Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Wishes for Bob Stoops

After pre-season declarations of "It's time" regarding winning an 8th national championship, a signature win in Tallahassee and a vicious smackdown in the Cotton Bowl, a season of so much promise evaporated quickly.

Numerous key injuries, attitude issues with young players overimpressed with their own talent and some questionable coaching decisions aside, there is much promise in the Sooner Nation for 2012.

However, here are 5 Holiday Wishes for Coach Bob Stoops to avoid another off-season of Hell:

#1--Please Landry Jones: Go Pro!

After three seasons, we've seen enough. Give him a pass on his freshman season taking over for an injured Sam Bradford in game one of the season. Throw him a bone for meltdowns on special teams in losses to Missouri and Texas A & M last season.

But how in the heck do you give him a pass after a dismal display in Stillwater that cost the Sooners any chance of victory?

Yes, he is the school's leading passer in yards and touchdown passes. Yes, he can break Steve Davis' school wins record next season. Yes, he has an NFL arm and potential. Yes, he is a good kid off the field.

But, is he ever going to be better than 8-5, 11-2 or 9-3?

No. I've seen enough. Good luck in the pro's.


At 6'6" and 265 lbs., Blake Bell represents an opportunity for the future for Bob Stoops by returning to his Youngstown, Ohio roots: blue-collar, hard-nosed, punch-you-in-the-mouth, control the ball football.

And it starts up front with the sophomore quarterback.

Yes, we have mastered the no-huddle offensive package that has been copied across the country. Yes, we have a slew of blue-chip wide receiver recruits arriving in Norman next year to become the next Ryan Broyles.

But if the Sooners have any hope of winning an 8th National Championship in 2012, it will be on the ground and led by the "BellDozer!"

#3--Brent Venables: 5 is > 3!

As good as Brent Venables has been on defense the past 13 years in Norman, he's also been plain awful at times.

Players make plays but coaches make the schemes to put them in position to make plays.

His 3-man front got us killed by a very poor Texas Tech team who seized the opportunity and looked like Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

It also gave us no-chance to beat the best offensive team we faced all year in OSU who incredibly beat the Sooners on the ground racking up over 250 yards pounding the ball down our throats.

Why? Pressure. Injuries ravaged our defense in key spots all season, but unless the Sooners put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and figure out a way to stop the run with more than three down-lineman, you can expect similar results in 2012.

#4--Tony Jefferson Is Really Good: At Safety!

Tony complained via Twitter that the Big 12 coaches overlooked him in the All-Big 12 Team selections at the end of the season.

I guess the coaches watched the entire season not just up to the Ball State game.

Jefferson nicked his knee early in the season and clearly was not the same player.

However, the experiment Bob Stoops wanted to try in pre-season practice by moving his best defensive back to Free Safety and was immediately halted when linebacker Travis Lewis broke his toe the first week of practice, was validated by his play in Bedlam.

Stoops moved Jefferson to Free Safety against OSU and guess what happened? That high-powered OSU offense of Weeden2Blackman was held to zero touchdowns. In fact, Brandon Weeden didn't throw a touchdown pass the entire game.

The reason? Shutdown defense by Tony Jefferson deep that took away any chance for OSU going long in the passing game.

Here's hoping Jefferson begins the spring at Free Safety. I bet the Big 12 coaches won't overlook him for Big 12 honors next season.

#5--Where's Big Game Bob? Please Find Him And Deliver To Norman!

Bob Stoops made his mark in Norman and on college football by aggressive and brash decisions on both sides of the ball and physicality in the trenches.

Maybe it's the $5 million a year salary, the Mansion on I-35, and the security that comes by winning a national championship in your second season.

But whatever the reason, Big Game Bob has gone soft.

Soft on the sidelines. Soft on his players. Just plain soft.

How else do you explain his bizarre comments after three key losses:

Texas Tech 41-38 Loss That Ended 39-Game Home Win Streak:

"It will happen again unless we play better."

Baylor 45-38 Loss Which Gave Baylor 1st Win Ever Against OU:

"They have players too!"

OSU 44-10 Loss Which Gave OSU 1st Big 12 Title and BCS Bowl Game:

"I noticed that too during the first half. (OU ran 8 running plays vs. 38 passing plays in the first half.) I brought it up to our coaches at half time."

Dear Coach: Get mad. Show some anger. Scream at your players. Scream at your coaches. Do anything but tell us what we already know.

You are the head coach. Coach them up. Get them fired up. Tell your offensive coordinator to run the ball DURING the game not point it out at halftime.

