Becoming a Sooner…

I know OSU fans think we are an obnoxious bunch, but as the bumper sticker says, it is hard to be humble when you’re a Sooner.   OSU fans come and go like the wind. Win a few games and they come out of the woodwork. Lose a few and they scramble for that same woodwork like cockroaches.

Don’t get me wrong OU has its share of fair-weather fans, but I suspect that OU has a lot more fans that have weathered the good and hard times. To that end, let’s remember when we became OU fans.

Just like Americans remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated or on 9/11, we also remember where we were when we discovered OU football.

I was an eight-year-old kid living on a farm when I discovered the world of OU football via my transistor radio.   Bob Barry Sr. and Jack Ogle made it seem like Christmas every Saturday in the fall.

During my Bud years there were both good and bad days, but not tuning in the next Saturday never occurred to me.

During the Barry years, winning, particularly against Texas became my drug of choice.   That was what made the Blake years so difficult to deal with.

The low points were many during the Blake years.   The Nebraska 69-7 or the Texas A&M 51-7 losses and the 12-0 home loss to OSU come to mind.   During those games OU fans relished making first downs, much less touchdowns.

As we came to understand later, there were internal forces at OU during those days who wanted to punish Barry Switzer; OU football and OU fans were simply collateral damage.

The bad news is that we suffered through some of the ugliest football ever; not just at OU, but in the history of the sport. The good news is that we never considered jumping ship. As a result we developed a much greater appreciation for OU football.

This season will be one of those times that when hanging with the Sooners during those down years will pay off…An outstanding nucleus of players, a jacked up coaching staff and challenging road schedule that could provide OU extra RPI points.

I feel like a kid again who just discovered the power of a transistor radio and OU football. Tighten up that chinstrap OU fans, 2017 is going to be a fun ride.

Boomer Sooner…

 

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I smell a rat…

Two weeks ago I jumped out on that proverbial limb and suggested that Joe C. was on a mission to turn OU baseball into a winner. This, I surmised was why he fired Pete Hughes.   Believing in Joe C., I wanted to give the OU A.D. the benefit of the doubt.

Granted I was not happy with the end of the Sooner season. To add insult to injury to OU’s late season swoon, OU lost its last two games in the NCAA tournament 22-1. While OU’s hitting coach deserves part of the fault here, I thought the pitching coach should be fired.

Instead Joe C. promotes the pitching coach to become OU’s next head coach. Reminds me of replacing the Captain of the Titanic with the lookout guy who believed the iceberg to be an aberration.

Adding to this mystery, three hours south of Norman is a baseball program with an outstanding head coach and two top-notch assistants. This team of coaches has turned TCU into a baseball powerhouse. The Horned Frogs are making their fourth trip in a row to Omaha. Overnight, TCU turned a patch of west Texas dirt into a state of the art baseball facility.

OU could have hired either one of these guys to return OU to the baseball Promised Land. Instead it appears that Joe C. replaced Frick with Frack.

Either Joe Castiglione is a smarter baseball man than I realized or I have gotten sucked in once again as an OU baseball fan. A third possible option is that there is something rotten in Denmark.

Remember, this is the same Joe C. that hired Gene Stephenson for a day and then when Stephenson returned to Wichita, he hired Sunny Galloway in a knee jerk reaction. Both players and fans despised Galloway, as a coach. He made Howard Schnellenberger look like a great guy.

Galloway left Norman just ahead of the hangman, was hired by Auburn, and a year later was fired.

I know baseball is considered a minor sport at OU, but even minor sports deserve better than this.   I smell a rat…I don’t think we are getting the real scoop on this deal…

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

He’s smarter than he looks…

Berry Tramel had OSU fans worked into frenzy as Mike Gundy dragged his feet on signing his contract. Apparently, the current deal was due to end in 2019 and he wanted a lifetime contract.

