It can always be worse…

Here’s a scary thought…twenty five years ago Terry Don Phillips was a rising star as the Athletic Director at OSU.  In a surprising move Terry Don decided in mid-stream to give up one orange gig for another.  He left Stillwater to become the Clemson AD.

I remember thinking at the time…why would anyone leave one state Agricultural School for another?    Why would he also relocate to a football program that would play 2nd fiddle to another big brother?  South Carolina has never been a top feeder, but they were coached by Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier back in the day.  Clemson at the time was a middle of the road ACC Conference team dominated by Florida State.

Looking back now I suspect that Terry Don was provided with an exit plan by T. Boone Pickens.   The OSU Godfather was ready to make his move in Stillwater.   T. Boone hired his golfing buddy Mike Holder to be his A.D., who in turn hired Les Miles and Mike Gundy to run the football program.  Give T. Boone credit, he has done a nice job of putting OSU back on the football map, but nothing like Terry Don has done at Clemson.  Terry Don has since retired, but what he put in place at Clemson has turned the South Carolina Aggie School into a monster.

Gundy has beaten OU twice during his time in Stillwater and continues to recruit 3 star players.  Terry Don’s hire, Dabo Swinney has owned his big brother.  Clemson with its recruiting classes of five star athletes has created separation, from the rest of the ACC, not to mention from South Carolina.

Can you imagine the thought of having to play Clemson Thanksgiving weekend every year.    I don’t want to think about it.

Thank God for small miracles.

Boomer Sooner…

 

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Whoa Nelly…

Unhitch the horses and put the ponies in the barn, Kansas is moving up the recruiting charts.  According to the latest Rivals rankings, KU has moved to #24 in the 2020 national rankings.  Due to the early nature of these rankings that value quantity over quality this ranking should not be overstated, but…

Give Les Miles credit…this is the same Kansas football program that just two years ago was ranked the worst in America.   Also, give Les credit for not trying to reinvent the wheel at Kansas.  Les knows a good thing when he sees it.  He used an effective smash and grab scheme two decades ago in Stillwater to put OSU back on the football map.  Les used his recruiting at OSU to leave Stillwater for a big league job at LSU.  He also left town before his despicable recruiting tactics could be discovered by the NCAA.

When T. Boone hired Les Miles, OSU was coming off its near-death penalty and was desperate for a winner.  Kansas football is in similar straits as the football program has gone almost a decade without a winning season.  Kansas A.D. Jeff Long reached out to Les Miles to replicate his by hook or by crook act in Lawrence.

I have no doubt that he will do just that.  I predict that over the next four years KU will beat arch rival K-State and go to a Bowl.   Once he does this Les Miles will hit the bricks just ahead of NCAA’s investigation of the program.   The guy is smarter than he looks…

 

 

 

More of the same…

I have always been a big fan of college football… this fact has not changed, but unfortunately, today’s game is in a rut.    For several years now, the SEC has controlled college football.  Now Clemson has joined the party on a permanent basis.  ESPN has been greasing the skids for the SEC with Saturday night prime time games and now the Godfather of sports will be doing the same for Clemson and the ACC.

Just like the rest of you, I hate those SEC chants that reverberate around SEC stadiums as much as you do, but we made our bed and must now lay in it.   With Texas and OSU controlling our fate, we decided a few years back to forgo the SEC.  That may end up being the right move, but that decision now has us swimming upstream when it comes to playing prime time games and recruiting difference makers.

Today’s high school players dream of playing on Saturday nights in the SEC.  These days, Alabama and now Clemson treats the recruiting as a selection process.   These teams have the daunting task of deciding which four and five star athletes to turn down.  Big 12 teams must recruit 3-star prospects and turn them into 4-star players.

I firmly believe that Lincoln will improve the talent level dramatically over the next few years, but doing so won’t be easy…we need to win a National Championship to enhance our chances on the recruiting trail.   With Lincoln Riley’s offense and an improving defense we can move into the Alabama/Clemson club.   To make this happen, we need to pick up the pace between now and the December signing date.

Now here’s the tale of the tape…

Here are the latest Rivals100 rankings as the summer’s month long dead period begins.  The list includes five (5) teams from the SEC, three (3) teams from the ACC, one (1) Big Ten team and one (1) independent.

  1. Clemson/ACC
  2. LSU/SEC
  3. Alabama/SEC
  4. Miami/ACC
  5. Georgia/SEC
  6. Florida/SEC
  7. Notre Dame/Independent
  8. Ohio State/Big Ten
  9. North Carolina/ACC
  10. Texas A&M/SEC

 

Big 12 teams…

  • 16. OU
  • 21. Kansas
  • 29. K-State
  • 36. OSU
  • 37. Texas
  • 42. TCU
  • 50. Texas Tech
  • 52. Iowa State
  • 52. West Virginia
  • 63. Baylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coaching…

Coaching is a tough business… Patty Gasso had a tough call to make prior to game two of the Women’s College World Series.  Does she go with a tired Giselle or does she go with her backup pitcher Mariah Lopez.  Regardless of her decision, she is going to be wrong if OU does not pull out the win.

Years ago I had that same choice to make as my American Legion team played for a state championship.  Go with a really inexperienced backup pitcher or go with my tired ace.    The choice appeared to be simple…go with the backup pitcher, after all as a coach I had everything to gain and nothing to lose.  If it worked, I would also look like a genius…I would also make one parent very happy.

