Recruiting information following Jan. 17-19 visit weekend…

Recruiting information following Jan. 17-19 visit weekend…  

Results from the second week of the final stretch run are not measurably different from the first week.  In the consensus poll, OU and OSU moved up one spot each while Texas remained the same.  With less than two weeks to go before this year’s class is put the rest, the top rung among these three is still up for grabs.   

 

Here are the latest recruiting rankings for OU, OSU, and Texas…  

 

Latest Rivals100, 247sports, ESPN, and Scout.com rankings topped off by a consensus view of the rankings from these recruiting services.

 

                Cons.     Rivals100/247sports/ESPN/Scout.com

Texas    12           11           12           13           10

OU         18           16           17           17           23

OSU       24           27           28           25           15

 

Latest OU commitment. 

 

  • Jordan Thomas – 3 star defensive back from      Klein Texas who OU flipped from Northwestern.

 

Note:  Things should really begin picking up this weekend so expect changes to this chart next week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The SEC Monster = This Too Shall Pass…

 

A friend once cautioned me about putting too much stock in the SEC and domination of college football.  Referenced by many as man-football, his statement rang hollow at the time.  In retrospect, he was right.  While the domination of the game by the SEC and to some extent Alabama over the past ten years is nothing short of astounding, like the Bible, everything has its season and the SEC’s domination may be waning. 

The college game has seen its share of dominant teams over the past half century, each dynasty was eventually been brought back to earth for various reasons.  The first of these examples was our very own Oklahoma Sooners, who during the “Bud” era dominated the 50’s with not one, but two winning streaks.  The 47 and 31 win streaks by OU dominated the college scene like no other.  After the decade, Bud gave up football for politics and the rest of college football recovered.

In the 80’s and early 90’s, the Miami Hurricanes won five national championships under three different head coaches.  Boosted by Jimmy Johnson’s disregard for the rules the Miami Hurricanes became a haven for south Florida criminals that masqueraded as football players on Saturday afternoons.  With a swagger not seen before in college football, the Canes dominated the game for a decade.   Eventually the NCAA had enough of the Miami bad-boy act and sent in the sheriff to bring down the renegade program.  Miami has not been the same since. 

Nebraska, with its state of the art walk-on program, began their dominance of college football in the 90’s.  Basically every high school in Nebraska sponsored a player to walk on for the Cornhuskers. It was not uncommon in those days for Nebraska teams to have over 200 members.  Each community walk on, came an academic scholarship that would not count against the schools quota of football scholarships.   Opposing teams that would number 85 would pale in comparison.  To put this matter into perspective each year Nebraska would have offensive lines that would be five deep stockpiled with 300 pound behemoths.  Using a redshirt year along with four years to beef up, the Nebraska line started five 5th year offensive lineman every year. Once this group departed the next group of 5th year seniors would take their place.  Fortunately for the college game the NCAA changed the rules limiting the number of walk-ons per football team.   Almost immediately the Nebraska program moved back in the pack.

The most recent dynasty is one that all OU fans can remember.   Under Pete Carroll, the USC Trojans dominated national recruiting rankings.   With NFL type players at every position, no one could touch the team of the decade.   Not content with begin good the Trojans set up players with cars and houses and would eventually bring about NCAA sanctions.  Unfortunately, for OU fans the sanctions took place after the 2004 Orange Bowl beat down.  Reggie Bush and Carroll both went on the NFL where pay for play is legal and as a result USC found its way back to the pack.   

These stories verify that nothing is forever when it comes to college football.  About the time a team or a conference appears bigger than life, things happen to alter the times and one team or conference falls back only to be replaced by the next dynasty that is waiting in the wings.  

This will be the case with the SEC, not because they will discontinue recruiting great athletes and filling their stadiums to the brim, but because of the fluidity of the college game.   Evidence of this fact was abundant during bowl season as the rest of the college football world appears on the verge of catching up with the SEC.  Listed below are a few of my reasons for hope that college football parity is right around the corner. 

