Saving the conference…or not…

The “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It is hoped by OU and Big 12 officials that Seth Russell’s season- ending injury will not make this line come true. Their hope that Baylor will run the table and end up in the final four is now in jeopardy.

A final four may still happen, but Baylor with its 8th worst schedule in America was already on thin ice.  A Baylor loss late in the season due to Seth Russell’s absence will doom Baylor’s hopes.

If this happens only TCU and OSU will be left to save the Big 12. TCU and OSU are still in the running for an undefeated season and saving the conference, but both have much harder rows to hoe.

Nationally, the Big 12 Conference is considered the weakest of the five power conferences. If the Big 12 is left out of the final four again this year, the conference will be on life-support.

Ever since the Sooners went down to the unranked Texas Longhorns OU officials have been privately rooting for Baylor to run the table and save the league.

For the Big 12 to be left out of the title hunt for a 2nd year in a row will also force OU leaders to do something they hate to do; think outside the box regarding the future of the Big 12 Conference.

Rumor has it that major OU donors are hedging their donation bets with a wait and see attitude. They want to see more bang for their buck than a watered down Big 12 will offer the Sooners.

These guys follow recruiting like we do and they realize the challenge that recruiting the best players in America to a weak football conference poses.   The mid-season recruiting rankings that will be presented in the next blog will reinforce this point.

One cannot blame OU officials for trying, but as for me, nothing will make me happier than to see the Sooners derail Baylor and the OU leadership scheme on November 14…

Boomer Sooner…

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The game must go on….

What happened in Stillwater last Saturday morning was a bad as it gets…Four lives tragically lost during the homecoming parade.

While we debate why a driver ran through a barricade at the OSU homecoming parade and into the parade crowd, I must also ponder why the game went on…

Granted at least 30,000 OSU fans had rolled into town to see the game and yes, the Fox News production team was in town to cover the game, but sometimes football needs to take a back seat to common decency.

I can assure you that most of those fans could find their way back to OKC or Tulsa and then find their way back to Stillwater later in the season. Games are postponed all the time or in some cases moved to a different venue.

Just this month, South Carolina moved its home game from Colombia to Baton Rouge due to flooding in the Palmetto State. Moving that game to LSU cost the Gamecock athletic department $7 million dollars, dollars.  Of course OSU would not have lost that money with a postponed game, but you see my point.

South Carolina took the high road while OSU officials punted…Moving the game to Dec. 5th would have worked.   What gives with OSU…

Simply put, what gives with OSU is their obsession to win at all costs and yes, to beat OU. OSU fans led by the amoral T. Boone Pickens want to become the premier football program in the state, come hell or high water.

I suspect that the decision to play Saturday’s game was never discussed by OSU officials. Possibly, T. Boone may have taken an early flight back to Dallas or possibly he passed up the KU game altogether realizing that it would be a blow out.

Regardless the OSU officials knew better than to call him about postponing the game realizing ahead of time what his answer would be.   Hell no…….stuff happens, the game must go on…

The Pokes are on a row right now, having won six games in a row prior to Kanas. Maintaining this momentum at a critical point in the season might derail the OSU/T. Boone cause.

T. Boone knew full well that not playing the game on Saturday would have meant that the Cowboys would roll into next Saturday’s critical game against Texas Tech with a three week layoff. That would never do…The game had to go on…

It’s sad to say that OSU will likely win in Lubbock next Saturday and as a result will move to 8-0 for the year. More importantly for T. Boone and OSU fans the Cowboys will be poised for a legitimate shot at the Big 12’s big boys…

In the end, OSU will likely hold a memorial service to honor those lives lost on Saturday. I believe it would be fitting to hold a second memorial service to honor the loss of common decency.

Reality check…

Okay, I realize that most of you have blotted the Texas chainsaw massacre from your memory banks, but just in case you have not, indulge me for one more thought about that game.

Granted we were ill-prepared and unemotional, but is it also possible that we were also overrated. Stay with me on this one…

After all, we had beaten Akron, Tulsa, and West Virginia all of which have been since exposed as fairly weak opponents. Yes, we did beat a good Tennessee team, but looking back, the Tennessee win may have been overrated as well.

I think what made the Texas loss hard to take is the fact that all of us got caught off guard. As Sooner fans, it is our job to drink the Crimson colored Kool-Aide and we are good at it. We want so badly to believe that Sooner football is back.  The truth of the matter is that getting back to where we once were will not happen overnight.

In reality we had a young team with an inexperienced offensive line and a quarterback who had started four games at OU, three of them within the cozy confines of Memorial Stadium.

We all probably needed a reality check and we got one in Dallas.   As we put that game in our rear view mirror, we will better understand and appreciate what happens next.

Remember these players were developed by the old coaching staff and those bad habits will not be broken overnight. Also, remember that it was only three years ago that OU leaders sat on their hands while the Big 12 imploded.  In this business, three years is like three decades in terms of missed recruiting opportunities.

Even with the Texas loss, we are still ahead of schedule with our reclamation project.   The key will be to finish strong this year, line up recruits for next year and set our sights on 2016.   The K-State win gives us a legitimate shot at a 10-2 regular season, a bowl win and a great offseason.

Next year with the conference schedule turning over and Ohio State coming to town, the Sooners will be positioned for a run at a National Championship…

Of course first things first… The Sooners still have a lot to play for this year.