Big Game Bob lost his edge this season at key times during the year. He needs to find his off-season mojo and come back firing in 2012 to regain his edge and show the Sooner Nation he still has the competitive fire that gave him the opportunity to be where he is today.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Signature Win in Signature Series Signals Greatness

How dominating was Oklahoma's victory yesterday against Texas?

The Red River Rivalry clash in the Cotton Bowl was the 106th meeting between the two border schools. Only Oklahoma has scored 50 points or more in a single game in this series.

The Sooners have done it five times.

Three of those five times have happened in the Bob Stoops era since 1999.

The 106th meeting score of 55-17 represents the 6th highest margin of victory in the series. Third most points ever scored against Texas by Oklahoma. The other two? Yep, Bob Stoops-coached teams in 2003, 65-13 and 2000, 63-14.

Do you recognize a trend? Any time a single coach does what no other coach in the history of the winningest program in college football has done in 106 tries, not Wilkinson or Switzer, you begin to realize you are witnessing greatness.

The Sooners broke or tied six school defensive records yesterday. Not even during the hallowed days of Tubbs, Selmon, Casillas, Harris or McCoy has Oklahoma accomplished that feat.

1. 3 defensive touchdowns in one game.
2. 113 yards lost on 17 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
3. Most sack loss of yards 84.
4. 2 fumble returns for touchdowns.
5. 8 sacks.
6. 17 total tackles for loss.

Bob Stoops'-coached teams have now scored 42 touchdowns on defense in his 13 year career.

"It's special to me," said Coach Stoops. "There's nothing more special for me than a defensive touchdown."

It's not by freak happenstance, luck or as the Texas media apologists would have you believe (due to an inexperienced Texas team) that these records were broken yesterday or defensive touchdowns scored. There are many reasons. Coaching. Talent. Speed. Focus. Purpose. Leadership.

However, here are three keys I noticed during yesterday's game that signified the true greatness we were witnessing:

Defensive End Pressure

I always like to watch Coach Bob Stoops during the game. He is the ultimate field general. Always in the middle of the action. Listening intently on his headset to his coordinators call the game on both sides of the ball.

Coach Stoops does the same thing before every play on the sidelines. He situates himself about 10-yards behind the play and with hands on knees intently watches the line of scrimmage.

Regardless of the schemes, multiple formation spread offenses and film study, that's where it all starts.

So like Coach Stoops, I watch the line of scrimmage. And yesterday I saw something I have never seen this year in Bob Stoops-coached defenses: a 4-man defensive end front. The Dallas Morning News verified this feat today.

Oh sure, Oklahoma's signature defense over the years has been a four-man front. But never before this year has Bob Stoops or Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables unleashed a four-man front consisting of soley defensive ends.

So why unveil this surprise defensive-alignment in the biggest rivalry game the Sooners have on their schedule? Surprise. Keeping Texas guessing which guys were coming. Pressure on the freshman and sophomore quarterbacks making their first OU/Texas game starts. Size. Speed. Athleticism:

Senior Frank Alexander is 6'4", 255 pounds.
Junior Ronnell Lewis--6'2", 244 pounds.
Junior David King--6'5", 273 pounds.
Junior R.J. Washington--6'4", 248 pounds.

The pressure created by these four defensive ends resulted in two fumbles recovered and three more fumbles forced.

And yes Texas fans, that was 6'5", 273 pound defensive end David King scooping up the fumble and rumbling 19 yards untouched for one of three Sooner touchdowns.

Gap Integrity

If you watch any football during the weekend, you'll hear more than one former football playing analyst talk about "gap integrity."

It sounds heavy but what it really means is being disciplined and staying in your lane or area during a play. Not being fooled by misdirection and play-action.

With former Boise State offensive coordinator and trick-master Bryan Harsin calling the plays for the Longhorns yesterday, never before was gap integrity more important.

And never was gap integrity more noticed than when Harsin called a reverse in the middle of the field with Longhorn Wide Receiver Miles Onyegbule. Only needing a block from quarterback David Ash, Harsin's trick play was destroyed when Sooner safety Aaron Colvin recognized the play and streaked into the backfield disrupting Onyegbule's attempt to get around him with a crushing leg tackle.

Gap integrity. The Sooners had it all day Saturday and this was just the most glaring example.


If you watched ESPN's preseason coverage of the Sooners you know that the Oklahoma defensive backs are a cocky bunch. They have named themselves the "Sharks."

Their ball-hawking ability is unsurpassed in college football. A talented, fast and physical bunch that takes their lead from their former defensive back head coach Bob Stoops.

