Jacob Phillips…

Last week Jacob Phillips, OU’s only five star recruit in this class was bitten by the SEC bug and flipped his commitment to LSU.

At first I was really upset, after all how could Bob let this happen and yes, just a week before signing day? After cooling my jets, I focused my anger against the real culprit here, the OU Regents.  If OU were playing in the SEC today, Bob would be flipping five stars from LSU to OU.

Stoops did all he could do by invading the Phillips home in Nashville with the entire defensive coaching staff. Of course as we know, once the SEC lights come on, it is game-over for the rest of the football world, particularly the Big 12.

While I saw this one coming as I learned that Jacobs was visiting Baton Rouge last weekend, I could not allow myself to give up hope. The OU staff and I both learned a hard lesson however.  Recruiting football players southeast of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is simply a waste of time.  That is SEC country and they don’t like losing games or players.

A snapshot of this year’s recruiting will serve as reinforcement of my point. The Big 12 will end up with one team (OU) ranked in the top ten and the Big 12 will end up with no five star recruits. The SEC on the other hand will have five (5) teams ranked in the top 10 and will land no less than thirteen (13) five star players.   Enough said…

At the same time not all the news is bad for the Sooners…This class is the best group to hit Norman in a decade.   The Sooners will bring home eighteen (18) four-star recruits, many of which are already on campus preparing for next season.   For added perspective on this point, OSU has three (3) four star prospects this year.

Basically, what I glean from all of this is that while National Championships may be out of our reach for the Sooners for a few more years, Big 12 Championships should become a yearly event, particularly with the championship game.   For the time being conference championships will have to do.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel however. If OU can continue to recruit top ten classes, the next coaching regime will be able to jumpstart recruiting and kick it into the next level.

Once the reigns are turned over to Lincoln Riley, the coach-in-waiting, that extra of burst of momentum that comes from a new coach will allow the Sooners to recruit five star players again, and yes compete for National Championships.

Don’t get me wrong I will always be thankful to Bob Stoops for righting the ship, but his timing for securing National Championships has passed him by. The timing for the next guy will be pristine.

When it happens, OU fans will owe Bob a great deal for greasing the skids to make that happen…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking News…

The OU administration has issued an executive order by dropping the OU men’s basketball program.  Men’s Lacrosse will be replace basketball…

Without any notice to fans, Lon Kruger has decided to just go through the motions this year… However, like today, the games will continue to be played in hopes of getting the players some P.T. for next year.

In a press release the headman assured OU fans that he hoped the team would be competitive again in four years when these guys become seniors.

Unlike the OU football program that is reloading by bringing home a top five recruiting class Lon Kruger has decided that rebuilding is the better way to go for basketball.

Unfortunately for those of us with nothing else to do, we were subjected to the OU-Florida game anyway.  Apparently ESPN did not get the memo that OU had dropped basketball and sent a crew to Norman for the game.  And of course as they say, the game must go on when advertisements have been sold…

In a word it was about as ugly a basketball as I have ever watched. The good news for t.v. viewers was that once the Florida lead hit 30 early in the 2nd half, the cameras left the playing surface and began showing Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale in a one on one conversation.

The only thing uglier and more boring than the game was listening to those old farts drone on about the good old days. Mercy…

There was one thing that can be taken from the game however…a new record was set on Saturday. The last time OU lost by that big a margin at home was back in 1921, you know when they actually used peach baskets for goals.

I suspect that that record will be short lived however as a hot, well-coached Aggie team comes to town Monday night. With the Gags in their ugly black unis and a hankering for a smack down, that game will be really ugly.  I believe my bedtime will come early Monday night.

Thank God for football recruiting…

 

 

 

 

Saving the game…

The college game needs a fix. The game we love is simply gotten too long. Just like concussions that got the attention of NCAA bigwigs, the injury bug due to game length will likely do the same.

Studies have shown that injuries to players grow exponentially with each minute added to the length of a game. That makes perfect sense.  As the body tires, injuries increase. Not exactly rocket sense, huh…

Back in the day, games scheduled for a 1:30 start would be over by 4:00. You could set your watch by that happening ever time.  The pomp and ceremony of those games was the same as today, but games did not last forever.  Heck fire, I could milk the cows before breakfast and be back before dark to milk them again before dusk.  Okay that was a stretch, but you get my point.

