Sooner Magic…

The Commerce Department should have taken Kyler Murray’s negotiating team to the G-7 Summit meeting last week. First, his team negotiates a $4.7 million dollar paycheck…then a deal is struck that will allow Murray to forgo his professional baseball career until after this year’s football season.  Kyler Murray used OU football as a bargaining chip in a manner rarely seen.  Murray moved up some 31 rungs on the draft board in less than a week.  OU fans are coming out of this deal smelling like a rose.

Keep in mind that none of this would have happened if the Oakland A’s did not see Murray as the 2nd coming of Rickey Henderson.  It would also not have happened with out OU football being king.  Kyler Murray believes in his heart that he can be the reincarnation of Rickey Henderson, he also believes that he can lead football to the promised land in 2018.

This fall, OU fans will be treated to Kyler Murray directing the next Sooner football juggernaut and then in the spring, OU fans can watch Kyler Murray impersonate Rickey Henderson. I remember watching Ricky Henderson play for the A’s back in his prime and that guy was some kind of special.  The Oakland A’s have been doing this for a while so I expect they know what they are talking about in comparing these two players.

One last comment on this subject…how is it possible that Texas A&M could let this guy get away…there must be something in the water at an Aggie school.  A&M can change coaches until the cows come home, but those guys will still be Aggies.

As for my fellow Sooner fans…there must be something in the water in Norman these days as well. It’s called good Karma…keep those positive thougths going OU fans.  Life is good.

Boomer Sooner…

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Respect the game…and the girls who play it.

Without a doubt the WCWS is the best thing to hit OKC since the land run and the best thing to happen to women’s sports in forever. If you can’t get excited about Patti Gasso’s teams you need to check your pulse.

At the same time, OKC and the NCAA need to step up their game. First, OKC must expand the stadium.  A stadium that seats a mere 8,000 fans with less than a half of those seats being quality seating is a joke.  I know that expansion is supposedly on the horizon but let’s get off the snide and get ‘er done.

Next, the NCAA needs to step it up by treating this game with the same respect of the men’s game. Baseball regionals, super-regionals and the world series are played with four umpires, one for each base.  Yes, the dimensions in softball are shorter, but we need to have enough umpires to cover the entire field of play.

That mess in game one of the series was a perfect example of this fact. On that play the home plate umpire makes the call for a play in right field.  Possibly, she has bionic eyes, but that was insane.   Moe and Curly, the other members of the three-member crew run in from Yukon hoping to get a look.  That’s right…everyone was out of position to make a call that decided the game. Heck, I had a better view of the play than those guys from my right field bleacher seat.  Trust me I could have made that call and gotten it right, at least for OU fans.

It was a tough call for sure and could have gone either way, but I want someone in the same area code as the play to make it. Give Patti’s girls credit, they fought back on Saturday, but in a good year winning four games in two days is next to impossible…to manage that feat in this sweltering Oklahoma heat was not going to happen.

Finally, here are my solutions to this week’s issues…

First let’s tack on an upper deck for Hall of Fame Stadium to the next Maps Project. We’ve done it for everything else, why not softball. OKC…you do not want to lose the WCWS.

Next, let’s pass the hat before every WCWS game to pay for an extra umpire so the entire field of play can be covered. They do this in the men’s game so why not the women’s game.  These girls worked hard to get here…we need to respect them for their efforts.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the future…

It is times like this when all OU fans believe that OU will go undefeated this year…all the more reason for us to be reminded of that day last October, a date that will live in infamy for Sooner fans.

No one and I mean no one saw that Iowa State loss coming. I was so confident that I bet Mimi Tamage my house that OU would not lose to Iowa State on that day. Of course being the quick-witted guy that I am, I changed my story after the game to “I meant that I would bet your house”. Of course Mimi did not fall for that noise and let me off the hook anyway. Otherwise I would be living in a van down by the river these days.

With this as our backdrop, and given the fact that the NCAA has worked over time to level the playing field these days, assuming anything in today’s college football world is a mistake. Regardless, I will take a shot at gambling on the Sooner football future anyway.

First, I do believe that this year will be tougher than some may think.  We play Lane Kiffin’s FAU team in the opener and as we know any team with Florida players can be plenty good.  We also play what could be a much improved West Virginia team at season’s end.   With recruiting on the upswing, keeping last year’s momentum going in 2018 will be huge for the Sooners moving forward.

I really do believe that OU under Lincoln Riley will get us back in the mix for a National Championship sooner rather than later. I also want to give Bob Stoops some credit here as he made the coaching transition as about as flawless as one can get.   The 2017 season ended with the Sooners finishing behind only the SEC behemoths Alabama and Georgia.