  • The SEC is a power conference that relies on dominating its opponents on both sides of the ball. Playing mash-mouth football in the SEC is a must in order to keep up with the other SEC teams.   Conferences outside the south are relying more on speed and quickness on both sides of the ball, a move that will create issues for lead footed SEC teams.  Coaches are discovering that the best way to overcome brute force is run around or throw over it.
  • SEC losses by Georgia to Nebraska, Alabama to OU and Auburn to Florida State indicates that the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC can not only hang with these guys, they can send them home losers.  I would submit to you that Nebraska and Florida State were much better than their SEC counterparts and Oklahoma is getting closer.    
  • OU’s speed and quickness on defense and up-tempo offense caught Nick Saban off-guard.  He may be the greatest coach in America, but he got smoked by the OU coaching staff.  
  • The Big Ten, ACC, Pac 12 and yes, Big 12 will all be stronger in 2014, just in time for the inaugural playoff year.  The SEC will be there, but the likelihood of a SEC team going through its conference race undefeated will be remote.   This means that an undefeated Florida State and and/or Oklahoma team will likely pick up the top two seeds in the playoff tournament.    
    • Finally the Sugar bowl win by the Sooners and the hiring of Charlie Strong at Texas assures us that the Big 12 will be a factor in the future.   Final Four appearances and even championship games for OU and/or Texas in future years would not be surprising at all.  

Don’t look now, but history may be on the verge of repeating itself again.  The passing of the greatness baton may occur next season and the Big 12 may be the next conference to produce the team to fill that bill.  The 2014 football season cannot get here quick enough. 

 

 

 

The Miracle on Bourbon Street…

 

Six weeks ago, the Sooner season was hanging in the balance as they managed a measly 25 yards of 1st quarter offense at home against the woeful Iowa State Cyclones.  Fans were squirming to say the least, not realizing that Sooner Magic was just around the corner.   The Sooners snapped out of their funk and eventually dispatched the Cyclones and went on to improbable wins at K-State and OSU, a series of games topped only by the miracle on Bourbon Street.   

Lost in the euphoria of the Sugar Bowl win is the fact that the Sooner program had slipped over the past three years and was no longer considered by many to be among the nation’s best.  That all changed over the last half of the season as the Sooners roared back with a vengeance.  The win on Thursday coupled with a ton of young talent and a favorable schedule in 2014 now puts the Sooners in perfect position to expedite their return to the national scene.

Just as important for Big 12 fans will be the fact that the Sooners’ return to national prominence in 2014 will possibly save the conference.   At the end of 2013, most national pundits had positioned the Big 12 as fifth among the five power conferences, a ranking that would leave the Big 12 out of the final four playoff picture.  Sooner Magic at the of the 2013 season and, particularly in the Sugar Bowl, has erased those views as the Sooners and the conference are now positioned to fight for a playoff spot in 2014. 

What happened to create such a dynamic change for both the Sooners and the Big 12?  Coupled with the Texas move of ousting the consummate good old boy in Mack Brown and replacing him with the up and coming Charlie Strong and the end of season Sooner surge has saved the conference at least for now.    While always viewed as a great rivalry, the OU/Texas game had slipped in recent years due to the perceived downturn of both programs.  In just one weekend, the OU/Texas game is back and ready to assure the conference of a national contender for an end of season playoff run. 

While fans of the conference should give Texas officials credit for their moves in Austin, fans of the conference should provide equal love for Bob Stoops and his staff for the OU turnaround.   The reason for the staffing changes made by Stoops became more obvious as the season rolled on and made the resurgence of the program possible.  The program had grown stale under the Brent Venables /Jackie Shipp staff and changes were needed in a big way.   Enter Mike Stoops, Jerry Montgomery, Bill Bedenbaugh and Jay Boulware.  The line play, special teams play and defense were light years better this year than last.   While this fact may have been lost on many fans early in the year due to the anemic play of the offense, the defense and special teams actually kept OU in ballgames as Josh Heupel and his offense grew up.  By the time the team rolled into New Orleans both the offense and defense were clicking. 

While a football team cannot be successful without emotion, the second cousin of success is leadership.  Having the courage to make needed changes in a timely manner is critical to the success of any organization, not the least of which is a football team.  The changes made by Stoops laid the groundwork that allowed for an emotionally charged Sooner team to have its way against the Wildcats, Cowboys and Crimson Tide. 

As the Sooners enter what hopefully will be a bountiful recruiting season, offseason and preseason, that will end with another Sooner run to a national championship, Sooner fans should reflect back on what made this happen.  Greatness does not happen by accident.  Success, particularly in football, must be well planned and extremely well-executed.  The 2013 end of season run that was culminated by the miracle on Bourbon Street is a perfect example of this fact. 

Sooner and Big 12 fans should give credit where credit is due.  Without the proactive leadership of Stoops, none of this would have been possible.

Boomer Sooner…