Marathon games of today with their pass-happy offenses can easily last four hours..

Last year the 2nd half of most OSU games were played in front of fans disguised as empty seats.  If fans can find something else to do in Stillwater, you can only imagine what happens in real college towns.

The recent National Championship game announced for 7:00 ended at 11:30 which means most of America missed one of the best endings ever. Enough said…

Let’s take a take a look at some suggestions for shortening the game day experience…

1…Kickoffs should start within five minutes of the announced telecast time…

2…The National Anthem should return to its original intent of being a song and not an opera.  I love Aretha Franklin, but not with my National Anthem.

3…T.V. timeouts must be gotten under control.  Every time the guy in his white jacket and red gloves steps on the field, I cringe.   After the fans have their ten-minute power nap, the game is back on…Advertisers should be asked to pony up more money per minute.  Those t.v. ads will sell just like they do now.   Problem solved.

4…Official reviews of every freaken play must come to an end.  The booth calls down as needed and is given one minute to make a call.  The booth guy then calls down to the head ref.  The head ref. hears the call in his headset and makes the call.  Give me a break…This is the 21st century.

6…College football has to give up its sacred first down clock stoppage rule.  Let the clock run on every play except for incomplete passes and the last two minutes of each half.  Quarterbacks can still clock the ball and coaches can manage their timeouts better… And yes, this goes for you too, Bob…

7…Play clocks should be set at 30 seconds after each play.  Cutting 10 seconds off every play will work wonders.  100 plays per team per game multiplied by 10 seconds…You can do the math…

7….Finally, and possibly most importantly for real OU fans, fewer clock stoppages will give Frick and Frack less time to start the wave. Every time the wave starts up at an OU game, Bud Wilkinson turns over in his grave. OU fans should honor Bud by letting him rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 16…recruiting – down the stretch…

Now that the dust has settled from this season and the Alabama/Clemson title game is in the books, we once again set our sites on recruiting. This year’s signing date is Feb. 1.

The National Championship game reinforced what we already knew; talent matters. Over the past three years, both Clemson and Alabama have recruited lights out.

Success breeds success, particularly in college football. Teams with five star recruits win on the field and in the NFL. A huge selling point these days is to show the high school kid how many players a program places in the NFL.

While I hate it when players leave early for the NFL, this is what high school kids want to see. Yes, it is a catch 22 for fans, but that is the world we live in.

A perfect case in point was this year’s Ohio State game. I actually thought we had a chance because The OSU had lost 12 starters off last year’s team to the NFL. As we witnessed, the Buckeyes simply reloaded and beat the dog out of our three star players.

Give Bob credit, he finally woke up a few years back and retooled his staff.   This move has made a huge difference on the field and in the recruiting wars. At the end of the last season, we saw five star recruit Caleb Kelly become a major factor.

In order to go mano y mano with the best teams in the country, we will have to convince more five-star-type players to relocate to Norman, America.

With a couple solid classes on campus and with 12 off the latest class going through spring drills and summer workouts, I am feeling much better about being more physical against Ohio State next year. Don’t expect a win in Columbus, but hopefully, we will not be embarrassed this time around.

Rivals Big 12…rankings…The top 25 list will follow this list.

4..…OU (Best class in a decade)…

27…Oklahoma State (Ags keep hanging around – makes us work harder)…

32… Texas Tech (pretty boy is finally recruiting juco players to play defense)…

33…Iowa State (new coach, new excitement, probably short lived, but you have to start somewhere)…

40…West Va. (How does Holgorsen convince Florida kids to relocate to Morgantown)…

41…Texas (few in numbers hurts ranking, but this will be the 2nd best in Big 12)…

57…TCU (small, but very solid class – TCU is hurting OSU in Dallas.