Boomer Sooner…

It’s Deja vu all over again…

This may not be a real Yogi Berra quote, but it sounds like it ought to be a Yogism.   In honor of Yogi who passed away recently, I am designating this Saturday’s game at K-State as a “Deja vu all over again” game…

Just two years ago, OU went into the Red River Rivalry as a double digit favorite only to come out flat and lose to the Horns. The 2013 OU season was on the line that year as the Sooners faced K-State in Manhattan.   The Sooners won at Manhattan, finished 10-2 and beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Here we go again as OU; a double digit favorite came out flat, were embarrassed in Dallas last Saturday and yes K-State is on the horizon. Once again the Sooner season hangs in the balance.  The difference between a possible 10-2 season and a probable 8-5 season will depend on the outcome of this game.

Having recovered from last weekend’s debacle and having climbed back onto the Sooner Schooner, I believe the Sooners will have a repeat performance in Manhattan this Saturday. The Sooners will come out of Manhattan with a win, go 8-1 heading into Waco and go bowling on New Year’s Day.

While this may be seen like wishful thinking on my part, I believe that for the good of the program this has to happen.   To lose in Manhattan and go 8-5 again could be devastating.  This could put the program back five years.

Just as importantly for those Sooner fans believing that another 8-5 season might bring about a coaching change, an 8-5 season would also include a loss to OSU. This would likely shift the in-state balance of power to the north for years to come.

Keep in mind that regardless of this season’s record Bob Stoops is not going anywhere. Additionally, regardless of this season’s record, an OU exit plan for Mike Stoops is likely in the works.

Finally, keep in mind that one of these days Bob will hang it up. When he does we will need a cupboard full of four and five star athletes.   The next guy, regardless of who that is, will need a bigger and better stadium, not to mention bigger and better players.  That will not happen with an 8-5 season,

The real season starts this Saturday…

Boomer Sooner…

 

Saturday…

Just like last year, Bob Stoops has saved the coaching career of a Big 12 rival. Charlie with Texas and Mike with OSU were on the ropes until Bob stepped in to resuscitate them back to life. Actually, now that I think about it, Bob tried to save Mack’s job two years ago, but Mack was too far gone.

Of course we should have seen this one coming. Two years ago, we were double digit favorites to Texas and got hammered. Same thing happened yesterday as the Sooners came out flat and never recovered. Both Baker Mayfield and Lincoln Riley were strangers to the Red River Rivalry and both seemed shell-shocked. The defense thought it was a flag football game.

Of course in the end it came down to the one holdover from last year’s staff having no answers for what Texas was doing on offense. Mike Stoops must the dumbest human on the planet and why he is still employed by the University of Oklahoma is beyond me.

Mix in Bob Stoops, the most boring man on the planet and you have a formula for what happened on Saturday.   Unmotivated and unprepared the Sooners entered the Cotton Bowl to face a very average Texas team and came out embarrassed.   Occasionally, a player will save the day for Bob like Baker did at Tennessee or Trevor against Alabama, but OU fans have become accustomed to at least one of these unexpected letdowns under Bob Stoops every year.

While expecting a final four run in 2015 was pipe dream, it was a dream and now those thoughts are out the window.   Once again, we will have to settle for good and not great…This has become the Bob Stoops mantra in recent years.

Don’t get me wrong, I am starting a bust Bob campaign. I am convinced that Bob is not going anywhere until David Boren retires so I am not going to waste my energy on that movement. Instead I want to suggest a survival plan that will allow me and others to move forward. Here is the plan…

OU fans who crave national championships should pressure OU donors to convince David Boren to think long term. Those long term plans should include an exit strategy for Bob Stoops.  We don’t want a repeat of the Barry Switzer/Schnellenberger-Blake episode.

Bob Stoops is a good coach who will continue to make OU competitive at least on a local level for several more years, but winning a national championship under Bob is not in our future. Creating a smooth transition from Bob to the next guy, a coach who can make a national championship happen should be the long term approach of school officials.

Over the short term, OU fans can expect to see more of Bob Stoops’ hospitality to rival coaches. While frustrating to OU fans, it is what it is….

At the same time having a transition plan in place to fix the problem will make these short term issues easier to deal with.

Boomer Sooner…

Worst 5-0 team in America…

For my OSU-hating friends, your day will come…OSU has beaten the # 122 and # 119 ranked D-I teams and a high school team from Arkansas. Then they go into Texas and eke out a win against the worst Texas Longhorn team in the history of the school and then use a late field goal to beat a very average K-State team that was down to its fifth string quarterback.

Of course office Aggies will be throwing out their chests this week, as if they had really done something. Remind them that the quarterback they beat on Saturday last threw a touchdown pass in junior high.

This league is even more bottom heavy than normal as both K-State and Texas should be thankful that the Big 12 Conference has K-U and ISU in its league. This may allow these teams avoid the cellar.   Just the same the worst 5-0 team in America beat Texas and K-State by a combined five points.

The bottom line is this…While OSU is 5-0 will be ranked in the top 20 for one more week, Aggie-haters can relax.   The wheels are about to come off the Ag-Mobile…Once, they start going south, they will go south in a hurry…For my money, I believe this will happen next week at Morgantown…

Yes, OSU will be favored because of their record, but this won’t matter as Dana Holgorsen knows how to beat Mike Gundy. He did it when he was at Houston and he did it last year in Stillwater. He’ll do it again in Morgantown…

Once the wheels come off, the Ags will be on that slippery slope once again. After the Pokes return to Stillwater to beat the helpless Jayhawks, they will go 0-5 the rest of the way…My favorite will be TCU at home where the Ags will get lit up by the Frogs.

Aggie lovers enjoy your time in the sun because the grim reaper is warming up …