Gundy is smarter than he looks even with that pathetic mullet.   I would suggest that Gundy got exactly what he wanted; a pay raise, a contract extension and most importantly a reasonably priced buy-out clause.

What this means is this…T. Boone at 89 and having suffered a mini-stroke last winter is feeling the pressure to bring a legitimate National Championship to Stillwater. Time is running out on the old man.

And..it could happen this year…after all Lindy’s Preseason Football Magazine has OSU winning the Big 12 in 2017. While I would not rush out and put Vegas money on their projection, I would suggest that the Pokes do have their best chance in years of reaching the Promised Land.

Boone has done his part by paving or paying the way for the best set of OSU triplets since the Gundy, Hart Lee Dykes and Barry Sanders some thirty years ago to return to Stillwater.   Ironically, it was with the original set of triplets that caused OSU to be placed on life support after the NCAA issued OSU, it’s near death penalty.

This year, along with the triplets, OSU also returns a solid offensive line, and the country’s best group of graduate transfers.

A manageable preseason schedule that includes Tulsa, Pittsburgh, and South Alabama should get the Pokes off to a good start.   Then OSU gets OU and K-State at home and a Texas team with a mental bloc against OSU on the road.

Before you grab for the barf bag, other more reputable preseason football magazines have a different opinion, as does this blog writer.

As we know OSU has invented the art of losing a game they should never lose.   Also, Charlie Strong will be not coaching at Texas this year, which should help with the mental issue. Most importantly, to win the gold ball, OSU must beat OU twice in the same year. I would bet my house that this will not happen.

Just like Aggies, Gundy and T. Boone have put all their eggs in the same basket. OSU must produce a winner this year or go back to square one next year. Returning a lot this year means losing a lot after the year is over.

This brings me back full circle to the Gundy is smarter than he looks statement. He has a win-win situation. If he wins the Big 12, he is a super hero to OSU fans. If he comes close, he will still be a super hero to OSU fans.

Either way, he can sign up for another year at $4.2 million dollars per year or leave for his next Yankees job in the SEC. SEC schools scoff at $3 million buy-out clauses.

More importantly in the SEC, Gundy will be at a place that can actually win a National Championship.

Like I said he is smarter than he looks.  

 

The Hits just keep on coming… 

The dog days of summer normally create pure boredom. This summer has been different; a lot different, as the hits just keep on coming.

First, the Sooner softball team played lights out and created the fourth leg of their softball dynasty.

Next, out of left field, Bob Stoops retires. While Lincoln Riley, his replacement was the obvious choice, few saw it coming this quickly.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that Lincoln Riley wasted no time to shore up the OU defense by hiring former Texas Tech coach Ruffin McNeil.   This guy can flat out coach and recruit.

The only time Tech has had a decent defense over the past twenty years was under Ruffin. Ruffin’s 2009 Tech defense led the Big 12 in pass and total defense. This guy is just what the doctor ordered.

Right on cue, OU flipped four-star defensive lineman Ron Tatum from burnt orange to Crimson and Cream.   Expect the OU to end up with another top ten recruiting class.

Finally, the OU baseball coach gets the axe…I really didn’t see this one coming. Pete Hughes took over scorched earth left by Sonny Galloway four years ago so I thought Joe C. would give him another year. Just as well, I had little confidence that Pete Hughes could make it happen.

Finally, I believe there is an underlying message for us in the baseball deal. Joe C. is telling all his coaches that football fans are tired of paying more and more for football tickets, football tickets that essentially pay for the salaries of coaches from other sports.   He is saying for these guys to either provide Sooner fans with a winning product or to seek employment elsewhere.

As a baseball fan, I like what I am seeing. Baseball has become a much bigger college sport. Louisville set the tone last year by signing its baseball coach to a $1million dollar per year contract to keep him from relocating to Austin.