So, it's not surprising that the Sooner defensive backs successfully defensed six passes, forced one fumble and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown and took one of two interceptions 55 yards for another touchdown.

Cornerbacks Demontre Hurst and Jamell Fleming took it to the house for two of the three Sooner defensive scores.

A record-setting, three defensive touchdowns by an aggressive defense that outscored the Longhorns 18-17.

One play signified the Oklahoma dominance yesterday. Late in the game Texas finally moved the ball into the Sooner red zone. However, here is the next three play sequence:

First Down--David Ash fumbles the snap and loses four yards.
Second Down--Tony Jefferson blitzes and sacks Ash for a loss of 15 yards.
Third Down--Ronnell Lewis sacks Ash for a 20-yard loss.
Fourth Down--Longhorns faced a fourth and 49 and punted.

"We went old school playing more 4-3," said Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables.

"They smelled blood and went after them," said Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops.

Game balls to Defensive End Coach Bobby Jack Wright and Defensive Backs Coach Willie Martinez.

Oh and the offense was pretty good yesterday, too. Junior Landry Jones added his name to the early season Heisman talk by tossing 31 completions in 50 attempts for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. All in slightly more than three quarters of play. Ryan Broyles scored a touchdown and his 9 receptions pulled him to within four receptions of the all-time NCAA record. And, sophomore sensation Kenny Stills pulled in two touchdowns on five receptions. Another Stills touchdown was called back for a suspect offensive interference call.


Oklahoma football teams have had six undefeated seasons since the modern era began with the end of World War II in 1945.

The Sooners have won five of their seven national championships in those undefeated seasons.

It's no accident that the Oklahoma undefeated teams featured a stout defense.

Bob Stoops said yesterday that his best Sooner defenses have gotten better as the season progresses.

For those Texas media apologists at Longhorn Network partner ESPN who were quickly spinning the Longhorn debacle in the Cotton Bowl yesterday as one caused by the 19 Texas freshman and sophomores on their 2-deep and 56 freshman or sophomores on their roster, I have some words of fact that will not sit well in the Burnt Orange Nation.

Oklahoma had 18 freshmen or sophomores on their 2-deep yesterday and there were 69 freshmen or sophomores on the Sooner roster.

For those media pundits in the AP poll who ranked OU #3 behind Alabama and LSU, you'll have no choice but to vote Oklahoma #1 if as in typical fashion, Bob Stoops' best defense in 13 years continues to get better the rest of the season.

And then there was Kansas.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Columbus Day--September 24, 1977

Columbus Day. The universal holiday that celebrates the arrival of Italian-explorer Christopher Columbus and his historic discovery of the Americas.

However, for Oklahoma fans, Columbus Day has a completely different meaning. It's the day legendary Ohio State Head Football Coach Woody Hayes discovered the Sooners!

The Stage is Set

September 24, 1977. Ohio Memorial Stadium. The Horseshoe. Legendary Coach Woody Hayes. Twenty-seven years as head coach of The Ohio State Buckeyes. Tradition. Linebacker-U. Seven-time Big 10 Champions and 5-time co-champions. Three National Championships in 1954, 57' and 1968. Four of last 5 Rose Bowls. Top 10 finishes 8-straight years. Three yards and a cloud of dust. Blue-bloods of the college football world. The Establishment.

Enter a bunch of renegades from "upstart*" Oklahoma. Led by a young, brash, chain-smoking, outlaw-head coach named Barry Switzer. "Bootleggers' Boy." Unconventional Wishbone offense. Irreverent bandana-wearing quarterback. Mushroom-Afro-hair-wearing running back from Hooks, Texas. Back-to-back National Champions in 1974-75. Undisciplined. Probation-infected. Non-traditional offense. The Anti-Establishment.

*Oklahoma had won back-to-back National Championships in 1974 and 1975 for the school's 4th and 5th titles but Switzer was still a relatively new head coach (5th year compared to Woody Hayes 27th season) and compared to the already legendary Woody Hayes, these 1977 Sooners were relatively a young bunch and thus the "upstart" label.

Those are the adjectives that could have been used to describe both programs prior to this game. The establishment versus the new world order. Vintage college football match-up. ABC television game of the week. Two years before the birth of ESPN. Old-school Keith Jackson called the game with former Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian.