59…Kansas (Best recruiting move for KU was stealing OC Sonny Cumbie from TCU)

67…Baylor (for a bunch that started off with nothing, this class is not half bad)…

73…K- State (the silver fox will once again be asked to turn lemons into lemonade)…

 

Rivals top 25 rankings…

1…….Alabama

2……Ohio State

3……Georgia

4……Michigan

5..….OU

6……Florida State

7……Texas A&M

8……LSU

9……Penn State

10…Tennessee

11…South Carolina

12…Maryland

13…Miami

14…Auburn

15…Clemson

16…Notre Dame

17…Kentucky

18…USC

19…Florida

20…Arkansas

21…Louisville

22…Colorado

23…Washington

24…Arizona

25…Mississippi State

Nervous…

I wanted Clemson to beat Alabama for the standard reasons…Yes, I am tired of looking at Nick Saban and yes, I hate those boring Alabama uniforms and yes, I really wanted Brent Venables to get his due.

I also wanted Alabama to lose for another reason. I am freaking paranoid about the streak.  Call me crazy…okay that’s enough, but every time someone gets anywhere near the record, I get nervous…

At the end of the Darrel Royal era, it was Texas; then it was Jimmy Johnson’s Miami crime squad and finally, it was Reggie Bush and USC. Each time the football gods put a wrench in the works and things would return to normal.

This time it was an Alabama football program that I saw as a threat to the streak. This Alabama football program under Saban may be the best football program ever.  This year’s team, which was unbelievable, will not be near as good as next year’s team or for that matter the one after that.

In case you missed the math, here it is…An Alabama win over Clemson would have stretched their winning streak to 27. Seems harmless enough I know, but listen to this…If Alabama were to then win out next year, the Tide would pick up 15 more wins and increase the streak to 42.

That would put the guys from Tuscaloosa only six wins from eclipsing the streak that most of us assumed would live forever.

Here’s the thing, OU football with its Bud Wilkinson 47 game winning streak is akin to the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio 56 game hitting streak and John Wooden’s UCLA 88 game winning. These guys, these programs and these feats are sacred and should last forever.

Losing to Texas or OSU or losing a National Championship game is one thing, but losing the streak would be another. I am not sure that those of us elder Sooner football fans could recover from that one…

Thankfully, we won’t have to worry about it for a while, thanks to Clemson and yes the football gods.

Boomer Sooner…

 

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Happy New Year OU fans…

What today’s championship semi-finals told us is this…

First, just as we assumed after watching a soft Colorado team get man-handled by OSU, Pac 12 teams are soft. As predicted this fact was evident today as Alabama handled the Girl Scout team from the Great Northwest with ease.

Give the Huskies credit, they did score a touchdown, but after that it was all over but the shouting.

By the way, did you notice that Alabama players echoed that same message after the game on Saturday, stating that Washington was soft. Some things never change…this has been the case for decades, with the occasional USC exception. OU would have dominated that league if we had accepted their invite a few years back. Oh, well Ed, let it go…

As for the Clemson/Ohio State game, kudos to Brent Venables. This could not have happened to a better guy. Isn’t it incredible how a guy that everyone, and I mean everyone wanted extricated from Norman a few years back has become a rock star somewhere else. It is also amazing how much smarter a coach gets when he is surrounded by five-star athletes.

The Ohio State/Clemson game also points out OU’s bad luck. This game only confirmed what we saw during the season. This Ohio State team peaked on that September night in Norman. Against average Penn State and Michigan teams and now against Clemson, this bunch has looked like a shell of their former selves.

Maybe Joe C. should move the OU/Ohio State game to November next year.

By the way, I know Alabama is really good on defense, but I think they may be vulnerable on offense and Clemson has a shot at breaking their winning streak before it gets scary.

Finally, as we await Auburn on Monday night, OU fans should prepare themselves for more of the same. They play man-football in that part of the world and even a middle of the road SEC team will a man-child at every position.

I believe OU will win the game, but I expect it won’t be easy…

We need to see this bowl game for what it is…an opportunity to avoid Clemson and/or Alabama this year and the chance to get in twenty additional practices.   This extra time will help the Sooners get ready for next year’s mission of playing big-boy football again.

Boomer Sooner…