Thank God for OU football…

This is my favorite time of the year, great weather and football. There is one downside however…Each year at this time my daughter heads south of the border to go to college.   That’s the bad news; the good news is that her new locale has made her a die-hard OU fan.  Yes, she liked the Sooners before, but not like this.

Possibly part of the trend has to do with hanging out with a bunch of obnoxious Texans or possibly it is the fact that now she can only catch a couple games a year which heightens her adrenaline rush.

As her softball dad/coach we spent countless weekends playing softball which created an unusual father/daughter bond.   Losing those weekends has been tough… College football helps me to deal with that loss.

Letting my girl go to school south of the Red River was tough, but like all parents, we did what we had to do. At the same time, I knew that I had raised my daughter right…You know that whole “Sooner born, Sooner bred” thing.  Her new locale during the school year has only intensified her love for the Sooners and her disgust for the Longhorns.

Beginning next Saturday, my OU itch will be scratched every Saturday as I watch the Sooners at home and on the road. This distraction comes at a perfect time.   My daughter’s itch will be scratched several times during the year as she makes the trek north to an OU game.

We both will scratch that OU itch once a year as we take in various Texas road games.   This is a new tradition that we started last year as we took in the Baylor game in Waco.

I love the OU home game experience, but being part of a red OU invasion of hostile territory is about as good as it gets…

If Dr. Tamage had his way, Sethe would never miss a critical OU game home or away ever again. She was there for the miracle Blake Bell overtime win over OSU four years ago, the Baylor road win last year and she will be there for the Big 12 championship game in Fort Worth this year.  Beat TCU on that day and OU will be a lock for another final-four run at the end of the season.

Finally, as many of you will attest from raising your own OU prodigies, these times create an additional bonus.   We get to share decades old OU stories.   Our kids can’t get enough of that stuff.  I know that may be a stretch, but then again, they owe us.

I tell myself that my daughter loves my farm-boy, transistor radio stories as I replay games broadcast by Bob Barry Sr.  Back in his prime, he was simply the “Legend” as he made OU fans feel like they were sitting in the front row.

Five days from today OU football will be off and running again as we take the first step to #8

Thanks Sethe and Boomer Sooner…

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Big 12 preseason picks…

2016 will be unique in a number of ways…This will be the last year of the Big 12/Little 10 Conference. I fully expect the conference to expand to 14 teams, split into two divisions and play a championship game in 2017. I like change as long as it does not hurt OU’s chances and in this case, Oklahoma will be more than OK…

Winning the Big 12 championship game will ensure the Sooners get a seat at the final four table every year. The Selection Committee will simply pencil in the Big 12 championship game winner and as long as OU takes care of business, we’ll be in tall cotton.

With expansion teams coming primarily from the AAC, it will take these teams time to stockpile Big 12 caliber players. The new teams will be a number of years away from competing with OU and Texas on a regular basis.  In 2017 the newbies will be hoping to knock off a Kansas and/or an Iowa State.

In 2016, the Jayhawks (10th) and Cyclones (9th) will be trying to build a foundation to hold off the new entries…Currently, Kansas and Iowa State have two D-1 caliber players between the two of them.  Iowa State has a new coach and the Cyclones are recruiting lights out this year so the loneliness for KU at the bottom may get even worse in 2017.

Next comes Texas Tech (8th) with its traditionally porous defense.  I predict that Tech will upset Texas at home this year, while losing all road games.  Pretty boy Kingsbury may not be long for Lubbock.

I believe that until West Virginia (7th) jettisons Dana Holgorsen from Morgantown, these guys are doomed to mediocrity, both before and after expansion.   Once they make the break with the former OSU coach, the Mountaineers will move up the conference chart.

I am not convinced that Barry J. will solve the OSU (6th) running game problem and I am equally not convinced that Mason Rudolph will get it done at quarterback.  The Pokes will miss J.W. Walsh more than they know…Unless the Ags step up their recruiting, it will only be year or two before they are threatened by teams new to the league.