Oklahoma would bring its' high-powered Wishbone offense into Columbus for the first meeting ever between two historic football powers: Ohio State and Oklahoma. The Sooners came of age in the 1950's under legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson. Three National Championships in 1950, 55' & 56'. Ohio State came of age in the 1950's as well under legendary head coach Woody Hayes. Bookend National Championships around the Sooners titles in 1954, 57' and another one in 1968.

Woody the old-school, task-masker versus Barry the new world order swashbuckler. Ohio State was ranked #4 in the country. Oklahoma was ranked #3. Ohio State was playing a rare non-conference Big 10 game against a Big 8 team in September. The largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history: 88,000. As heavyweight of a match-up as could be found in college football in 1977.

Ali vs. Frazier

Oklahoma came out fast and scored early to take a 20-0 lead early into the second quarter. Elvis Peacock and Billy Sims both scored highlight reel touchdowns. ABC switched the regionally-televised game to other regional coverage. However, the Ohio State defense responded and stuffed the Sooners and the Buckeyes offense, aided by a slew of Sooner fumbles, scored 28 points to take a 28-20 lead with minutes remaining. After Oklahoma missed a two-point conversion to tie the game with 1:29 remaining, the Sooners recovered the ensuing onside kick. And, after moving the ball to the Ohio State 24 yard line the Sooners set-up a 41-yard game-winning field goal attempt with :06-seconds remaining. The kicker was a German soccer player from Fort Worth, Texas named Uwe Von Schamman.

The "Kick"

Woody Hayes tried to ice the young, inexperienced kicker and his freshman snapper named Mark Lucky by calling timeout. Von Schamman responded by taking his helmet off and leading the Ohio State crowd in their chant of "block that kick."

In what is simply known now as "The Kick," Von Schamman calmly kicked the ball straight-through the uprights and the Sooners upset the Buckeyes 29-28. Instant ESPN "Classic" today.

A frustrated Woody Hayes is shown on national television punching an Oklahoma assistant after the game. An ominous precursor to his infamous punch of a Clemson player a year later in the Gator Bowl that led to his early forced-retirement.

Historic Aftermath

The Sooners would finish 10-1, have a shot at a 6th National Championship after their sixth-consecutive Big 8 Championship and wound up back in the Orange Bowl. A shocking loss to Arkansas 31-6 resulted in a 10-2 record. Ohio State would finish 9-2and another Big 10 co-championship tying with Michigan. The Buckeyes would lose in the Sugar Bowl to Alabama 35-6 and finish 9-3.

Although, Oklahoma and Ohio State would play again in Norman in 1983, with the Buckeyes winning 24-14, both teams would not find National Championship success again until years later: OU in 1985 and 2000. Ohio State in 2002.

However, for fans across the country, especially Sooner fans, these two will be remembered for their historic first-ever meeting as Columbus Day: The day Woody Hayes discovered the Sooners!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Bob We Trust

A few days prior to the 2000 BCS National Championship game in Miami between Oklahoma and Florida State, I was driving home from work one night listening to local Dallas/Fort Worth sportstalk host Chuck Cooperstein on WBAP-820 AM.

Chuck was going through his analysis of the upcoming game and asked himself a question with a one word answer he confidently predicted: "One reason why Florida State wins this game? talent!"

Cooperstein went on to tell his listeners how much talent Bobby Bowden had assembled in Tallahassee and how the Seminoles were bigger, faster and stronger than the team that second year coach Bob Stoops had assembled in Norman.

I laughed then and even more now 11 years later because as Oklahoma proved that night, Chuck, Bobby and the Seminoles were in for a rude awakening in the Orange Bowl. The Sooners beat Florida State 13-2.

As that night proved, as so many more games have proved, Oklahoma has a secret weapon in their head coach that Sooner opponents should never overlook: Bob Stoops.

"Big Game Bob"

Everyone is familiar with the Big Game Bob moniker that the 2000 national championship game in Miami earned Bob Stoops that night.

His underdog Sooners would put on the most dominating defensive performance in national championship game history by absolutely stuffing the high-powered, defending BCS National Champions Florida State offense.

Led by Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, who led the nation in passing with 4,167 yards, playing in their third straight BCS National Championship game and featuring 9players who would go on to be drafted in the 2001 NFL draft, the Seminoles were shut out by the no-name Sooners. The only points Florida State scored that night were on an intentional safety by Oklahoma late in the game to preserve poor field position.

The Big Game Bob reputation was further cemented in years to come with dramatic if not impressive wins over Alabama, Nebraska, Texas A & M and five straight against top rival Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Many of the games involved play calling gambles by Stoops that paid off. Such as the fake punt against Alabama and fourth down conversions deep in your own territory late in games against Texas A & M to run out the clock. Then there were the 63-14 and 65-13 routs of Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns in 2000 and 2003 and a 12-0 shutout against Texas' Vince Young in 2004. Back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 2003 and 2004 cemented the reputation of the young Sooner head coach.

