After watching OU’s meltdown to Kansas State, ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer insisted that nothing had changed in Norman. Same old OU defense…they can’t tackle and they can’t cover. This team is going nowhere again this year.
At first I was right there with him as I was still stewing about OU’s latest early season meltdown. Then after picking up the dog that I had kicked across the room, I began my rehabilation by reflecting on how OU had played for the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game.
Spencer Rattler made some freshman-type mistakes but he was still on his way to a four hundred yard and four touchdown passing day. The running game was crisp and the defense had held K-State to 28 yards into the 2nd quarter. Even late in the third quarter the defense looked much improved from last year’s bunch.
It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the wheels came off the Sooner Schooner. I won’t rehash the crash and burn details, but some of this was self imposed and some of it was just bad luck. As for those of us who had seen this stuff before, we have only ourselves to blame. There’s a reason they call this kid football.
This may or may not make you feel better, but Jalen Hurts and Baker Mayfield had similar breakdowns during their final years in Norman. In 2018 it was against Iowa State and last year it was Kansas State. Spencer Rattler was just in the wrong place at the wrong time this year. This kid can flat out play so let’s cut him some slack.
As OU fans, we love a challenge and now we have one. The Sooners get a do-over next Saturday in Ames on our way to the Cotton Bowl. OU beat Texas in Arlington in ’18 and in Dallas in ’19 after a similar miscues. We’ll be okay…
Big Ten presidents and chancellors succumbed to pressure last week and voted to play football this year. Sounds like a great deal for Big Ten football fans, but before fans get all giddy and stuff, they may want to take a look at the agreement’s fine print.
This is what I mean. The league has stipulated that “any player who tests positive will be barred from games for at least 21 days. Three weeks is a long time for a player to be benched for one positive test. With no off-weeks on Big Ten schedules, this could mean a player may lose as much as 1/3rd of the season.
Here’s another kicker. A team must stop practice and competition for at least a week if it records a positivity rate of more than 5 percent over a rolling seven-day period. Given a 85 player roster, it will take only take five (5) players to sideline a team for an upcoming game. Compare this number to the seventeen (17) OU players that were sidelined against Missouri State.
The academic and medical people piled on even more by insisting that players who test positive must also pass a battery of heart-related screenings, including a cardiac M.R.I. exam before returning to practice. On the surface, this policy seems to lack any bluster, but down the road it will.
This is an attempt by the Big Ten to spare itself of Covid 19 lawsuits related to heart problems years from now. This is a pretty smart move on their part. This league has been swimming in lawsuits over the past twenty years so they are trying to learn lessons from the past.
There is some good news in all of this. Big Ten games will be played in empty stadiums this year. This should provide teams like Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue a boost. Winning for opposing teams just got a lot easier in Columbus, Ann Arbor and Happy Valley.
For the average college football fan, having the Big Ten back in the mix is a good thing. Hopefully, the Pac 12 will follow suit. If so, we can add a bunch more early morning and late night t.v. games to our our Saturday viewing schedule. Finally, we will be able to have some decent football Saturdays.
What a year…
What do K-State, Iowa State and Kansas have in common? They are all part of the unofficial Big 12 North. To say that these teams suck is an understatement. The worst for OU is that these teams are dragging down the credibility of the Big 12 Conference of which OU is a member.
Obviously, for a power conference bunch to lose to Sun Belt Conference teams is unacceptable, but pouring salt into the wound is the fact that all three of these teams lost at home. This is a black eye for the conference that was flashed all over America. This news is the latest in a series of bad news moments to hit the conference in recent years. First, we lose quality teams to other conferences and then a couple years later we chose not to expand, a move that would have restored much needed credibility.
This conference picture is not going to change as these three teams must rely on two and three star recruits from Kansas and Iowa. As a result, these teams will never compete on a regular basis against Texas athletes recruited by the rest of the Big 12 Conference and America. Having a third of the conference represented by high school-type teams does not bode well for the Big 12.
Now with this fact in mind, let’s scope out a plan for this year. OU must not only run the table and go undefeated, they must beat the dog out of the rest of the league. Anything less will look like a loss to pollsters. I’ve never liked running up the score on helpless teams, but these lower level Big 12 teams asked for this when they signed up for a full portion of the conference financial pie.
Finally, we must beat Texas twice. With the Big Ten coming late to the party and with the SEC playing full blown conference schedules this year that should result in losses for those teams, this formula should land OU in the playoffs driver’s seat.
Fortunately for Sooner fans, if Saturday night was any indication, this team is up to the task.
- The Sooner Summit seemed to be a smash hit for Fairfax (Va.) Robinson five-star offensive tackle Tristan Leigh and his family. Leigh was joined by his mother, uncle and little brother Aidan Leigh, a 2023 offensive tackle prospect who was offered Oklahoma on during that weekend.
“It was great,” Leigh’s mother Laura told 247Sports on Sunday morning. The group arrived for the event organized by Sooners quarterback commit Caleb Williams and his family on Thursday. The two five-stars were even on the same flight to and from Norman
Personal note: The commitment for Tristin Leigh will come down to LSU and OU. His family is set to take a trip to Baton Rouge in the near future. If the Sooners can overcome the Tiger Bait trip, we could realize a big plus from the Sooners Summit. Also, Leigh is good friends with Caleb Williams so I believe that OU has a decent chance at landing another five star recruit.
- The Oklahoma Sooners received some good news following the Summit, as Camar Wheaton, a running back out of Garland, Texas, released his top-three schools at this point in his recruitment. The Crimson and Cream made the cut alongside programs like Alabama and LSU.
Personal note: Prior to the Sooners Summit, the recruitment for Wheaton was between OU and Texas. After the Summit, Texas was eliminated by Wheaton. I now see Wheaton, who is a five star prospect as basically a lock for OU.
USA Today Sports predictions for OU in 2020…
Sept. 12: Missouri State
- Projected winner – Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 99.8 percent
Sept. 26: Kansas State
- Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 85.6 percent
Oct. 3: at Iowa State
- Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 70.8 percent
Oct. 10: Texas (neutral) –
- Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 51.6 percent
Oct. 24: at TCU
- Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 66.1 percent
Oct. 31: at Texas Tech
- Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 79.3 percent
Nov. 7: Kansas
- Projected Winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 97.3 percent
Nov. 21: Oklahoma State
- Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 74.8 percent
Nov. 28: at West Virginia
- Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 77.6 percent
Dec. 5: Baylor
- Projected winner: Oklahoma’s chances at victory: 86.2 percent
Personal note: According to USA Today our toughest games will be in Dallas and Fort Worth in weeks four and five. The good news is that we have an open date between the Texas and TCU games.