Like it or not, Texas (5th) is on the way back and will eventually handle the expansion teams with ease.   The Horns are a year away, but will still be much improved in 2016.

Until Bill Snyder retires, K-State (4th) will handle the Houstons and the UConns of the world during their even numbered years and struggle in their off years.  This is an even numbered year and the Wildcats will win all their home games and eke out a win or two on the road.

I expect Baylor (3rd) to surprise some people this year. They are still loaded with athletes, as well as the core of their coaching staff.  With the best home field advantage in the league and the most fertile high school recruiting field in America, Baylor will be back sooner than people think.

TCU (2nd) will never be down again as long as Gary Patterson is coaching the Horned Frogs and as long as TCU is located in the recruit-rich metro-plex.

OU (1st) is loaded this year and getting even more loaded by the day.  The Sooners ’17 recruiting class is currently ranked #3 in America by all the recruiting services.  The Sooners will be a playoff team regardless of what league they play in…

 

2016…preseason predictions…

OU…9-0

Texas…7-2

TCU…7-2

Baylor…6-3

Kansas State…6-3

OSU… 6-3

West Virginia…5-4

Texas Tech…4-5

Iowa State…1-8

Kansas…0-9

 

Upsets…

…..Ohio @ Kansas…The Jayhawks have to start somewhere.

…..Pittsburgh @ OSU…Pittsburgh has a ton of starters back, a solid coach and a disciplined, plodding, offense that will give OSU fits.

…..Notre Dame @ Texas…This fall, the Irish are finding that northern Indiana cops have something in common with Okies.  They hate Notre Dame.  With six players arrested this past week, game-day preparations for Texas have to have suffered.  I was tempted to pick Texas going in, but this latest news simply confirmed my thoughts.

…..Texas @ Texas Tech…As we know the Red Raiders can be tough in Lubbock, particularly at night.   Tech fans hate Texas almost as much we do…

…..Kansas State at TCU…Bill Snyder will school his former student Gary Patterson in this one…

…..Baylor @ Iowa State…By season’s end the lack of depth caused by the summer’s defection parade will finally catch up with the Bears as they will become Iowa State’s yearly upset victim.

Welcome back football…

Boren’s legacy…

I love history; especially when it repeats itself. Back in the day, the Southwest Conference was made up of eight Texas schools and Arkansas. Texas ruled the roost and allowed the other eight teams to tag along at the pleasure of the Longhorns.  Eventually, Arkansas tired of being a Texas lackey and bolted for the SEC.

Oklahoma fans scoffed at the move and at first they appeared to be right as the Hogs struggled against better competition.   Now it appears that the Hogs may be on the verge of having the last laugh.   Just as importantly the Hogs are laughing all the way to bank as the SEC checks are getting bigger and bigger while the SWC has gone belly-up.

In the wake of the death of the SWC, Texas landed on its feet by helping create the Big 12 Conference. Repeating history, the Big 12 has become a Texas and its eight surrogates league.   Normally, I love history when it repeats itself, but not this time.  OU has replaced Arkansas as the lone conference big time school.

In Arkansas only one man had the political clout and guts to spit in the face of Texas.  That man was long Arkansas coach and AD, Frank Broyles.  Today, only one man has that same political clout in Oklahoma and that man is named Boren.

At the same time the longer Texas is in charge of the league, the harder it will be for OU to cut ties.   Last month the Texas coup of the expansion process have many assuming that David Boren has run out of leverage and/or courage to stand up to Texas….

Just like in the days of the SWC the Texas schools appear to have no options other than to hang with Texas. Only OU can make a move at this point.

Okay, here is the thing…the ABC/ESPN family of networks along with CBS own college football these days. These networks control the four power conferences with the Big 12 going with the minor league Fox News outfit. ESPN also owns Texas.  This is the kind of math that David Boren understands.

Conference expansion is going to happen…The only question left on the table is who will control the outcome, who will control the league and the purse strings

While I will be the first to never say never, I believe that this round of conference expansion will probably do it…OU will either stay in Texas League forever or OU will make its way to the SEC.

