This and that…

Breaking news… According to ESPN, Baker Mayfield’s appeal has been denied and Texas Tech played a major role in making sure that Baker does not play for OU this year.   I suspect that the NCAA was ready to say yes, but they decided to defer to Texas Tech and the Big 12.   The Sooners should say adios to both the Big 12 and to Texas Tech.

Week four Big 12 results…

OU and Baylor are taking care of business…Winner will be in final four…

  • OU and Baylor continue to take care of business…We need to Baylor to keep winning to legitimize OU to selection committee…
  • Is Baylor as good as advertised…Hard to say with their soft schedule…
  • The rest of league is average at best…but…
  • Look out for TCU…if this team can generate any offense at all, their defense will give them a shot in every game.
  • K-State with Bill Snyder, Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett will be hard to beat in Manhattan.
  • Dana Holgorsen is finally making the West Virginia move work…Look for the Mountaineers to be much better down the road as recruiting Florida players who can’t qualify for SEC schools kicks into high gear.
  • Ditto for OSU as the Cowboys find love in Louisiana with players who can’t academically qualify in the SEC and LSU.   Give T. Boone and Mike Gundy credit, OSU has developed an offensive system that will make any quarterback look good.
  • Texas could be dangerous especially late in the year as Longhorn players do their best to avoid the Charlie Strong hangman’s noose.
  • Texas Tech will struggle until they hire a legitimate coach on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Iowa State should consider a move to Conference USA.
  • Kansas should consider dropping football.
  • I love the Sooner road uniforms…The longer the game went on the better they looked. Going into the season, I was partial to the road unis over the home duds and that view has not changed. If I had my druthers, I would like to see the Sooners pull out the new road uniforms several times each year and go with the traditional uniforms for all home games. 
  • The OU win over West Virginia was huge…That was the ultimate trap game…A road game after a big win at home.   OU was set up for an upset loss and responded like a National Championship caliber team.    With the crowd going nuts, OU responded with a season saving run by Alex Ross and game saving runs by Samaje Perine.
  • How many football programs can graduate a Brennan Clay, suspend a Joe Mixon and replace an injured Keith Ford with an Alex Ross and Samaje Perine?  Not many…
  • How not to build a football program…Texas Tech and Kingsbury are in the process of replicating the Dana Holgorsen/West Va. fiasco.   Both Kingsbury and Holgorsen are offensive gurus who forgot to hire a defensive coordinator.   It appears that Holgorsen may survive his mistake, but Kingsbury may not be so fortunate.  The Red Raider season is going south in a hurry.
  • On the other side of the ledger,  Charlie Strong is following the program-building blue template to a tee…Using the three year plan, Charlie will spend this season running off Mack Brown players which will free up scholarships for next year and beyond.
  • Expect Texas to sign a record recruiting class in 2015.   Five to ten players will graduate from high school in December.   This move that will allow these players to go on last year’s count in place of the dozen or so defections and suspensions.    Add to this number the standard 25 to report in the fall and you have a massive recruiting class of Charlie Strong-type players.
  • On a positive note, if the OU continues to recruit lights-out, the Horns should still be three years behind the Sooners.
  • The SEC has a different gear when it comes to its athletes… With only one bad team in the league of 14, this is one tough league. Case in point, Arkansas would be a top echelon team in the Big 12, but has not won a game in the SEC in thirteen tries.
  • Having said this…While the SEC move to the SEC for A&M and Missouri was a brilliant one, I am glad OU said thanks, but no thanks… I would much rather play in the Pac 12…
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The new look Sooners…

As a long time OU fan I have a great appreciation for Sooner tradition.   I grew up loving the Bud teams with their signature white helmets with red stripes… Those uniforms became synonymous with football excellence the world over.    Replacing these iconic helmets in the mid-60’s with red ones with the interlocking OU caught me off guard as it did many OU fans….We learned to live with and eventually love the new look.  That new look set the Sooners on a course for three more National Championships.  

The difference then is that there was no pressure on the Sooner brass to go with a uniform makeover.  Today, with Nike and UnderArmour calling the shots new look uniforms have become hot ticket items.  Back in the day, the Bud era was in retreat and the Sooners needed a jumpstart.  Part of that jumpstart came in the form of a new coaching staff moving over from Arkansas and the other came in the form of a uniform makeover.

I firmly believe that the move to the new uniforms back in the 60’s was not only a monumental one, it was an essential one.  The Sooners under Bud had won over America with its white helmets, but to keep the ball going a new look was needed.  Five decades later and a ton of wins, that new look has served the Sooners well.  At the same time as we know variety is the spice of life and it is time for a new look to hit the Sooner Nation, albeit for only special occasions.

Unlike the Pro game where nothing ever changes, the college game is in a constant evolutionary state that begs for periodic adjustments.   The Dallas Cowboys and their cheerleaders will never change and that is just fine for the pro-game, but college teams would never survive in that world.  