Lincoln’s first recruiting class was a step above previous years with several difference-makers in this group.     I know we love to hate the SEC, but they really do play a different brand of football down there and this difference will only be made up over time with an upgrade in recruiting. This blog will help point out that Lincoln is doing his part to make this happen.

Okay, let’s roll the tape…

First, we have the Rivals Big 12 rankings based on a combination of team success and recruiting for the last five years. The numbers to the right are national rankings.

Remember, as you look at these lists that unlike the SEC, only one Big 12 team will make the playoffs on a given year. These numbers reinforce this fact.

  1. OU  13
  2. Texas  13.2
  3. Baylor 29.6
  4. TCU 32.8
  5. OSU 36.4
  6. West Va. 40.8
  7. Texas Tech 49.0
  8. Iowa State 56.4
  9. Kansas St. 61.0
  10. Kansas 68.8

Next we have the latest Rivals 2019 Big 12 and national recruiting rankings…

  1. OU #1 nationally…(11 commitments and two five star players so far)
  2. Texas #14…
  3. TCU #20…
  4. Iowa State #32…
  5. Baylor #34…
  6. OSU #43…
  7. West Virginia #46…
  8. Texas Tech #56…
  9. Kansas State #66…
  10. Kansas #66…

Finally, the 247sports 2020 Big 12 and national recruiting rankings…

  1. OU #2 nationally…
  2. TCU #16…
  3. Texas #20…
  4. Baylor #29…
  5. Iowa State #32…
  6. OSU #35…
  7. West Virginia #45…
  8. Texas Tech #62…
  9. Kansas State #66
  10. 10…Kansas #72…

As we know the first key to making the playoffs will be dominating the Big 12. As we also know that the Big 12 is similar to the Pac 12 in that we have no wiggle room. I know that Texas sucks, but Texas getting better will allow help the conference’s image and OU’s playoff possibilities.   Staying one step ahead of the Horns will be the key for Sooner football.

Lincoln has us on track to get back our National Championship strut over the next few years…how sweet it is…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Streaks…

Famous college slogans…

Oklahoma “Boomer Sooner”

Auburn “War Eagle”

Alabama “Roll Tide”

Texas “Texas Fight”

USC “Fight on”

Oklahoma State “Next year is our year”

Possibly given the Sooner women’s recent dominance of the Cowgirls in softball, we should change this slogan for OSU to read, “next decade is our decade”. With this year’s sweep, the Cowgirls have not beaten the Sooners in softball since 2011. The current OU win streak is at 20 games. One more year and the Sooners win streak over the Cowgirls will last into the 2020’s.

One may ask…how does this streak compare to football? While the Sooners have dominated the football series 88-17-8, the longest winning streak was 19 games from 1946 to 1964.   While that streak spanned more than one decade and will forever be the moniker for in-state rivalries, sweeping a team in three-game sets every year may be a taller order.

As you know even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while, so just like the Aggie football team, the Cowgirls will eventually snap the softball streak. At the same time given the fact that the Sooners return a solid nucleus of junior starters next year and the Cowgirls will graduate their best team in years, this streak may be safe for at least one more year.

As OU fans we love winning streaks so stay tuned…

Boomer Sooner…

The Baker factor…

On draft day, hundreds, if not thousands of OU fans declared that they knew all along that Baker would go first in the NFL draft.   As for me, I didn’t see this one coming. I was hopeful that Baker would be at the top of the first round, not just for Baker’s sake, but also for the good of the program and most importantly, for recruiting, but I never expected him to go #1.    Now that he has, it will be important for us to mark this moment going forward.

Just like another great OU quarterback, Baker will be like a bell cow when it comes to recruiting.  Back in the day, OU football had hit a lull following the Bud years.   It was 1969 and Barry Switzer was making one of his many forays into Texas to steal that state’s best high school talent for the Sooners.   The best player in Texas that year was Abilene Cooper’s Jack Mildren. Mildren like Baker Mayfield was not blessed with the prototypical physique of most star quarterbacks.   Instead Mildren like Mayfield possessed the heart of a champion to go along with the Crimson blood flowing through his veins.

Mildren became the bell cow that year as he led the procession of great Texas high school talent crossing the Red River to play for the Sooners.   With this group, the Sooners became a force on the national scene once again, played in the ’71 Game of the Century and won National Championships in ’74 and ’75.

