Play for pay is now legal…

Apparently, the NCAA has grown tired of chasing its tail and has decided to legalize “pay for play.”  On the surface this may appear to be good news for OSU and the other cheaters of the world, but maybe not.  This move may actually turn out to be a good thing for the rest of college basketball.

The good guys assumed that OSU would be in the hoosegow by now for their ”pay for play” scheme that played out in Federal Court.  As of today, it appears that the bad guys will only suffer collateral damage.   OSU assistant coach Lamont Evans fell on his sword and is now cooling his heals in the Leavenworth Hilton.

The NCAA has apparently decided to give OSU and the other schools involved in the sordid affair a pass.  It has to be assumed that the NCAA believed that making sense of this mess would be far too challenging for the mortal man. The boys from Stillwater saw this coming and were able to use their connections with the underworld to come up with one last recruiting class using the old “play for pay” playbook. It worked as OSU just recruited a top five class.  I know it’s lovely in Stillwater this time of year, but really…

We will see where this goes from here, but I suspect that OSU may rue the day when the NCAA legalized “play for pay”.  The Ags had been using their expertise in this area for years to make themselves relevant in college basketball.  Now, the rest of college basketball will be able to do this sort of thing legally.  I suspect that the value of an endorsement deal for a player from a blue blood school like Kentucky, Duke or Kansas will be worth a lot more than that of OSU.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s football time…in Oklahoma…

Last Friday, OU and OSU announced that on-campus classes would proceed as planned this fall.  Now we can start planning for football season.   OU officials have been looking for a way out of this Coronavirus mess and they have found it.   OU students took them off the hook by making it known loud and clear that they would not tolerate another semester of online classes.

Some colleges and universities can operate just fine with online classes, but not OU.  High school students work their butts off for years just to make the cut for OU admission.  These students compete for these slots in order to be part of the OU experience, an experience that includes Sooner football.

Interim president Joe Harroz realized that another semester of online classes would decimate OU’s enrollment and create a massive budget shortfall which would lead to layoffs across the board.  This financial avalanche would set the university back for years.   Harroz solicited good news and got it.  Now, we can get on with the real issue here, college football.

Now that students are set to return in the fall, conference commissioners can decide when the games will begin.  If we get a break from Covid 19 over the next few months, football practices can resume as scheduled August 1.  If a second round of Covid 19 cases surfaces in late summer, football would then be delayed until next February.  Either way, we’ll have football this school year.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

August 29 football…

The governors from three SEC states are chomping at the bit to get the college football season opened up on time.   They are throwing caution to the wind and opening up their states to business sooner rather than later.  These governors come from red states where they will feel little resistance to the move.  The Georgia governor has scheduled his state to open up at the end of this week.

Of course there will be considerable push back from outside forces as leading scientists, the CDC and Dr. Fauci have insisted that it would be wise to hold off for a couple more weeks.   Of course as we know football is king in this part of the country and Dr. Fauci can’t hold a candle to football coaches.  It is also important to realize that the Georgia move will provide a litmus test for this year’s football season.

If Georgia can fend off a rush of Covid 19 cases over the next two weeks, other states will follow suit and in turn open up their states.  If this happens it will be game on for football.  On the other side of the coin is a scenario where Georgia opens up too quickly, a move that would allow the Coronavirus to make a second run at the state.   This would be devastating to both Georgia and to college football.

I estimate that the NCAA has circled June 1 as the date for making a decision on the start of this season.  If the country is able to open up successfully at the end of April, the NCAA will feel far less pressure about the scheduling of opening day.

Now let me give you my barometer that we can use for Georgia.  On April 20, the number of Covid 19 case count in Georgia was listed by the State Health Department at 96.  If Georgia can hold this number in check through mid-May, an August 29 college football start becomes realistic.  If not, well, let’s not think about that right now.

 

 

 

OU football, now more than ever…

Between “Tiger King” and “Mullet Man,” we can’t seem to get a break in this state.   We tend to take one step forward, only to take two back when it comes to the state’s image.  Once again, it will be up to OU football to salvage an otherwise impossible situation.  In just two months the postive image created by OU football and Thunder basketball has been gone by the wayside.

