Coaching…

As I was watching Chris Beard take his Texas Tech team to the final two in basketball this year, I was reminded about the importance of coaching.   Convincing a bunch of college kids to play defense at that level is mind boggling.   The guy must have taken Patti Gasso’s “how to develop a winner” workshop.

Patti Gasso loses a couple of top notch pitchers, but refuses to miss a beat.  She goes out and recruits two transfers to take the place of Paige Parker and Paige Lowary and continues to motivate her position players to play lights out.   She also recruits a bunch of newcomers to make sure OU stays on top next year.  I don’t know what OU is paying Sherry Coale, but that amount should be doubled for Patti Gasso.

Better yet, OU officials should force Sherry to take the Patti Gasso “how to develop a winner” workshop.  While we are at it, let’s make room for a front row seat for OU baseball coach Clint Johnson as well.   His Sooners have lost 6 of their last 8 games this year and have lost five games in a row over a two year period to OSU.  It will take both Sherry and Clint years to build their Sooner programs into national caliber teams, but this process has to start somewhere.  As for Patti, she refuses to take a year off.

Boomer Sooner…

 

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Bedlam…

My first blog appeared around ten years ago.   The timing for that blog was perfect.  The Big 12 Conference had been realigned and conference scheduling was in turmoil.  Athletic Director, Joe Castiglione, being the nice guy and/or chump that he was decided to sacrifice OU football for the cause of conference realignment.  He agreed to have the Sooners play OSU two years in a row in Stillwater.

As has always been the case, this whole Bedlam thing has been a marketing ploy to benefit little brother.  The second year of the two year deal saw OSU expand its seating capacity where they sold an extra ten thousand tickets for their beloved Aggies to witness a 44-10 beat down of the Sooners.   I remember thinking…and we call these guys Aggies.  My writing of a blog helped me voice my opposition to Joe’s Bedlam love affair.  Same goes today.

Joe C. is at it again; he is doing his part to ensure Bedlam success for OSU in other sports.  As stated in last week’s blog, we only wrestle OSU once a year these days.  This year it was in Stillwater in front of a full house of OU-haters.  Bedlam baseball is following the same script.

Of the six conference games between OU and OSU from this year and last, only one game will be played in Norman.  The other five games will be in Stillwater or in Tulsa (OSU’s home away from home) or at the Brick in front of orange clad OSU fans.  Making matters worse, Joe C. kicked in an extra non-conference Bedlam game for this year. Of course as you might imagine, the game was played in Stillwater last week.   Again, who are the real Aggies here?

With friends like Joe C., who needs enemies? 

 

OU wrestling…

There was a time not that long ago when OU fielded outstanding wrestling teams.  Those were the days of Danny Hodge, the greatest Oklahoma high school wrestler ever and Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, the guy who invented Bedlam.  OU also won seven National Championships back in the day.  Those are distant memories now.

Over the past ten years, OU has effectively turned the wrestling program into a club sport.  Now OU wrestling is relegated to finishing behind fellow conference teams teams Northern Iowa and Utah Valley at the national tournament.  That was not a misprint; Northern Iowa and Utah Valley are now members of the Big 12 Conference for this one sport.

Making matters worse is that OU fans must now root for teams outside Oklahoma to win National Championships in wrestling.  Why you say is this case…With OU giving up on the sport, it can be assumed that every Oklahoma high school blue chip prospect in wrestling will choose to attend oSU.

As a result, it is just a matter of time before the Aggies win another National Championship in wrestling, a move that will make the local media wet their pants.    Fortunately, we are off the hook for this year.  Over the weekend, Penn State won its 8th National Championship in nine years.

For me rooting for Penn State is right up there with pulling for the Russians, but then again what alternative do I have.   The good news for now is that we are off the hook for this year as Penn State took home the brass ring for one more year.

Good news…bad news…

The good news is that in spite of my concerns with this year’s OU team, I picked OU to beat Ole Miss.  Not a big stretch since Ole Miss. was only a one point favorite, but when you are playing for a million bucks this is big time.  The fact that my Sooners won was an added bonus.

In spite of my reservations about this OU team, Lon Kruger schooled Ole Miss.  Anything is better than going one and done.    As we saw in the Virginia game, this team is very limited, but given the fact that three of the starters will be back next year and we have top ten recruiting class coming in, I’m back on board.

I’ve decided to allow Lon to keep his coaching staff and will extend his plan of improvement to two years instead of one.  I’ve checked with Joe C. and made sure he was aware of my decision.

Speaking of weird, apparently, Buddy Hield and Trae Young were both in the house for Friday’s game.  I know that Trae is the media favorite, but there is sure a lot to like about Buddy Hield.  He seemed like the consummate team guy to me.  I am sure that Lon being the nice guy that he is was gracious to both returning stars, but you must believe that in his heart of hearts, he would much prefer Buddy as a player over Trae.

Finally, with my OU pick on Friday, I am still in the hunt for that new car with my bracket.   Well, not really. After the weekend, my percentage according to ESPN is 99% which looks pretty good on paper, but then comes the bad news.  My bracket ranks me at #189,000.  That’s right…I would have a better shot at winning the lottery than playing the ESPN bracket game.

