Its football time in Oklahoma….

No offense to Christmas lovers, but for me the best time of the year is football season.   For the 120th year, it is football time in Oklahoma.   This number is particularly important for OU fans because OU football is a decade older than the state itself.   In other words, what we always knew is true…OU football is bigger than the state itself.     

Of course nationally, OU came late to the football party some fifty years after the first game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869.   In spite of that fact, only six universities In America have more wins.  More importantly for today’s OU fans, the Sooners have more wins than any other team since WWII.

While the Ivy League brought football to us a century and a half ago their administrators could not create a balance between football and the academic world.   Eventually the Ivy League eggheads decided to punt..   Ironically a Yale graduate David Boren has done a masterful job of creating a suitable and sustainable balance between football and the academic side of the college experience.   In addition to being considered an elite football program, OU is also making a name for itself academically. 

As for 2014, I have repeatedly said that 2014 will be a critical year for the Sooners.  The stars are aligned for a big year and OU needs to take advantage of this opportunity.   With a bevy of returning starters, a solid coaching staff, and a favorable home schedule a return to the nation’s elite is in order.   Even with the bad news regarding Mixon, Shannon and DGB, the Sooners should go 11-1 this year, that one loss being the perennial one game slip up. 

At 11-1 and 8-1 in conference play OU will edge out Baylor or K-State for the Big 12 title.   With the title in its back pocket the Sooners should nail down the fourth and final playoff spot.  With Ohio State losing Braxton Miller the Buckeyes and the Big Ten are much less of a threat to OU and the Big 12.

Once in the playoffs, I like OU chances regardless of who they play because the OU coaching staff appears to have found its legs.   A deep playoff run will enable the Sooners to finish strong on the recruiting trail and give the Sooners momentum going into 2015.  If the Sooner coaching staff can find a way to convince Mixon, Shannon and DGB to hang around another year, the Sooners will be even better in 2015.   I know we are supposed to only think football in the here and now, but we are OU and we love a good dynasty. 

Regardless, I can’t wait to hear the PA guy once again echo those famous words to the overflow OU crowd. “It is football time in Oklahoma.”   Not a moment too soon I might add…

Boomer Sooner…

 

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The Mixon files…

Joe Mixon is the most ballyhooed recruit since Adrian Peterson. With a stout defense to go along with a difference maker at quarterback and a five star receiver in DGB, the 2014 season had all the markings of a banner year. I expect that this may still be the case, but the Joe Mixon saga has certainly this fact more interesting.

As Sooner fans agonize and await another Sooner season with baited breath, the summer football magazines have whipped most of us into a frenzy. The latest coaches poll has the Sooners ranked #3 and in line for a playoff opportunity. It appears that the Sooners are ready for a return to the nation’s elite.

Basically, the Mixon episode will serve to keep us grounded and appreciative of what we accomplish this year. It also serves to remind us that college football unlike the pro game is made up of kids right out of high school. This episode also serves to remind us that we have been here before and that this too shall pass.
OU fans need to take a deep breath and remember who we are… The OU football program is a tough as nails and the Sooner program will survive this latest bad patch and possibly be better for it. After all this is the program that lived through some of the darkest days ever created for a football program. At the end of the Switzer era hardly a week went by without another piece of bad news hitting us in the face.

Some thought we would never survive that time, but we did. A few years later, we lose Rhett Bomar a mere five weeks before opening day. The program stumbled out of the gate only to rip off eight wins in a row to win the Big 12 Championship. Last year we lose our top running back at a critical time of the year and our quarterback for the second half of the OSU game and Sooner Magic carries us to victory anyway.

OU thrives on hard times… If the Gomer, Gary, Howard and John Blake days could not wear us down nothing will. For those of us who lived through hard times it will be our job to talk less experienced fans off the ledge during the Mixon days. OU fans must hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Keep in mind regardless of his reason for punching the chick, Joe was wrong and he must learn to walk away from these situations like this one in the future, which he will. At the same time it is important to remember that none of this makes joe a bad guy. It simply just makes him human, just like the rest of us…
If Joe will stop listening to his greasy looking lawyer and take his cues from Bob Stoops he will overcome this bad spot and live to have a great career at OU. I like Bob’s track record in dealing with these matters and I trust his judgment. Hopefully Joe will do the same.

