next difference maker at running back.

With Kyler Murray fulfilling predictions at quarterback and what appears to be a vastly improved defense, Pledger will allow OU to stay in the hunt for national honors.  I expect that we will see evidence of this fact next Saturday in Ames.

Boomer Sooner…

Heat alert…

Back in 1997 my football bro and I spent what we assumed would be the worst football night of our careers.  We attended the OU 51-7 loss to Texas A&M game when the wind chill eclipsed the zero mark.  Just like the 2nd half of Saturday’s game most fans showed up disguised as empty seats.  No one in their right mind showed up for that game.  Unfortunately, we were not in our right minds.  We were OU fans.

Making matters worse was the fact that the ’97 game was at the height of the John Blake malfeasance era and OU had no chance of winning the game.  I had an extra ticket that night that I sold for $1 dollar, not of course for the money, but for the principle of the thing.  I still have that dollar.

I saw the same state of insanity this past Saturday.  First, we stand in line for an hour to be screened.  In standard form OU decided to use a Wiley Post Airport screening process to handle the 85,000 fans that showed up for the game.  I have no problem with security, but give me a break…please contact Will Rogers and see how they handle these things.

Between the pre-game security lines, the countless OU touchdowns with their automatic reviews, and the endless Fox t.v. timeouts that seem to last forever, the game slowed to a crawl by the end of the first half.  By half time there were more fans in the intensive care unit for heat stroke than there were still left in the stands.   Extra mental wards were set up at Griffin Memorial Hospital for those fans who insisted on braving the 2nd half heat.

On the positive side, I must give a shout out to OU fans, particularly my friends from Alaska who went from a balmy 46 degrees to 105 in the shade to support their Sooners.  The fans showed up as expected and stayed as long as humanly possible.

Here’s the deal…how do we make sure that next year’s Labor Day home opener is not a rooster kickoff.  This is not rocket science…a simple check of the average heat index the first weekend of September should do it. Really, even OSU has figured these things out by scheduling their home openers at night…and we call them Aggies.

Joe needs to grow a pair and insist that the Big 12 office takes care of its marquee team.  If not, I believe OU fans should kidnap Joe, make him stand in the airport screening line and then make him sit for four hours in section 108.  Trust me this should do.

There you have it…no more Labor Day rooster kickoffs…

You’re welcome…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Tom Herman who…

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Tom Herman was on top of the world as the coach of the Houston Cougars.  His team snuck up on OU in 2016 and created a bad day for OU and a highlight reel for Herman as his Cougars beat the Sooners in the season opener.  Longhorn fans began frothing at the mouth as they saw Herman as the next great Texas coach who they envisioned beating OU on a regular basis.

Texas fans could not get Charlie Strong out of town fast enough.  That was then and this is now.  Now Tom has lost two years in a row to a bunch of turtles.  The fickle UT fan base has taken notice as ESPN reports that tickets for the Tulsa game this weekend are selling for $2 dollars a pop.  With tens of thousands on sale, the beginning of the Saturday night game may look like the end of the OU-FAU game.

How times have changed…we were shell shocked after the loss to Houston and we cringed to think what the new guy could do at Texas.  Since that day, OU has won two more conference titles, won another Heisman, and hired the next great OU coach in Lincoln Riley.  OU is now recruiting lights out with no end in sight.  Texas continues to recruit well, but can’t seem to locate a quarterback and/or running back in the whole state of Texas.

It appears that Texas is still a year away, if not several years away.   For those of us who have lived through the flip side of this story seeing the Horns struggle is the best news we’ve had in a while.  We are going to ride this horse for as long as it will stand on four legs and we are going to enjoy every minute of the ride.

Ironically, everyone derided Texas A&M when they left the Big 12 a few years back.  The Aggies simply got tired of being a punch line for Texas jokes.   There is an underlying good news story for OU here.  If this were A&M, the alums would have had Tom Herman’s U-Haul loaded up Sunday morning.

We don’t want this to happen just yet.  If that happened, they might actually find someone who could get the job done.  Lincoln can own this guy moving forward.

Boomer Sooner…

Scheduling…

As we know scheduling the right teams in the opener can make for a great season.  Mike Gundy has parlayed this move for years by playing three high schools teams to begin the season.  This assures bowl eligibility, builds momentum and creates 9/10 win seasons.  As a result, the Mullet Man has become a rock star in Stillwater and one of the highest paid coaches in America.

The rest of the Big 12 is not that far behind The Maestro.  On Saturday six of the ten Big 12 teams played teams that you will not find in your latest preseason football magazine.  These teams are not one of the 130 teams playing at the FBS level.  These are teams that would lose to OU’s J.V. team.

The good news is that the conference was 4-1-1 against their high school schedule.  OU was not far behind as Florida Atlantic impersonated a high school team on Saturday, but give OU credit.  Everyone assumed that FAU would bring its varsity squad.  The other three Big 12 teams played Power Five Conference teams.  The 2nd group went 2-2.

Here’s the thing, other Power Five Conference are insisting that their teams step up team scheduling.  As usual the Big 12 will be late to the dance, but it will have to happen to keep up.  Also, allowing 2/3rds of the conference to play high school teams and get a leg up on the rest of the league in the race for bowl eligibility is not fair.  If you don’t want to run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.  Here’s a list of the Big 12’s high school schedule this past weekend.

  • Nichols State…quick where is Nichols State located?
  • South Dakota…K-State had to score 15 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to beat the Coyotes.
  • Missouri State…the team took a yellow school bus from Springfield MO. to the game in Stillwater…actually, I made this up, but you get my point.
  • Abilene Christian…Abilene makes for a nice song, but really this is the Big 12.
  • South Dakota State…home of the Jackrabbits…that’s right you can’t make this stuff up. I bet that mascot strikes fear in their opponents.  Fortunately, this game was rained out in Ames.
  • Southern…2nd pop quiz question…where is Southern located and I don’t mean the region of the country.

Answers to pop quiz questions…

  • Nichols State and Southern are both located in Louisiana.
  • Nichols State beat Kansas Saturday night…this was probably the only winnable game for Kansas for this year so expect the new Kansas AD to fire KU coach David Beaty any minute now.

If you got both trivia questions right, you win two free tickets to the next high school game played by OSU at the Pick in Stillwater.