First, we have Netflix’s star Joe Exotic starring as “Tiger King” as he streams his pshchotic craziness  nationwide.  Making matters worse is that in one of the episodes it is revealed that Joe Exotic once ran for Oklahoma governor against Mary Fallin and did quite well.  Of course Fallin’s claim to fame was allowing her daughter to hook up her double-wide to the governor’s mansion to save on electricity.  Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up…

Now, we have Mike Gundy, Joe Exotic’s look alike impersonating Dr. Fauci as he insists the Coronavirus is no big deal.  He wants his players to report for on practice May 1.   He believes that “we can only wait so long for the death and sickness to subside, life goes on.”  He says that “if their healthy, what’s the big deal.” “We’ll test the players when they report and the ones that test positive will simply be held out of pratice for a few days.” Of course the national media jumped all over this.

I know many of you don’t care what the rest of the world thinks about Oklahoma, but I do.  I’ve lived here all my life and I have always hoped that our state’s image would improve.  This was also the cause pursued by one of my heroes.   Former OU president George Lynn Cross wanted to change the Dust Bowl Okie image that had plagued the state since the John Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath days.

He hired Bud Wilkinson to use OU football to do just that. Of course, you know the rest of the story. Bud created a football team that made Oklahoma and the rest of the country proud.   He reversed the backward Oklahoma image, at least for a time.  Of course with Joe Exotic and Mike Gundy hanging around, keeping Oklahoma above water in this area will always be a challenge.

As you know I’m a glass half full kind of guy.  I believe that Lincoln Riley and OU football can do it again.   I believe that Lincoln Riley is the reincarnation of Bud Wilkinson.  We need OU football now more than ever.

Boomer Sooner…

Taking care of OU first…

It was 2011 and I was so mad I could bite nails…OSU had just beaten OU 44-10 and right on cue, OSU fans were rushing the field like they had just won the Super Bowl.  I wanted to blame someone…first, I took my frustration out on Bob Stoops who had apparently prepared his team poorly for the game.   Next, I blamed Landry Jones who had developed a bad case of color blindness prior to kickoff as he kept throwing passes to the guys in the wrong colored jerseys.

Then, the real answer came to me…why are we playing these bozos in Stillwater for the second year in a row.  I remember thinking to myself, “and we call them Aggies.”  Who could have allowed such a thing to happen?   Of course I already knew the answer to my question because I had seen this coming. The OU Athletic Director was the culprit. He had done it to us again…

We had actually seen Joe’s colors a few years earlier.  Joe had worked out a deal with OSU to create a Bedlam football series, a move meant to increase OSU revenue and help put the Ags on the football map.  Being the nice guy that he is, he has always insisted on taking care of little brother.  He assumes that OU is big enough to take care of themselves.  Simply put, Joe C. was not Sooner born and Sooner bred so he does not bleed crimson like we do.

Here’s my concern…we will be entering a critical time for OU football over the next couple of months and years.  There will be good options and bad options to be considered for this year’s football season.    In 2023 there will be good and bad options for OU to consider when it comes to the next t.v. contract and possible conference realignment.

Joe will have to be reminded that he works for OU and not for Texas and/or OSU.  I know I may appear to be a bit paranoid about these things, but then again Joe has burned OU fans before.  As they say, mess with me once blame on you, mess with me twice, blame on me.

Joe, I’ll be watching…

 

 

Before I close out this chapter on 2020 football scheduling options, I want to share my feedback regarding the winter football scenario.   As a transplanted Oklahoman living in Alaska she knows full well the unpredictable nature of our weather.    This fan knows that it can get just as cold in November as February.  The famous OU-OSU ice bowl game happened in November back in ’85, as well as the ‘97 game that I mentioned in my last blog.  Football from November on is always going to be a crap shoot in Oklahoma.

Fans can put on layers in cold weather, but there is little one can do about the scorching heat.   Just two years ago, OU played in sweltering heat that topped out at 105 degrees.    Their were more stroke victims underneath the stadium than there were people in the stands by games end.  I agree with my Alaska fan, I’ll go with cold weather over hot weather any day.

