Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oklahoma vs Notre Dame game

I hear they’re organizing a football game tonight here in little ole Norman, Oklahoma.  #5 Notre Dame is coming to town to play the #8 ranked Sooners.  Notre Dame owns an 8-1 record against us.  They were responsible for ending our 47 game winning streak.  OU only lost 3 times between 1953 and 1957 and all three losses were at the hands of the Irish.

Games like this are why I get excited for college football.  We don’t normally have a lot of ranked non-conference games here.  In the past we have scheduled some nice non-conference games, but only a few times have the teams been competitive on the years that they’ve visited our stadium.  We’ve played host to Miami, Florida State, Alabama, UCLA and Oregon. Only FSU, Alabama and Oregon were ranked. 

ESPN is set up outside Memorial Stadium and is bringing the whole world with them.  You’ll notice that I don’t refer to our stadium as Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium. “Gaylord Stadium” sounds like an insult that you hear on the playground in 5th grade. “Hey nice going Gaylords, you lost to an unranked Texas Tech team at home!”  Also, I don’t like how the University decided to change the name without consulting or notifying the fan base or alumni.  I guess if you donate enough money (and own the local newspaper) you can do whatever you want.  Too bad they forgot the original reason it was named Memorial Stadium in the first place which is to honor the World War I heroes.  Bob Stoops has a 79-4  home record so you think we could rename it something more appropriate like Warlord Stadium.

I really don’t think that having the World Wide Leader in town really does anything for the game except make traffic a little more congested. Games like this don’t need any more hype.  College football fans will probably tune in to this game regardless if they are fans of the two teams or not.  Whoever wins this game has a good shot of appearing in the national title game; or at least staying in the national title conversation. 
I was going to do a statistical breakdown of the two teams, but I realized that for the most part stats are meaningless.  I looked at the Longhorn and Sooner stats prior to the Red River Shootout and looked as if both teams were evenly matched.  Maybe with the numbers people we were even, but in reality we beat them 63-21 and it wasn’t really that close. Texas scored 12 points in the last 5 minutes of the game.  The stat people almost fooled me into thinking that the two teams were evenly matched. I won’t make that same mistake twice.

Another thing that bothers me about stats is that they have too many teams tied in those spots.  Too many teams are tied at 17 for example so if you can just average a few more yards or restrict your opponent by a few less yards you could move several spots.
People who are familiar with Notre Dame say that they are good on defense and bland on offense with an indifferent special teams unit.  I’d like to think that OU is pretty good offensively and defensively and we have a really nice returner in Penn State transfer Justin Brown.  Brown has also been a pretty nice target for Landry Jones these past few weeks.  They seem to really have their timing worked out. 

According to MY stats OU’s defense looks to be giving up about 10 points per game.  Notre Dame is doing pretty badly offensively. I haven’t looked into too much, but as a team they are scoring 26 points per game.  Most of those points were scored on Miami and Navy, but OU scored most of our points on Kansas and Texas so I shouldn’t gloat too much.  Speaking of Texas how is it that the biggest athletic department in the nation has fallen so far?  They have good coaches and good players.  I don’t get why they suck so much.  63-21.  Wow. I know it has nothing to do with this game, but I’m still in awe of how well we played against them. Sorry. I sometimes get sidetracked and like to reminisce about how much I dislike the Longhorns.

I hope we can play that well tonight on Owen Field in Memorial Stadium.  The turnover margin will be key. ND has a great D-line and a somewhat inexperience secondary.  OU looks pretty good in the secondary, but sometimes doesn’t get enough pressure on the QB.  Tonight should be different though. ND quarterback Golston has his issues at QB. I don’t think he’s quite there yet, so hopefully we will be able to get to him early and get his timing off.
I’m not going to give out a prediction as I’m usually about 50% on my predictions. Don’t want to embarrass myself, I’m just going to enjoy the day.  And the media circus.  Hopefully I’ll enjoy the outcome.
Look for me in the stands.  Actually don’t try to look for me, just watch the game. The cameras never pan up that high anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


For the first home game this season OU celebrated one of it's favorite players on the ticket stub.  This is the second year that people have voted on their favorite players and the 6 chosen appear on the home game ticket stubs.  I never really think about these things much. I think it's a good idea, but I never really go to the OU website to vote.  It would be hard for me to find just a few players to nominate, much less vote on. They're all special in their own way. No matter the team or sport I'm sure most people have their favorites that never won a lot of post season awards or were recognized for what they did for the team.

