More of the same…
I have always been a big fan of college football… this fact has not changed, but unfortunately, today’s game is in a rut. For several years now, the SEC has controlled college football. Now Clemson has joined the party on a permanent basis. ESPN has been greasing the skids for the SEC with Saturday night prime time games and now the Godfather of sports will be doing the same for Clemson and the ACC.
Just like the rest of you, I hate those SEC chants that reverberate around SEC stadiums as much as you do, but we made our bed and must now lay in it. With Texas and OSU controlling our fate, we decided a few years back to forgo the SEC. That may end up being the right move, but that decision now has us swimming upstream when it comes to playing prime time games and recruiting difference makers.
Today’s high school players dream of playing on Saturday nights in the SEC. These days, Alabama and now Clemson treats the recruiting as a selection process. These teams have the daunting task of deciding which four and five star athletes to turn down. Big 12 teams must recruit 3-star prospects and turn them into 4-star players.
I firmly believe that Lincoln will improve the talent level dramatically over the next few years, but doing so won’t be easy…we need to win a National Championship to enhance our chances on the recruiting trail. With Lincoln Riley’s offense and an improving defense we can move into the Alabama/Clemson club. To make this happen, we need to pick up the pace between now and the December signing date.
Now here’s the tale of the tape…
Here are the latest Rivals100 rankings as the summer’s month long dead period begins. The list includes five (5) teams from the SEC, three (3) teams from the ACC, one (1) Big Ten team and one (1) independent.
- Notre Dame/Independent
- Ohio State/Big Ten
- North Carolina/ACC
- Texas A&M/SEC
Big 12 teams…
- 16. OU
- 21. Kansas
- 29. K-State
- 36. OSU
- 37. Texas
- 42. TCU
- 50. Texas Tech
- 52. Iowa State
- 52. West Virginia
- 63. Baylor
Coaching is a tough business… Patty Gasso had a tough call to make prior to game two of the Women’s College World Series. Does she go with a tired Giselle or does she go with her backup pitcher Mariah Lopez. Regardless of her decision, she is going to be wrong if OU does not pull out the win.
Years ago I had that same choice to make as my American Legion team played for a state championship. Go with a really inexperienced backup pitcher or go with my tired ace. The choice appeared to be simple…go with the backup pitcher, after all as a coach I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. If it worked, I would also look like a genius…I would also make one parent very happy.
Then again, in my heart of hearts I knew that sending the backup pitcher to face the Bronx Bombers would be like sending a lamb to the slaughter. At least my ace could provide some cover and keep the game close. In both cases the good guys lost, but we kept it close and gave our teams a chance to win. We also avoided a young player being scarred for life.
I can only imagine what went through Patty’s mind after the first two UCLA batters went yard on Giselle. To her credit, she never flinched. She knew she had to do what she had to do. Speaking of scar tissue, OU fans could not have handled another thrashing in game two. We all hate to lose, but a month from now, that 5-4 setback will look light years better than a 2nd 16-3 bloodletting.
This OU team will be back sooner rather than later…
As I was watching/analyzing the final game of the Women’s College World Series game I realized that I was turning into my dad. You’ve seen the commercials so you know what I mean. That’s right I had become obsessed with missed opportunities as OU failed to move runners with no outs and for pitching to good hitters with first base open. Then it hit me…let it go…I should be happy to have experienced such a team as this year’s Sooner women’s softball team. Over the past four years, this group of players has shown us what college sports should look like.
Let’s face it…OU lost to a really good UCLA team Tuesday night. The Bruins were also incredibly well coached with an experienced head coach at the helm who had been there many times and a pitching coach who really knows her stuff. The Bruins were also well rested, a fact that cannot be overstated. In spite of all of this, the Sooner women came within a hair of forcing game three.
Finally, let’s give Joe C. his due on this one…two years ago; he locked Patty Gasso into staying in Norman through 2024 as he negotiated a $200,000 per year stay clause for her. Hopefully, the next, great donor will step forward to provide seed money for the new softball stadium which will serve to enhance Patty’s recruiting ability which has already become legendary.
I know we are going to miss the best group of seniors in the history of this sport, but the Sooners return a solid nucleus of position players along with pitcher Giselle Juarez. If we can get “G” some help in the circle, a return trip to the World Series next year is not out of the question.
In the meantime, I am going to try my best to enjoy the moment. Of course doing so will be made that much easier knowing that Patty is not going anywhere.
Don’t you hate it when the cameras scan the crowd leaving the stadium when the Sooners get down. Heck, for all these guys knew those fans were taking a bathroom break. Then again at 10-1 even the most embolden fan had to know that the night was lost.
Actually, the night was lost when OU could not for the 2nd game in a row; make a play on a bunted ball back to the pitcher. Of course, as a former 2nd baseman who had to cover first base on those plays back in the day, I can tell you the play is a lot harder than it looks. Three errors later and the Sooners were done for the night. At that point, you are simply hoping to lull the Bruins into a false sense of security for game two…which we did.
These Sooner women are still plenty good, so don’t give up on the girls just yet. Patty Gasso is as good as it gets, so expect her to get out the giant eraser for this game. I liked her move early on as she chose to live to play another day by pulling “G” in the 5th.
I also want to give the UCLA coach credit for her scouting ability as she hit OU in our soft spot with bunts back to the pitcher. Possibly, OU can work on that play for tomorrow night.
One last thing…playing two games against Alabama on Sunday was a killer. These girls were leg weary…Giving the OU women a good night’s sleep back home in Norman will make a world of difference in tomorrow’s game. Like I said, don’t give up on the OU women just yet.