But then reality and law of averages set in. Back-to-back losses in the BCS National Championship games in 2003 against LSU and 2004 against USC caused a stir that Big Game Bob had lost his touch. Then throw in a disastrous 2005 opening loss to TCU at home and three more losses and a 7-4 regular season. A Holiday Bowl win over Oregon did little to satisfy the critics. Then, Oklahoma would lose a one point game in Eugene, Oregon in a rematch with the Ducks. Oklahoma actually recovered the expected onside kick that incredibly the Pac 10 official gave to Oregon. The Ducks would score and beat OU.

The Sooners recovered and ran off 8 straight games with a converted wide receiver at quarterback and went on to the BCS Fiesta Bowl. However, against little-known Boise State and two of the best-executed trick plays ever, the Sooners would lose a heartbreaker in overtime, 43-42. Follow that loss with another 10-2 season, a second consecutive Big 12 Championship and another Fiesta Bowl game against lightly-regarded Big East Champion West Virginia. With aspiring freshman phenom Sam Bradford at quarterback, the Sooners were routed 48-28 by a more committed, inspired and faster Mountaineer team. Then the Sooners go 12-1, a third consecutive Big 12 Championship and a third shot in six years in another BCS National Championship. After leading briefly, the Sooners would lose to Tim Tebow and Florida 24-14. Hardly anything to be ashamed of in the Sooner Nation.

So after 6 of 9 Big 12 Championships, one National Championship in four BCS National Championship games in 9 years, 7 BCS bowl games, an overall record of 109-24 including a 52-2 home record, Big Game Bob had lost his winning ways? Are you kidding me? Most schools would be absolutely giddy over a head football coach with such a resume. However, for some reason, the national media put the label of "can't win the big one" on Big Game Bob and it stuck.

Fast Forward to 2011

This week Oklahoma travels to Tallahassee to face the #5 ranked Florida State Seminoles. The same Florida State the Sooners steamrolled last year in Norman 47-17. A game that wasn't as close as the final score.

One of the most anticipated matchups of the young 2011 season will be the featured ESPN GameDay game of the weekend and a nationally-televised audience.

The Sooners are coming of a 12-2 season that saw a 7th Big 12 Championship, a brief spot atop the BCS rankings and an end to the BCS Bowl Game schneid with a convincing 48-20 victory over Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl.

Big Game Bob Is Back

So now with a 129-31 record, including a 73-2 home record, 7 of 11 Big 12 Championships, a convincing opening night victory and a #1 ranking, the Sooners head into Doak Campbell Stadium full of confidence, some might say arrogance, and sights squarely set on an 8th National Championship.

Here are 5 reasons why Big Game Bob will have the Sooner Nation smiling on Saturday night:

Reason #1--Bob Stoops

The main reason the Sooners will win Saturday night is Bob Stoops.

No other coach in college football has as an impressive resume preparing his team for success in big games. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer might have two national championships but they don't win more big games consistently than Bob Stoops.

Stoops has consistently prepared the Sooners for big game success. Seven of 10 Big 12Championship games. Seven of 12 victories over Texas. Six bowl victories including 4 BCS bowl games.

You only have to look at last season to see Big Game Bob is truly alive and well. Facing an explosive Oklahoma State offense in Stillwater, the Sooners outscored OSU 47-41. Although not a defensive gem by any means, listen to what West Virginia Head Coach and former OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgersen said in August in the Charleston Gazette-Mail as reported in the Tulsa World about Bob Stoops:

"Last year when we played Oklahoma, you talk about a shock. I've known Brent Venables and Bob Stoops for 11 years and played against them for nine. They've been a traditional four-down front team for 10 years. And I watched some tape and said, 'Yeah, that's the same stuff they've been doing for a long time. They're four down. They're a zone blitz team. Every now and then they'll bring a safety down or bring everybody down and play man. They came out against us in a three-down front for the first time in their entire career at Oklahoma. That's when you have to adjust. It took us about a quarter to adjust."

OSU had the ball four times in the first quarter against Oklahoma. They scored 3 points. OU took a 7-3 lead and never trailed before winning.

The Sooners would go on to beat Nebraska 23-20 in the Big 12 Championship game after spotting Nebraska a 17-0 lead.