Then again, in my heart of hearts I knew that sending the backup pitcher to face the Bronx Bombers would be like sending a lamb to the slaughter.  At least my ace could provide some cover and keep the game close.  In both cases the good guys lost, but we kept it close and gave our teams a chance to win.   We also avoided a young player being scarred for life.

I can only imagine what went through Patty’s mind after the first two UCLA batters went yard on Giselle.  To her credit, she never flinched.  She knew she had to do what she had to do.  Speaking of scar tissue, OU fans could not have handled another thrashing in game two.  We all hate to lose, but a month from now, that 5-4 setback will look light years better than a 2nd 16-3 bloodletting.

This OU team will be back sooner rather than later…

Boomer Sooner…

 

Giving thanks…

As I was watching/analyzing the final game of the Women’s College World Series game I realized that I was turning into my dad.  You’ve seen the commercials so you know what I mean.  That’s right I had become obsessed with missed opportunities as OU failed to move runners with no outs and for pitching to good hitters with first base open.  Then it hit me…let it go…I should be happy to have experienced such a team as this year’s Sooner women’s softball team.  Over the past four years, this group of players has shown us what college sports should look like.

Let’s face it…OU lost to a really good UCLA team Tuesday night.  The Bruins were also incredibly well coached with an experienced head coach at the helm who had been there many times and a pitching coach who really knows her stuff.  The Bruins were also well rested, a fact that cannot be overstated.  In spite of all of this, the Sooner women came within a hair of forcing game three.

Finally, let’s give Joe C. his due on this one…two years ago; he locked Patty Gasso into staying in Norman through 2024 as he negotiated a $200,000 per year stay clause for her.   Hopefully, the next, great donor will step forward to provide seed money for the new softball stadium which will serve to enhance Patty’s recruiting ability which has already become legendary.

I know we are going to miss the best group of seniors in the history of this sport, but the Sooners return a solid nucleus of position players along with pitcher Giselle Juarez.  If we can get “G” some help in the circle, a return trip to the World Series next year is not out of the question.

In the meantime, I am going to try my best to enjoy the moment.  Of course doing so will be made that much easier knowing that Patty is not going anywhere.

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

Eraser…

Don’t you hate it when the cameras scan the crowd leaving the stadium when the Sooners get down.  Heck, for all these guys knew those fans were taking a bathroom break.  Then again at 10-1 even the most embolden fan had to know that the night was lost.

Actually, the night was lost when OU could not for the 2nd game in a row; make a play on a bunted ball back to the pitcher.   Of course, as a former 2nd baseman who had to cover first base on those plays back in the day, I can tell you the play is a lot harder than it looks. Three errors later and the Sooners were done for the night.  At that point, you are simply hoping to lull the Bruins into a false sense of security for game two…which we did.

These Sooner women are still plenty good, so don’t give up on the girls just yet.   Patty Gasso is as good as it gets, so expect her to get out the giant eraser for this game.   I liked her move early on as she chose to live to play another day by pulling “G” in the 5th.

I also want to give the UCLA coach credit for her scouting ability as she hit OU in our soft spot with bunts back to the pitcher.   Possibly, OU can work on that play for tomorrow night.

One last thing…playing two games against Alabama on Sunday was a killer.  These girls were leg weary…Giving the OU women a good night’s sleep back home in Norman will make a world of difference in tomorrow’s game.  Like I said, don’t give up on the OU women just yet.

Boomer Sooner…

Bishop McGuinness…

OU’s first bowl game was in 1939; Notre Dame did not get into the bowl business until in 1970.  Notre Dame resisted playing an extra game in those days citing the school’s emphasis for academics.  In 1949, Oklahoma’s Bishop McGuinness petitioned Notre Dame to consider making an exception to that rule and playing Oklahoma in a post season game.

John Cavanaugh, the Notre Dame President at that time turned down the Bishop’s request for a post season game with the Sooners, but it appears that this was not the end of the discussion.  Archived documents suggest that in order to placate Bishop McGuinness, President Cavanaugh suggested that OU and Notre Dame contemplate a home and home for future years.   In all likelihood that inquiry led to future OU/Notre Dame games in ’52, ’53, ’56 and of course ’57.

OU lost to the Irish in ’52 and ’53, but responded with a win in ’56.  Then OU suffered its most notable  loss of all time in 1957.   Now, I love competition as much as the next fan, but this is one series I could have done without.   Notre Dame became OU’s most hated opponent, not only due to the ’57 loss that snapped the “streak”, but also for the 1-9 rivalry record against the Irish prior to a Sooner win in 2013.

Putting this fact into perspective the Sooners only losses between October 1951 to November 1957 were to Notre Dame.   That would be 64 games during this stretch with losses only to the Irish.  Now we know why OU old timers hate Notre Dame Football so much.  Now for page two.

Notre Dame owes us a game and OU has an opening in 2023, the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium.  OU officials are allegedly looking to play a big name opponent that year.  That would be a good time for the Sooners to extend the current winning streak over Notre Dame.  Lincoln’s offense will chew up the Irish and spit them out.  This game would give me two games on my bucket list… the 2020 game at West Point and the 2023 Notre Dame game.

I guess I’ll have to stick around a while longer and see how this turns out.

Boomer Sooner…