The good news for OU fans is that all of this has happened too late for Joe to transfer back to his home turf at UCLA. Being cleared to play this year for the Bruins is not going to happen. His best option will be to stay in Norman, redshirt, and prepare for 2015 season.

In this era of three-and-done and/or two-and-done with a redshirt year, Joe Mixon can still achieve all his goals of replicating Adrian Peterson’s feats as a Sooner. Most importantly, he can still be drafted to play in the NFL in three years. As a matter of fact, NFL teams are likely to be even more impressed with him if he remains at OU and stays the course.

Staying the course at OU will help in a couple areas. First, Joe Mixon is difference-maker at running back and secondly, his staying at OU will keep the California pipeline open. Until the Big 12 finds his legs as a legitimate power conference, the California/OU connection will continue to be critical need for the Sooners. We may need these connections if and when America’s conferences decide to realign themselves again.

The Sooners can win in 2014 with or without Joe Mixon, but next year will be a different matter. The Sooner schedule will turn around in 2015. Next year the Sooners will play Tennessee, K-State, Baylor, and OSU on the road not to mention a retooled and much more disciplined Texas team in the Cotton Bowl. Yes, losing Mixon for 2014 is a big deal, but not a deal breaker…

Finally, OU is still blessed with highly recruited running backs Alex Ross and Keith Ford. Possibly this latest setback will motivate these guys to step up their game in 2014. Who knows, the uncertainty involving this situation may encourage highly recruited prospects Soso Jamabo and Tyreik Gray to get off the fence and commit to the Sooners, sooner than later as well.

Finally, in order to reinforce my case about OU resilience and keep all of us grounded, a trip down memory lane via Wikipedia may be in order…As they say there is only one Oklahoma…

OU football…
• Oklahoma is one of two schools (Ohio State) to have appeared in all five BCS bowl games (2001 Orange, 2003 Rose, 2004 Sugar, 2007 Fiesta, 2009 BCS NCG), but they are the only team to win all five awards in the BCS era (2001 Orange Bowl and BCS National Championship, 2003 Rose Bowl, 2011 Fiesta Bowl, 2014 Sugar Bowl).

• Following the 2008 Season, ESPN ranked Oklahoma as the most prestigious college football program overall since the advent of the AP Poll in 1936.

• Oklahoma has the most 10+ win seasons (34) and 11+ win seasons (20) of any program, as well as the fewest losing seasons (12) of any program.

• Oklahoma has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll (101 weeks) and in the Top 5 (383 weeks) more than any other team.

• Oklahoma was given their 10th preseason No. 1 ranking in 2011, another record.

• Oklahoma has the most wins since World War II with 587, and the highest winning percentage (.764) in the country.

• Oklahoma is the only school to have four coaches with at least 100 wins each (Stoops, Switzer, Wilkinson, Owen).

• Oklahoma has had at least one first team all-conference player in 95 of the 96 seasons it has played in a conference.

• Oklahoma holds the NCAA record for most consecutive victories with 47-straight (1953–1957).

• Oklahoma has scored more points than any team in college football history with 32,434 through 2012.

• Oklahoma had an NCAA-record 768 rushing yards in 1988 against Kansas State.

• Most weeks ranked No. 1 in the BCS with 20 (through 2012 season).

• Most weeks ranked in top 5 in the BCS with 48 (through 2012 season).

• Oklahoma has the most rushing yards in a season with 5,635 in 1971, which was 470 yards per game (12 games)

• Oklahoma holds the NCAA record for the most points scored in a single season with 702 points through 12 games in the 2008 season (58.5 points per game).

• Oklahoma holds the record for most consecutive 60+ point games, scoring 60 or more points for five straight games in 2008[99]

• Oklahoma holds the record for most lopsided instate rivalry with a record of 84-17-7 (through 2012 regular season) over Big 12 Conference opponent Oklahoma State. In fact the rivalry is so lopsided that Oklahoma has shut out Oklahoma State more times (28 – not including 0-0 ties) than Oklahoma State has won against Oklahoma.

• In the 2010 NFL Draft, Oklahoma became the only school in the history of the NFL Draft to have three players selected in the first four picks of the draft.[100]