Yes, Big Game Bob lives and he'll have the Sooners prepared for Saturday night's showdown.

Reason #2--Two Week Advantage Bob

Oklahoma has had two weeks to prepare for a regular season game 15 times in Bob Stoops career since 2000. It is no coincidence that the Sooners are 13-2 during that timeframe and 13-0 at home.

Included in that time span are games against top 25 ranked teams six times. Oklahoma is 5-1 in those games including a 31-14 win against #1 ranked Nebraska in 2000 that positioned the Sooners to win the program's 7th national title.

The Sooners have outscored those teams 529 to 267 for an average score of 35 to 17.

Give Bob Stoops a week to prepare and the Sooners are hard to beat. Give him two weeks and the Sooners are virtually unbeatable.

Reason #3--Landry Jones & Ryan Broyles

The Sooners are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles on offense.

No other pass catching combination in college football has had more success statistically.

Jones and Broyles picked right up where they left off in 2010 against Tulsa in the season opener two weeks ago. Jones was 35 of 47 for 375 yards and one touchdown. Broyles had 14 catches for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Expect more of the same Saturday night.

Reason #4--Defense

The Oklahoma defense lived up to the pre-season hype delivering an impressive 47-14 win over Tulsa opening night on September 3.

Tulsa won 10 games in 2010, had road victories over Notre Dame in South Bend and Hawaii in a bowl game and led the nation in offense 2 of the past 4 seasons including a top #5 ranking last year. Quarterback G.J. Kinne is a big 6'2", 234 pound dual run/pass threat who threw for over 3,600 yards and also led the school in rushing in 2010.

Kinne was rendered one dimensional and completed 18-33 passes for 271 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Sounds familiar? Florida State is very similar to Tulsa offensively and has a dual-threat quarterback E.J. Manuel who is 6'5" and 245 pounds.

Brent Venables hopes to use his talented, fast and aggressive defense to bottle up E.J. Manuel and make him one-dimensional just like they did to Christian Ponder the first round, #12 NFL draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder was 11 of 28 for 113 yards with 2 interceptions before being replaced by Manuel. He completed less than half of his passes for the first time since 2008.

Manuel didn't fare much better. He was constantly harrassed, sacked and confused by the Oklahoma defense taking over for Ponder in the third quarter after back-to-back interceptions. He completed 4 of 8 passes for 109 yards.

Although Manuel did throw a 47-yard touchdown on the games last play, the OU regulars were already resting on the sideline.

Oklahoma has the athletes, coaches and aggressive style to pitch a repeat performance Saturday night.

Reason #5--Special Teams

Tress Way is one of the best punters in the nation. He consistently pins opposing teams deep in their own territory with his thunderous punts.

Jimmy Stevens is a very accurate field goal kicker within 40 yards. Patrick O'Hara handles the kick offs and field goal attempts beyond 40 yards.

Oklahoma was burned with kick off returns against Missouri, Texas A & M and OSU in 2010. Bob Stoops has consistently played his defensive starters on special teams. He stubbornly defends last years lapses on being out of position and not structural.

Let's hope he is right Saturday night. If so, the Sooners will keep the Seminoles offense pinned down all night with Way's leg and O'Hara's kick offs.


So there you have it. Big Game Bob never left and is as big as ever. He has had two weeks to prepare to have his Sooners primed and ready to defend their #1 ranking and will pull out all the stops to win Saturday night. Just like in 2000, he has the talent and this time the reputation to prove his mantra to Chuck Cooperstein and the nation.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Big 12 Existence At Stake

Now that Texas A & M has finalized their intention to leave the Big 12 in writing, the real handwringing begins. And not just the hands of Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe.

In Austin. In Norman. In Stillwater. And from Waco to Ames, Iowa. This is the defining moment for the Big 12's very existence.

And, the only man who can save this tradition-rich, historic conference dating back to the old Southwest Conference days, is a former player in that old conference who knows more about the tradition, history and success of the coalition of schools who comprised the Southwest Conference than anyone else.

His name: Jerrel Wayne Jones. He goes by Jerry around these parts nowadays.

A former starting offensive lineman and co-captain on the 1964 undefeated, national champional Arkansas Razorbacks, former successful oilman from North Little Rock via Los Angeles, and the defacto head of the board of regents for the University of Arkansas, Jerry Jones is the only man alive who can make the Big 12 whole again.