I know such a move will scare the poop out of many OU fans as we anticipate better completion in that league, we should realize that we are starting from a much better position than Arkansas twenty years ago and A&M and Missouri five years back.

OU will be more than fine in the SEC. We will also be able to eat our cake while eating it too.  We will keep the OU-Texas game while shedding ourselves of being controlled by Texas.

Okay, David Boren, it is time to create your OU football legacy.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new godfather…

This younger generation is being introduced to their very own 21st century godfather.  The latest godfather is alive and well and living in Austin Texas.  At the yearly media days in Dallas the newly appointed Big 12 godfather spoke loud and clear by putting Big 12 expansion back on the table and by selecting its first entry in the the realigned league. Let’s retrace our steps.

Some time back, Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby realized that a ten-team league was not going to get it done. He authorized David Boren to head up a committee to look into conference expansion.  Then, at the summer meetings in early June, Texas put kibosh on expansion and everything on the subject went quiet.    At that point conference expansion appeared to be dead in the water.

Then at the summer media meetings last week Texas announced that not only were they back on board with expansion, they were ready to make their first selection, Houston. What the heck is going on…Of course we all know what is going on, Texas is going on.  These guys want to be in complete control and when that fact appears to be slipping away, they threaten to take their football and go home (or in this case go independent).

During this whole process, Texas has been playing OU and the rest of the Big 12 for a bunch of chumps. As for me, I think it may be time for OU to have that “C” surgically removed from their foreheads.

Making matters worse is that Texas threw OU and David Boren a bone by having the de-facto commissioner (Bowlsby) ask him to head up the expansion committee a year ago. The Texas plan which was brilliant by the way was to keep the rest of the conference busy while they negotiated a deal with Houston.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Houston, although I believe them to be a middle of the pack applicant. I do have something against the dishonorable way Texas is conducting themselves.  The original godfather would be proud.

Of course Boren being the nice guy that he is, has apparently agreed to Texas’ demands and is now in the process of firing up the original expansion committee again.

Who knows Texas may have awoken one morning and realized that a championship game without expansion would likely mean that a 2017 OU-Texas matchup in one season, the 2nd game outside the friendly confines of the Cotton Bowl.  Possible, but not likely…More likely is that they were simply planning their next move to get their Longhorn Network off the ground.

Regardless, these ego-maniacs must assume that David Boren has nothing better to do than to run all over the country trying to work out expansion details. I am sure these guys theorize that he only runs that small university in Norman and therefore has plenty of time on his hands.

What they know for sure is the Boren and the OU Regents have backed themselves into a corner by permanently shackling themselves to OSU and the Big 12 Conference. We also know that Texas loves dumping on OU, after all it is in their DNA.

We can only hope that David Boren saw this left hook from Texas coming and has counter punch in his tool chest. If not, we are in deep do-do.  A conference with five Texas voting bloc members will allow Texas to run even more amuck that they have in the past.

In any case, with the addition of Houston and with Texas firmly in charge, let’s look at our expansion options.

 

Out…

…Louisville – With its new ACC-ESPN contract is out.  Texas and ESPN would not want any direct competition for the ESPN, sponsored Longhorn Network.

…BYU – BYU has its own independent t.v. network and a Texas-size ego, not to mention a huge political base that would rival that of Texas.  Texas wants no part of that Morman crowd.

…Boise State – Boise adds nothing, but football to the conference and Idaho has more potatoes than t.v. sets…The TLN and ESPN would not benefit from this move.

 

Possibilities…

 

Houston…Once the ink dries, the Cougars will be in…Houston will supply a fifth Texas voting bloc member, and a ton of t.v. sets for the TLN.

UConn – Excellent chance with its east coast t.v. market…By the way, ESPN is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut.

That may do it for now…one east and one west…It is also possible that Texas will throw OU and Boren a bone by letting Boren has some input in aligning divisions. After all, Texas still needs OU to supply the conference with credibility and to have someone to push around.

In my next blog I will take a look at what could happen if and when OU tires of playing the fool to Texas.