That’s okay; it gives me something to do as we wait for the spring game and the women’s college world series.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

The side door…

Ironically, as the FBI was investigating the play for pay scheme involving Adidas and college basketball coaches they uncovered another play for pay scheme.  This one involved the use of the side door made famous by the rich and famous to get their kids into elite colleges.   What may been lost in translation of this case is that the scandal focuses on athletes use the side door to get into school.

While this story has produced numerous segue issues of crime and corruption, the parents involved used coaches at various private schools to skate around normal admissions requirements. While the media has done a bang up job of covering the rich and famous side of this story, I would like to share the other side.

Every D-I university has a set of academic requirements for students to be admitted to a university.  These same universities, both private and state use the side door to admit 10% of the students who fall below those levels.   The side door can be used by a university to admit children of donors, alumni, celebrities and for that matter your Cousin Eddie.  The side door can also be used to admit athletes.   Here is how this works.

As many of you know from personal experience, a perfect score on the ACT is a 36.  The NCAA allows athletes to be eligible at any D-I school, public or private with a 17 score on the ACT.  At OU the required score for regular admission is a 24.  Players whose scores fall between the 17 and 24 score can be admitted via the side door.

At Stanford the required ACT score for admission is a 32.  While Stanford athletes tend to be extremely smart; there is no way any of their football players could score a 32 on the ACT.  Heck, I can barely count that high myself.  It has been my experience that Stanford coaches do somersaults when their prospective players score a 24 on the ACT.

The NCAA requires D-I member schools to field at least 14 teams.  Okie State has the minimum of 14 teams while OU has 19.  Big Ten universities sponsor as many as 31 teams.   This means that a university can have hundreds, if not thousands of athletes on campus at one time.  Without the 10% rule, this would not be possible.

As you can see, private schools use the sliding scale for its athletes similar to state universities.  This is why a USC can compete for National Championships similar to an OU and Alabama.   Most importantly, without a side door for college athletes; there would be no college sports. We would be sitting around on fall Saturday’s watching Law and Order reruns.

There you have it…the side door from another angle.  May not be a perfect system, but as you can see, this is the cost of doing business in the college sports world.

 

 

When in doubt, fire the help…

The good news is that Joe C. is taking a page from his OU football playbook.  The bad news is that this move may be too little, too late.   Don’t get me wrong, no one in their right mind expected Joe to fire Sherry so as we expected he is taking the easy way out.

Joe has insisted that Sherry send her longtime assistant coaches packing.  I can only hope that the move came with a one year plan of improvement.  I say this because as we know, Sherry does not like change and she most certainly does not like taking advice from others.  I am sure that firing her two assistants with four decades of experience was hard, but watching this team implode over the last several years has been even harder for OU fans.

A short leash is critical for us because Sherry is a different animal than Bob Stoops. The one year plan will help Joe insist that she hires the right people and takes their advice. The plan worked miracles in football, but then again we are talking Sherry here.

I also believe that Joe should turn the heat up on Lon as well.  Have Lon send his staff including his son to the showers and put him on a one year plan of improvement as well.   This team made the NCAA tournament by the skin of its teeth.  As we know from watching these guys all year, we’re not very good.  Let’s get real…this basketball program has just been taking up space for three years and yes bleeding off money that could be going to other sports.

Hey, who knows a year from now, OU can go to Kelvin Sampson with cap in hand, apologizing for his mistreatment the last time around.   Kelvin’s 11th ranked, 31-3 Houston Cougars are looking pretty good these days.   Who knows, OU fans may learn how to pronounce his name this time around.

If I appear to be impatient…I am.  I’m tired of football fans footing the bill for these two programs.  OU is sending millions of dollars down a rabbit hole for these guys.  If we’re not going to take basketball seriously, let’s turn them into club sports and use this money for football, gymnastics and softball.

Let’s start the plan of improvement clock on both basketball programs right now.  One year and counting…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

Great Depression/s…

Outside of football Oklahoma has had few real legends of late.  The state started off like a house afire with the land run, the oil boom, Jim Thorpe and Will Rogers.   Then came the Dust Bowl, the Okie migration and of course the Grapes of Wrath.  We have been fighting upstream ever sense.

OU did its part to help Oklahoma recover from the Great Depression by giving us President George Lynn.   Cross hired Bud Wilkinson who in turn created the greatest team in America for its time.  David Boren was a mere pup sitting in the stands the day Notre Dame snapped the 47 game win streak.  Boren developed a love affair for Oklahoma, as well as for OU football similar to that of Dr. Cross.  He would eventually be asked to help OU overcome Oklahoma’s 2nd Great Depression.

Oklahoma had been torn asunder with the unraveling of the Barry Switzer era.   David Boren became university president and almost immediately fired John Blake and replaced him with Bob Stoops.  He eventually replaced Bob Stoops with Lincoln Riley.

I know from first-hand experience how much Boren hated the Okie migration story. I also know first-hand how much he loved Oklahoma, OU football and the university.  As an Oklahoma fan, it has been painful for all of us to watch the wheels come off the Sooner Schooner since Boren’s retirement.

Regardless of your loyalties to the new guy or the old guy, OU is now in total free-fall. The latest bad news pains me the most.  A year ago, OU was listed for the first time by U.S. News and World Report as a top 100 national university.  Due to the undoing at the university over the past year, the latest Report now lists OU as unranked.

That’s right Oklahoma’s flag ship university now appears to be in the midst of its 3rd Great Depression.  Once again, we need OU football to save the day.

Boomer Sooner…