Uniform makeovers work…Iowa, K-State and yes Oregon were three of the worst teams in college football back in the day… Head coaches Hayden Fry and Bill Snyder and Nike boss Phil Knight used uniform makeovers to create a psychological edge that helped revive those lifeless programs.   Let’s face it, like it or not, uniform makeovers do work. 

Here is the deal…Times change and football teams must change with the times or be left behind.   Penn State and their god-awful uniforms are the antithesis of change and it shows…It has been over thirty years since Penn State smelled a conference title.    Penn State fans will point proudly to their traditional look, but for my money arrogance of that kind begets mediocrity.    

OU officials have done it the right way by combining the best of three dynasty looks.   The new look Sooners will incorporate the Bud and Barry eras in the Bob uniforms of today.    This fresh look will be a big hit with both players and most importantly with recruits.    Just like last time, the new look will grow on fans. 

Just as importantly the OU coaches will be careful to introduce the new look at just the right time and just the right place.  Saturday night will be that that time and that place.   The Sooners will go through pre-game drills only to bust out during the video with their new look for this week.    With a national television audience and tons of recruits watching Saturday night the unveiling of the new uniforms for the Tennessee game will create an electric game-time atmosphere. 

Similar to the Jim Mackenzie/Chuck Fairbanks/Barry Switzer happening of the mid-60s, the 2014 Sooners will take this new look all the way to the National Championship game.   While expecting the Sooners to go 77-7-2 record over a three year period may be asking a lot, I would not be surprised if that happens either.    Like I’ve said many times the stars are aligned for the Sooners in 2014… 

Timing is everything and the new look Sooners will be a big hit Saturday night. 

Boomer Sooner…

 

Baker Mayfield = The final piece to OU’s final -four puzzle…

While La. Tech was nothing more than an outing against a high school team, there were still plenty of positive signs to indicate that the sky is the limit for the 2014 Sooners.   While I am still concerned about playing Texas Tech and yes, West Virginia on the road, I feel really good about the upside for this team.   At the same time the events on Saturday night pointed out that a genuine concern exists for this team.  The Sooners must find a backup quarterback.   Due to an injury to Cody Thomas and the desire to redshirt Justice Hansen, Trevor Knight played every snap.  That will not work over the long haul.     

Granted OU has Blake Bell at tight-end that can be moved to quarterback at a moment’s notice; I don’t believe that is the long term solution for this dilemma.   Additionally, playing a not-ready-for primetime Cody Thomas or removing the Justice Hansen redshirt year will not be in the best interest of the Sooners this year as well.   Allowing Cody Thomas’s arm to heal so he can be a prime-time Sooner baseball player and allowing Hansen to mature mentally and physically for another year while allowing Blake Bell to develop his NFL-type tight-end skills would best serve this team.  

While Blake Bell did not show much at his new position on Saturday night, I suspect the coaching staff believes that Blake Bell can be a special player at tight end and will wait to unveil this package against a quality opponent.    Moving Blake Bell back and forth between quarterback and tight end during the season would not benefit Blake Bell and the Sooners in the long run.  Blake Bell can be a real asset to the Sooners at tight end, but in order for this to happen he must embrace his new positon full time.  The long term answer to OU’s backup quarterback situation and for that matter for the success of the 2014 season is Baker Mayfield.  

While most OU fans have given up on Mayfield becoming eligible this year, I for one believe that this could still happen.   Before he got hurt Mayfield was a difference maker at Texas Tech as a true freshman.  He started Tech’s first game last season just ten weeks out of high school and played lights out.   The guy has ice water in his veins and having him ready on the sidelines at a moment’s notice for the inevitable Trevor Knight injury would be huge.  

As witnessed last weekend with David Ash and Kyle Petty going down with injuries a team is only one snap away from playing its backup quarterback.   Unlike Texas and Baylor OU has a backup quarterback that has actually played D-1 football.    Having a Baker Mayfield-type backup will be the final piece to OU’s final four run in 2014.  

Some may scoff at the thought of Mayfield becoming eligible given OU’s track record of late with the NCAA, but it is this record that gives me hope.   OU is due for some good news from the NCAA and this could be it…Given the current political climate regarding sexual assault issues; getting DGB cleared to play this year was never going to happen.  On the other hand, given the unpredictable nature of the NCAA, throwing OU a bone in this one makes perfect sense. 

Adding to the Baker Mayfield case is David Boren’s reputation for institutional control and his zero-tolerance, domestic violence record.  As a result, a positive NCAA pay-back may be in order.   I suspect that OU officials knew this going in, and believe that their luck with the NCAA is about to change.   

Adding further evidence to OU’s case is the fact that Mayfield was an un-recruited, non-scholarship player at Texas Tech.  The NCAA rule book has a definite loophole that covers these situations, a fact that could allow Mayfield to become immediately eligible.    

Now that the NCAA has made OU sweat it out a bit and has put some distance between the DGB case and this one, a surprise announcement could come any day.   If, and when this happens the final piece to OU’s final four puzzle will be in place.    

Boomer Sooner…