I know Sherry Coale is the darling of many Sooner fans, but I would suggest that she take note…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Thanks Bob…

After Bob Stoops announced his retirement last week, the daughter of a friend told her mother that she felt like a family member had just died. For long time OU fans, this reaction may seem a bit extreme, but it is important to remember that for millennials, Bob Stoops is only OU coach they have ever known.

I told my friend we should all be so fortunate to have that kind of impact on someone. I know we are talking football here, but then again we are talking OU football. For those us raised on OU football, we totally understand.   Like someone speaking at Bob Stoops’ funeral, I want to thank Bob Stoops for doing this thing the right way.

Big Game Bob became good guy Bob this week.   While Bob Stoops has been compared to Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer in less than glowing terms over the years, his last act as a Sooner puts him at the head of the class in at least one area.   Bob knew when to say when…

I have lived through the retirement eras of both Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer. Both were extremely difficult for Sooner fans.   Yes, Bud and Barry put OU on the college football map, but both stayed too long and the transition period following their careers was far too ugly.

The character of a leader can  be described not only by his/her on field success during their tenure, but also how the torch is passed.   Loving a place means leaving that place in a position for future success…. Bob obviously loves this University, its football program and the SOONER NATION and was willing to walk away at just the right time.

Back in the forties Bud’s teams had winning streaks of 47 and 31 games, which led to a winning percentage of 91% over an eleven (11) period.   That was the good news…the bad news is that over the last six years of his tenure, Bud’s team won at only a 62% clip. That’s right Bud stayed too long.

Even more bad news for Sooner fans is that Bud was instrumental in Darrel Royal getting the Texas job. In the last six years of the Bud regime, he lost to Texas all six years.  Combined with the seven years after his retirement, the Sooners lost 12 of 13 years to the hated Shorthorns.

Bud’s personal choice of Gomer Jones to be his successor was pure disaster. By the end of the Gomer era the Sooners were getting their butts kicked not only on the football field, but on the recruiting trail as well.

It was not until Barry Switzer came along in the mid 70’s that OU fully recovered. Barry’s success was well documented with his own three National Championships; Just like Bud however, Barry stayed too long.

Scholarship limitations and the NCAA enforcement committee eventually did Barry in…Barry’s exit was ugly and created a rocky transition for OU football. While Barry unlike Bud had no choice in his departure, he should have seen it coming. He should have created a bridge for his successor.

Instead the program suffered with scholarship limitations and with Mr. Personality, Gary Gibbs.   On the best of days, Gibbs would not have been successful, but with the Sooner program hit hard by NCAA sanctions, he had no chance.

As we know OU hit rock bottom before the next great OU coach hit Norman. Bob Stoops resurrected the OU program from the dead and returned OU football to its former glory. That brings us to today.

As an old fart that could not imagine living through another OU football downturn, I am so thankful that Bob chose to take a different approach to his retirement. He is leaving the OU program in good hands…not only will Lincoln Riley be the next great OU football coach, Lincoln has the coaches and players to make this happen.

Thanks Bob for leaving OU football in a better place than you found it…

Boomer Sooner…

 

Thanks Bob… 

After Bob Stoops announced his retirement last week, the daughter of a friend told her mother that she felt like a family member had just died. For long time OU fans, this reaction may seem a bit extreme, but it is important to remember that for millennials, Bob Stoops is only OU coach they have ever known.

I told my friend we should all be so fortunate to have that kind of impact on someone. I know we are talking football here, but then again we are talking OU football. For those us raised on OU football, we totally understand.   Like someone speaking at Bob Stoops’ wake, I want to thank Bob Stoops for doing this thing the right way.

Big Game Bob became good guy Bob this week.   While Bob Stoops has been compared to Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer in less than glowing terms over the years, his last act as a Sooner puts him at the head of the class in at least one area.   Bob knew when to say when…

I have lived through the retirement eras of both Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer. Both were extremely difficult for Sooner fans.   Yes, Bud and Barry put OU on the college football map, but both stayed too long and the transition period following their careers was ugly.