Another fan dismissed the winter football idea and suggested instead a football season without fans in the stands.  I could live with this option, but I’m not sure college football could.  College football without pageantry would be like college football without keeping score.

My other concern with this suggestion is that playing any season that begins in August could be problematic from both a health and legal standpoint.  The NCAA will not approve the start of the season until this Coronavirus thing runs its course. If we cannot have fans in the stands, we can’t have players in the locker room.

I know Mike Gundy believes that this death and dying stuff is overrated, but he may get a different view from a grieving mama.  It would only take one player’s death at the hands of the Coronavirus to break the bank.  Both the NCAA and university would be listed in these lawsuits and this would be extremely detrimental to an organization sworn to protect student-athletes.

Finally, without ticket sales college football would lose 70% of its revenue for the  year.  T.V. ratings may go up a bit during this time, but long term contracts on the part of ESPN and others would not be altered.   This financial concern would also impact a decision that eliminated non-conference games.

Okay, there you have the various plans for the college football season for this year.  Hopefully, we will not need any of these options and the college season will go on as previously scheduled.  If not, we now know the choices that will be examined by the NCAA in coming weeks.

 

 

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Football options…

As we approach football season, the possibility of a normal season becomes more and more problematic.  Since I am not as smart as Mike Gundy who appears to have this thing all figured out, I will continue to consider various options.  Three possibilities will have us play in the fall, one with a full season and an August start and two with October starts.

Each of these schedules has a major downside.  Experts have told us that the coronavirus may become dormant over the summer only to reappear in the fall.  In spite of mullet man’s view to the contrary, the NCAA is highly unlikely to start the season before the virus is officially declared dead.

With that in mind, let’s consider a fourth option that has been floating around of late.   This is a plan that would delay the start of the season until January.  I know this possibility appears to be simply unacceptable to most people, it is important to keep in mind that we live in a different world these days.  With a January start to the football season, the Pandemic will have time run its course.  Most importantly, this move would allow all 130 FBS football teams to remain financially solvent.

Power Five Conference teams play non-conference games to pay the bills for their football program and to fund non-revenue sports.  Each year OU plays two non-conference games at $8.5 million dollars to address these concerns.  Without non-conference games, non-revenue sports like softball and  baseball would barely exist with other non-revenue sports taking a hiatus for a year.

Non conference games mean survival for smaller schools as well.  Missouri State will take home between $1.5 to $2 million dollars for being abused by OU this season.  Without this money, Missouri State football, and possibly Missouri State athletics would cease to exist.

As you know I am concerned about the possibility of OU playing a schedule without non-conference games.  This move would create an opening season schedule that includes a stretch of four games against both Texas and OSU.  It appears that I may have found some allies in my fight.

First, we have the forty (40) teams from sun belt and west coast areas.  They will not want a January start either, but they do want to play football this season.  The cold weather will not be as big a deal for the teams from the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 Conferences whose fans live in these areas.

Combine this group with the non Power Five Conference teams and we have a slam dunk. Forty (40) teams from the Power Five group combined with the sixty five (65) teams from the non-Power Five Conference teams will create an insurmountable voting bloc.  This group would swamp the 40 teams from the Big 12 and Big Ten.

We shall see what happens over the next two months, but I know I want to have football for all 130 teams and I also know I want what is best for OU.  As we move forward, it will be important for us to keep all of this in perspective.  Here’s my perspective about dead of winter football…it  can always be worse.

Winter football can’t possibly be any worse than what Dr. Tamage and I endured back in “97.  By games end, the wind chill had dipped to near zero as the north wind peppered us with sleet pellets.  In that game we also had to endure the coaching of John Blake and a 55-7 loss.  At least this time around, we will have months to prepare for brutal weather and we will have Lincoln Riley on the sidelines…

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

 

Recently, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame.  Her comments upon receiving the award had rival coach Sherri Coale written all over them.  Her interview comments went like this.  “I’m not going to be one of those lifers that sits around daring an athletic director to fire you when I’m not getting the job done”.  She goes on to say “and we have a lot of coaches who are guilty of that, and not just in women’s basketball”.  These comments were obviously directed at Sherri Coale.  She and Sherri have had an intense, sometimes vicious rivalry for years.