His mission: convince the University of Arkansas leadership that it is time to end the S.E.C. experiment and literally call the hogs home. Waiting for them is that prized Texas recruiting ground that accompanies playing actual football games in the state of Texas in front of the actual high school recruits it so covets. A top 5 television market with millions of eyeballs to actually watch Razorback games. A renewal of a long-standing, hated, natural border rival in Texas. A new match up with neighbor Oklahoma that old king Barry Switzer never wanted any part of while he was feeding the monster in the 70's but one in which the new king of Norman, Bob Stoops, would eagerly welcome today. An instant BCS nod that would annually come against Big 12 North division foes the likes of Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri instead of Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Mississippi. A Big 12 Championship Game in Fayetteville South-Cowboys Stadium in December. And the one thing that Jerry understands more than anything else: more money than they are currently receiving from the S.E.C.

An Arkansas entry into the Big 12 will certainly cause eyebrows to be raised in South Bend, Indiana. Who knows. Maybe the "independent-minded" Fighting Irish will take another look at a Big 12 conference that consists of perennial national powers Oklahoma and Texas, a rejuvenated-Oklahoma State, who has been flirting with national success the past few years, a 20 million person market in Texas and an instant ticket to the BCS bowl dance. If Arkansas comes along with Notre Dame does that also bring another national power looking for a home in the Southwest like say, Florida State? Who knows. But Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe better be on the phone to Dallas-neighbor Jerry Jones at this instant to find out the hogs interest.

At yesterday's SMU Athletic Forum Luncheon featuring Troy Aikman, SMU Athletic Director, and former Notre Dame alumni, Steve Orsini opened the luncheon with three questions for the jam-packed audience:

1) Why does the city in the heart of the most tradition-rich football region of the county with long-standing ties to the Big 8/12 and Southwest Conference not have an Automatic Qualifying BCS school?

2) Why does the 5th largest television market in the country not have an Automatic Qualifying BCS school?

3) Why do Ames, Iowa; Stillwater, Oklahoma; Lubbock, Texas and Waco, Texas have an Automatic Qualifying BCS school and Dallas does not?

Obviously, Mr. Orsini is selling SMU's possibility of capitalizing on Texas A & M's departure hoping the Big 12 will look at an SMU entry into the league. Not a bad idea and one I would be selling if I were in Mr. Orsini's shoes. And, it's the same case Dan Beebe should be selling to Jerry Jones, the University of Arkansas and Mr. Orsini's alma mater.

Yes indeed. The future success of the Big 12 depends on Jerry Jones. Let's hope for the sake of the entire Southwest and football-crazed Texas he succeeds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tulsa QB Ready To Accept His Mission

G.J. Kinne will attempt to go where few opposing quarterbacks have gone in recent years against the University of Oklahoma in Norman next Saturday, September 3:

A win against the Oklahoma Sooners at Owen Field.

The Sooners are 72-2 in Norman under Bob Stoops and have not lost at home since a 17-10 loss to TCU in the home opener in 2005. They also own the longest, current home-winning streak in the NCAA with a 36-consecutive game win streak.

Combine those stats with the pre-season #1 ranking in both major polls: USA TODAY/Coaches and Associated Press. Add in an unprecedented ESPN "All Access" for opening week of practice by the normally reclusive Bob Stoops, a top 5 national showdown week three against #5 ranked Florida State in Tallahassee and the entire Sooner Nation is absolutely giddy about a potential 8th national championship.

But hold on Boomer & Sooner, those irrepressible shetland ponies who usher the Sooner Schooner onto Owen Field after every OU scoring drive, this Tulsa team is potent. And no one is more potent than quarterback G.J. Kinne. The third year starter brings a veteran team with playmakers on both sides of the ball to Norman which is a far-better team than the Golden Hurricane squad that lost to OU in 2009, 45-0.

So, without any further delay, here are 10 ways Tulsa can ruin the Sooner Nation's BCS National Championship dreams before they ever get started.

Reason #1: Be Like John!

In 1980 a skinny, no-name sophomore quarterback in just his fourth collegiate start from Stanford brought his Cardinal football team into Norman to face the #4 ranked Sooners. Just one year removed from Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims gracing the Sooner sideline, 8-consecutive Big 8 Championships (including two national championships along the way) and back-to-back Orange Bowl victories over Florida State, little known Stanford upset Oklahoma at home 31-14.

The quarterback's name? John Elway.

Riding an unabashed confidence and a gunslinger mentality, Elway shocked the Sooner faithful by shredding the OU defense. Elway lit up the Owen Field visitor scoreboard by completing 20 of 34 attempts for 3 touchdowns and 237 yards. To add insult to injury, Elway also ran 18 times for 37 yards and another touchdown.