The character of a leader may be described not only his/her success during their tenure, but also how that organization does for years after the passing of the torch.   Loving a place means leaving that place in a position for future success…. Bob obviously loves this University, its football program and the SOONER NATION and was willing to walk away at just the right time.

Back in the forties Bud’s teams had winning streaks of 47 and 31 games, which led to a winning percentage of 91% over an eleven (11) period.   That was the good news…the bad news is that over the last six years of his tenure, Bud’s team won at only a 62% clip. That’s right Bud stayed too long.

Even more bad news for Sooner fans is that Bud was instrumental in Darrel Royal getting the Texas job. In the last six years of the Bud regime, he lost to Texas all six years.  Combined with the seven years after his retirement, the Sooners lost 12 of 13 years to the hated Shorthorns.

Bud’s personal choice of Gomer Jones to be his successor was pure disaster. By the end of the Gomer era the Sooners were getting their butts kicked not only on the football field, but on the recruiting trail as well.

It was not until Barry Switzer came along in the mid 70’s that OU fully recovered. Barry’s success was well documented with his own three National Championships; Just like Bud however, Barry stayed too long

Scholarship limitations and the NCAA enforcement committee eventually did Barry in…Barry’s exit was ugly and created a rocky transition for OU football. While Barry unlike Bud had no choice in his departure, he should have seen it coming. He should have created a bridge for his successor.

Instead the program suffered with scholarship limitations and with Mr. Personality, Gary Gibbs.   On the best of days, Gibbs would not have been successful, but with the Sooner program hit hard by NCAA sanctions, he had no chance

As we know OU hit rock bottom before the next great OU coach hit Norman. Bob Stoops resurrected the OU program from the dead and returned OU football to its former glory. That brings us to today.

As an old fart that could not imagine living through another OU football downturn, I am so thankful that Bob chose to take a different approach to his retirement. He is leaving the OU program in good hands…not only will Lincoln Riley be the next great OU football coach, Lincoln has the coaches and players to make this happen.

Thanks Bob for leaving OU football in a better place than you found it…

Boomer Sooner…

 

Thoughts from the ball yard…

  • Game one of the college World Series was about as good as it gets…when was the last time you got to work and everyone was talking about a softball game. How about never.
  • Paige Parker is a pitcher that needs rest and Patti Gasso knows this. Pitching may be more about leg strength than arm strength. Just like last year, Paige was wasted after game one and needed time to recuperate.
  • Gasso simply played a game of dodge ball with her former assistant coach Tim Walton and made him blink. She started Paige Parker with no intention of staying with her too long. Walton started his #3 hole pitcher and had to bring in one of his starters to stop the bleeding
  • Patti allowed her freshman pitcher to avoid the pressure of starting the game as she faced the bottom of the order. Then in a brilliant move that no one saw coming, Gasso brings in her freshman right fielder, Nicole Mendes to get the Sooners through the 5th inning.
  • At that point it was all over, but the shouting as the Sooners brought the heat.
  • Let’s get real…Johnny Bench could not hit a 105 miles per hour heater. That is what Paige Lowary’s 75 mile per hour pitch computes to in baseball terms.

In closing, the good news is that OU fans have the entire team minus a left fielder returning in 2018. Additional good news can be found in the fact that the Sooner Class of 2020 is currently ranked #1 in the country with five players listed in the top 25. This team exits and the next bunch of blue chip players will take their place. I love the smell of reloading instead of rebuilding.

For those OU fans, looking for another dream, consider this…Patti Gasso will never give up her softball team for baseball, so let’s encourage Joe C. to go after her former assistant Tim Walton.   Like most people coaches can be bought. If Joe C. can put together a $1 million dollar incentive package, maybe Walton can be enticed to return to Norman.

This will be the final piece to the OU puzzle that all OU fans have dreamed about…

Boomer Sooner…