Rocky was recruited out of Jenks high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1997. He played one season for John Blake's last team that went 5-6.  They played 3 ranked teams all season 15th ranked Colorado. (I believe this one was broadcast on ESPN in the days before 24/7 football coverage. Why, I have no idea.) 20th ranked Missouri and 7th ranked Texas A&M.  I don't remember the exact quote, but Rocky mentioned the crying in the locker room and the depression of being blanked by A&M 0-29 and the humiliation of giving up 41 points to OSU in a loss. Players like Rocky and Roy Williams confessed that they had a fleeting urge to transfer, but decided to stay with what they had started. 

At this point in his career nobody thought he or the team would do much.  Things looked bleak. The program was being surpassed by Nebraska, Kansas State, Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M. Heck, even OSU and Kansas was having more success in those days than OU.Colorado and Nebraska had both won National Championships recently and most of the teams in the new Big XII looked pretty tough.

Things started to pick up in 1999.  The team would finish with a 7-5 record in Bob Stoops first season.  The defense was stout against  13th ranked Texas A&M allowing 6 points in a lop-sided 51-6 win.  OU would hover around the bottom of the AP 25 that year and would lose in the Independence bowl to Mississippi State.  Most of the losses were because of the defense giving up leads in the fourth quarter. That could be a partly because of an offense that couldn't run out the clock and specials teams; not just the defensive deficiencies.  Still some work to go if you're the leader on defense. Nobody on defense wants to lose the game in the fourth quarter and defensive mistakes.

2000 would see the Sooners return to national prominence with an Orange Bowl win over Florida State. OU had the benefit of starting out the season ranked 20th and having three teams ranked above them: Texas, Kansas State and Nebraska were all conference foes that had enjoyed recent successes against OU and possibly took the Sooners too lightly. Beating those three ranked teams helped a lot in the rankings and gave the team immediate and concrete goals to look forward to each week.  In previous seasons the higher ranked opponent might intimidate the team, but not this particular group of guys. They were hungry to show what they could do and looked forward to the opportunity to see how they matched up to the competition.

Here's an bligatory Youtube clip.  This is of Rocky forcing a fumble and the subsequent score in the National Championship game.

Rocky would force the fumble that would lead to a touchdown by Quentin Griffin that effectively sealed the win for OU.  The offense hadn't done much in the red zone that night, but having the ball on the 15 yard line helped a lot.

This is the best screen shot I could find of the forced fumble.

Rocky finished his career as a National Champion, Big XII Conference champion, Butkus award finalist (2000) winner(2001) and a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik awards and a 3 time first team All-Big XII selection.  He did all this with a fractured bone in his leg and a broken thumb.

Guys like Rocky are the backbone of any team. The tough, smart guy who keeps his head up and keeps at it.  Unfortunately it doesn't always work out for a guy, but hopefully better things are in the horizon for some of these players. Rocky was drafted in the third round by the Tennessee Titans and finished his career in Indianapolis.

This particular card was sent over to me by Brian the Play at the Plate Dude. We've traded many times and this was a really nice card he sent over.  He sent over a lot more than this. Hopefully I'll get around to posting up those cards soon, but for now I wanted to give a special post to this card.

I still can't believe that somebody would see a card that they knew I would like and picked it up for me. I'm not so sure I would have done the same thing.

I don't know how the perseverance theme applies to me to personally as a card blogger, but in life I guess we all should be positive and keep at it.

Thanks for the cards, Brian.