I see the same thing happening today as Baker has become the standard bearer for OU football and as a result blue chip football players are flocking to Norman once again. The Sooners will return a solid nucleus of talent this coming year to go along with a top ten 2018 recruiting class.  Joining the Sooners over the next two years will be the #1 ranked Rivals (2019) class and the #1 247Sports (2020) class. Not since the Barry years have the Sooners recruited like this.

I know that no one would wish the Browns job on anyone, but then again, if anyone can be successful in Cleveland, Baker can. Baker is the type guy that legends are made of.  What better place than Cleveland for him to show off his Super Man impression. The whole world including the next batch of blue chip recruits will be watching as well.

Buckle up Sooner fans; we’re in for a fun ride in both Cleveland and Norman…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

There is always next year…

Just like the Chicago Cubs fans of old, this has been the mantra of OU fans for years. I loved OU football growing up, but I cut my teeth as a baseball player. Needless to say, I became an OU baseball fan as well. Times were good back in the day as Enos Semore put OU baseball on the map.

After Enos retired, OU spent only one year in neutral before hiring another great baseball coach in Larry Cochell. Cochell guided the Sooners to a National Championship in ’94. Those were good times…we did not know how good we had it. That was then and this is now.

A young Joe Castiglione fired Cochell for an ill-advised, politically incorrect comment. He compounded that mistake by hiring Gene Stephenson from Wichita State. Stephenson lasted less than 24 hours before changing his mind and returning to Wichita. Then in a knee-jerk move, Joe C. hired Sunny Galloway who many contended during his tenure to be the worst human on the planet.

When Texas pitching coach Clint Johnson was overlooked for the Texas job, Joe hired him to be the pitching coach for the then coach head coach Pete Hughes. I have to believe that Joe has matured as an A.D. and that he knew all along that Clint Johnson would be promoted to be the head guy at the first opportunity. This happened last year and now we shall see.

Okay, here’s deal with OU baseball…OU baseball is woefully behind the rest of the world. We recruit to a high school-type stadium while the other guys play at stadiums that Minor League teams would be proud of.  We will not turn this thing around over night, but then again, the college game can be unpredictable.

In spite of OU’s traditional midseason swoon, the Sooners have managed to salvage the third game of the three game set against Texas and Tech.  May not seem like much right now, but after twenty years of horrid baseball, we will have to depend on moral victories until the new coaching staff gets things figured out.

I know I am going out on a limb here, but I think we may finally have the right coach…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Pass me the football please…

Yes I know we are still stuck with Mike Stoops and yes; we must learn to play without Baker Mayfield, the greatest baller of all time.   At the same time, I really like Lincoln Riley and the direction of this team.   Unlike most of us, Lincoln spent little time stewing over the Rose Bowl loss.   He knew he had work to do.   Lincoln knew that OU had three priorities for returning OU to perennial national championship status. Improve the play of the secondary, special teams and recruit SEC-type athletes.

Being far wiser than his 33 years would suggest, Lincoln avoided making a classic Schnellenberger mistake. With Bob Stoops still hanging around Norman, firing Mike Stoops would have been a huge mistake. He did the next best thing…he promoted Kerry Cooks to play bigger role on defense and sent Cooks out to recruit a difference-make for a much-aligned defense.

Brendan Ridley-Hiles was recruited during the late signing period and this guy was a huge get for the Sooners. OU has not had a lock-down corner for years so getting Ridley-Hiles was big time.   Bookie as he is known was recruited out of IMG Academy, the Florida high school football factory.   With or without Mike Stoops, our defense will be much better over the next few years due to guys like this.

Next, Lincoln went out and hired a co-offensive coordinator and a special teams guru in the same package. Given today’s coaching staff size restraints, this was a brilliant move.   Again, Lincoln is avoiding mistakes made by more seasoned coaches.   Play callers can make excellent head coaches, but only when they share the offensive load with someone they trust.

Hiring Shane Beamer to help with the offense and with special teams was remarkable move to say the least.   In case this name sounds familiar, Shane Beamer is the son of Frank Beamer, the former Va. Tech Head Coach. For years Vegas odds-makers have given the Hokies an extra 10 points per game because of the play of Frank Beamer’s special teams.   Shane Beamer is a chip off the Frank Beamer block. This guy will be the difference maker that OU has badly needed in this critical area for years.

There you have it…in the last three months OU football has gotten better in each of the three phases of the game…offense, defense and special teams.   After living through the Trae Young/OU basketball trainwreck, football can’t get here fast enough. Pass me the football please…

Boomer Sooner…