It appears that I owe Joe Castiglione an apology. This year’s football schedule lays out much better than I would have thought. No Bedlam to start the season and a couple games that will allow the Sooners to become acclimated to conference play prior to Texas. All of this became an even bigger deal with the Kennedy Brooks’ departure.
As for the Big Ten and Pac 12 Conferences, we should have seen that coming. When push comes to shove, football will always take a back seat to academics in the midwest and on the west coast. The Covid 19 deal simply allowed their school presidents to flex their muscles and remind the athletic departments who was really in charge. School leaders in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country operate under a different mindset. That fact was borne out by the decision to buck the tide and play football this fall.
Now that we are off and running, let’s see how far we can stretch this thing out and if we can turn this choas into a great Sooner season. If we can keep another coronavirus surge at bay and keep playing, the Sooners can use the split season on the national level to their advantage.
The NCAA has already decided that we won’t see a set of playoffs this year, so the Sooners will have to win this national championship the old fashioned way. It has worked for us in the past as six of OU’s seven national championhips were won without a playoff/BCS system. They were called mythical national championships and these champions was selected by a panel of sports writers and/or coaches.
Here’s my game plan. Let’s say that OU gets on a roll early, beats Texas in Dallas and OSU at home on the way to going 11-0. Then the other Power Conference teams, which are now playing much more competitive schedules, beat up on each other on their way to one loss seasons. If this happens regardless of the two seasons, OU can end up on top for our eighth National Championship.
I know this may sound pretty far-fetched, but in a year like this, anything is possible.
About the time I was putting the finishing touches on my last blog, the Kennedy Brooks story broke and I had to trash it. Like all OU fans, I was upset and I wanted someone or something to blame.
I thought about using the standard “these kids now a days” blame game or blaming the Black Lives Matter movement or this damn coronavirus, but then I got a grip. I realized I should go with an oldie, but goodie. I decided to blame the system.
The system that turned us into rabid college football fans is now turning its back on us. College sports now exists at the mercy of professional sports and whatever they say goes. You really can’t blame a Kennedy Brooks or Trae Young for pocketing millions of dollars, after all that is the American way. Team owners have it to burn and as a result college sports exist at their behest.
College fans are allowed to borrow college kids for two years plus a redshirt year in football and one to two years in basketball. Anything more than this should be seen as borrowed time and for that matter a blessing. Most importantly, whining about the system serves no purpose. The system always wins.
At this point all we can do is wish Kennedy Brooks well as he takes his slice of American Pie and then see who will be the next guy up. As OU fans we are fortunate that we can recruit four and five star running backs to replace the four star guys that we lose to the pros. every year. Here’s my next guy up list…
Kennedy Brooks……………….4 star recruit in 2017 opts out…
T.J. Pledger…………………………4 star recruit in 2018
Rhamondre Stevenson……..Juco All-American in 2019
Marcus Major……………………4 star recruit in 2019
Seth McGowan………………….4 star recruit in 2020
Camar Wheaton……………….5 star prospect in 2021
We’ll be okay…
We now know that we will play a non-conference game along with nine conference games this season. According to Joe Castiglione, we will play three games within five weeks which means we will play Missouri State on September 12th and Baylor on October 3rd. The question now is who will be the mystery team in the middle of that sandwich.
Rumor has it that Big 12 officials want the Big 12 to start the season off with a bang so they are looking for rivalry games for that first conference weekend. For OU this would mean either Texas or OSU. Texas will never agree to move their OU game away from October 10th and of course no one tells Texas what to do, so that would leave OSU.
With their best team in years OSU would love the opportuniy to start the season on national t.v. against the Sooners. For OSU this would be a dream come true. For OU on the other hand, this would be a lose-lose situation.
We are expected to beat OSU every year and as a result, the Sooners will have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Next, the Sooners will start an inexperienced quarterback in Spencer Rattler. We know that Spencer is going to be a star, but why put him in the fire swamp right out of the chute. Give him a game or two to find his bearings.
OSU on the other hand will start a former four-star quarterback who showed spurts of brillance last year. The Ags will also trot out an experienced team with exceptional skill position players. For the first time ever, this game will be played in front of phantom fans which means the Sooners’ home field advantage will be minimized.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby has been licking his chops for several years hoping that someone would knock the Sooners off their high horse. He wants conference parity in the worst way and I would not put it past him to use this game to make that happen.
I know all OU fans want football, any kind of football in the worst way, but we don’t want it to happen at OU’s expense. It will be Joe Castiglione’s job to make sure that OU’s interests are protected and that this sordid scenario does not happen. This pandemic is not the Sooners’ fault and having to play a game of this nature due to the virus is simply unacceptable.
The latest coronavirus player revolt in the Pac 12 will likely spread nationwide and if that happens it may be the death knell for college football this fall. If that happens we will be praying for a spring season. In the meantime, Big 12 officials will decide what to do with a fall season this week just in case it happens.
The other Power Conferences have settled on playing ten game conference schedules this year with the ACC going one better by adding one non-conference game to their ten game conference schedule. This really puts the Big 12 in a bind as we max out at a nine game conference schedule.
The first proposal on the table at the Big 12 meetings this week will be a conference plus one schedule. For OU this will consist of playing a conference schedule along with Missouri State. The unfortunate part of this schedule is it’s strength of schedule weakness. While Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama will have strong resumes made up of power conference teams, OU’s schedule will be woefully weak by comparison. More importantly OU will be seriously handicapped when the playoff selection committee meets at the end of the season.
If conference officials choose to think outside the box and go with a conference plus two schedule we might have a chance in the strength of schedule area. For OU, let’s keep Army on our schedule. Granted, Army is not Tennessee, but Army would certainly give our non-conference schedule much needed substance.
Conference officials should continue to allow teams to start in August and they should redesign the schedule to move Big 12 teams to early year open dates created by this mess. Then, the schedule makers should create additional open dates later in the year to accommodate Covid 19 issues. Here is the mock conference plus two schedule.
August 29-Missouri State
September 5 -open date
September 12-Big 12 opponent
September 19-open date
Rest of conference season with additional open dates as needed.
The August opener will serve additional purposes…first, Big 12 players and teams can be showcased to the nation for that first couple weeks. We’ll be the only game in town. That weekend will also be the propsosed date of the Sooner Summit. This will be an opportunity for Caleb Williams to recruit some of his five star buddies to Oklahoma.
This fall season is hanging on by a thread, but if it happens, we need to be ready. Joe Castiglione needs to insist on a conference plus two schedule.