I will be the first to agree that Sherri should have moved on sometime ago.  I also believe that she is not the first OU coach or for that matter the first person to commit this crime.  Far too often people with less reason than Sherri overstay their welcome. Most importantly, it is unfortunate that a person like Kim Mulkey may get in the last word in this rivalry.  That may be worst part in all of this.

Finally, a lot of people want Joe C. to fire Sherri or to find another place for her in the athletic department.  As I’ve said many times I am no fan of Joe’s leadership style.  He tends to lead from behind and this is one of those times.  Should he let her go, yes, will he let her go, no.  My hope is that Sherri will receive a vision from God telling her to hang them up.  She deserves better than this and so does OU.

As for Kim Mulkey, what can we expect from a Baylor coach.  This type of behavior is par for the course for this place, a Baptist university at that.  Baylor is the same place where one basketball player murdered a teammate.  It is also the place where the football coach orchestrated the rape and pillaging of coeds by his players as a recruiting tool.  Kim Mulkey is simply a chip off the old block.

Finally, I do believe that what goes around comes around so if I were Kim Mulkey, I’d be watching my backside…

2020 Conference-only scenario…

I know we want to play football this year in the worst way, but the one plan being floated around should never see the light of day.  The conference-only plan would benefit OSU and Texas at the expense of the Sooners.  Surely, this won’t happen, but I don’t trust Joe Castiglione in these matters.

Joe tends to be a politician, a personality trait that we saw back in 2011 as he agreed to send OU to Stillwater two years in a row to satisfy conference officials after conference realignment.  That decision cost the Sooners a 44-10 embarrassing loss to the Ags.   Never trust a politician further than you can throw them.

The conference only schedule for OU, OSU and Texas looks this way to me.

Texas (7-0) with 2 tossups…

OSU (7-0) with 2 tossups…

OU (4-0) with 5 tossups…

 

Texas at (7-0-2) Texas avoids playing LSU in Baton Rouge.  Instead, the Horns will start their season with Kansas State and then catch the Sooners in the Red River Shootout.  Texas will roll into the Cotton Bowl against OU with momentum and with an experienced quarterback at the helm. A win over OU would serve as a springboard to what could become a conference championship and a playoff appearance.

The toss-ups for Texas are OU (Cotton Bowl) and @OSU…

OSU (7-0-2) OSU will benefit from an early conference schedule as well as they play a weak early season schedule of TCU, Iowa State and Kansas. This schedule will create serious momentum for the Ags as they roll into Norman for Bedlam.   A seasoned Spencer Sanders will use his experience to give OU fits.  Keep in mind that this would be only Spencer Rattler’s fourth game of his career.

Win or lose in Bedlam OSU would roll into their season ending game against Texas.  A win would send them to the Big 12 Championship game and possible playoff berth.  Yuck…

The toss-ups for OSU are @OU and Texas…

OU (4-0-5) OU will start the season against a tough Baylor team and then face an experienced Texas bunch in the Red River Shootout.   Yes, I believe that Spencer Ratter is going to be an exceptional quarterback, but why have him start his career this way.  We may sneak out a win over Baylor, but getting a win in Dallas on this day will tougher than normal.

With a Texas size hangover, Lincoln and company will head to the Ames snake pit.  Next, with one, possibly two losses the Sooners will have to play an experienced OSU team in Bedlam.  I do not like the sound of this at all.

After Bedlam, the Sooners will have to go on the road for two tough road games at TCU and West Virginia.   The Sooners will also play Texas Tech Thanksgiving Friday this year.

The toss-ups for OU due to the schedule would be in order…Texas (Cotton Bowl), OSU, @Iowa State, @West Virginia, and @ Texas Tech…

We need to avoid the conference-only scenario for 2020 at all cost.  It would be better to forgo a year of football than to force the Sooners to play this schedule.  While I love those OU fans who believe that we can spit in the face of any challenge because we’re OU, but doing this would be total nonsense.  I’m an OU fan, but I also a pragmatist.  The conference-only season scenario should never see the light of day.

Go to https://fbschedules.com/college-football-team-schedules/ and see if you agree with my prognosis.