How big of an upset did Elway pull off? Consider this: the 31 points scored by Stanford were the most points ever given up by a Barry Switzer coached team and the most against Oklahoma since the infamous Nebraska "Game of the Century" in 1971 when the Huskers knocked off the Sooners 35-31. At least that one was competitive.

Elway came out throwing and led the Cardinal to an early 17-0 lead and never let up as a pouring rainstorm settled over Owen Field and literally soaked the Sooners chances of that illusive 6th national championship. Stanford added 14 more points and was up 31-0 midway through the third quarter before OU finally scored.

Stanford also rushed for 220 yards to keep the Sooner defense off-balance and ran off a modern day Sooner-like 90 plays. The Cardinal also benefitted from 7 OU turnovers including 5 fumbles. The victory ended Oklahoma's 20-game winning streak at home.

OU Head Coach Barry Switzer had this to say about Elway after the game, "The greatest exhibition of quarterback play and passing I have ever seen on this field."

So note to self if you are G.J. Kinne. It can happen. Ask John Elway.

Reason #2: Ask Jeff

Fast-forward to 1982 and the home opener in Norman. Oklahoma hadn't lost a home-opener since 1965 when they were blanked by Navy 10-0. The Sooners also had not started off a season 0-1 since 1968 and were 9-0 in home openers under Barry Switzer.

Enter little-known West Virginia junior quarterback Jeff Hostetler. Who? He was 10 years removed from his Super Bowl winning ways for the New York Giants but Hostetler came into Norman for his starting college debut, perhaps encouraged by Elway's success two years earlier, and shocked the Sooners 41-27. The 41 points were the most ever scored on the Sooners in the state of Oklahoma!

Hostetler was "Cool Hand Luke" burning the Sooners for 321 yards on 17 of 37 passing and four touchdowns.

West Virginia's high-octane passing game kept the Sooners defense on its' heels and guessing and after falling behind 14-0, rallied to lead at halftime 20-14 helped by a surprise onside kick and two late scores to shock the unsuspecting Sooners.

Said Mountaineer Head Coach Don Nehlen, "I would think for a guy who has never taken a snap at West Virginia it was a brilliant performance."

Reason #3: Learn, Read & Be Bold!

Neither Elway or Hostetler had any fears of facing Sooner Magic in Norman.

Both had excellent coaching and numerous hours of film study of previous OU defenses. Both executed their coaches game plans with a cockiness not seen in Norman by opposing quarterbacks.

Their "caution-to-the-wind" attitude fueled their underdog teammates who were emboldened by their fearless attitudes creating an atmosphere of winning.

So, G.J. Kinne can learn from Elway's and Hostetler's historic successes in Norman against higher-ranked Sooner teams and "go for it!"

Reason #4: Strike Early & Often

The key to beating the Sooners at home is to strike early and often if possible and take the overbearing home crowd out the game.

It's hard enough beating OU at your stadium but combine 85,000 rabid, screaming fans who create one of the most impressive home field advantages with the #1 team in the country and it's very, very difficult to beat the Sooners in Norman.

So, go deep early and often and hope you catch the Sooners off guard before they realize what hit them and hold on.

Reason #5: Test The Middle

Long-time Sooner Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables said it best recently when he mentioned that championship defenses are strong up the middle.

And, Venables qualified that "up the middle" includes the free safety. The Sooners lost All-American Free Safety Quintin Carter last year and are replacing him with Javon Harris who Stoops tried replacing by moving "Roy" backer Tony Jefferson to free safety earlier in fall practice. The 2010 Sooners also were considered "soft" at defensive tackle and were the 53rd best defense in the country. The same three defensive tackles return in 2011. And, OU lost starting linebacker and preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Travis Lewis the first week of practice to a broken toe and fifth year senior linebacker Austin Box who died unexpectedly in the offseason. To add to the Sooners woes, former linebacker and starting defensive end Ronnell Lewis' academic status remains unclear 10 days before the Tulsa game.

Indeed, the Sooners have question marks up the middle that a veteran, seasoned quarterback like G.J. Kinne can exploit.

Reason #6: Control The Ball

Oklahoma runs a high-octane, fast-paced pro-style offense that can score quickly in spurts, control the ball and run off 90+ plays a game. An unheard number of plays in college football.

This type of attack wears a defense out by spreading the field and keeping you guessing which target to attack.

For Tulsa to have any chance to win, they must control the ball on offense with a short passing attack exploiting the Sooners young secondary, combined with a balanced rushing game that keeps the Sooner defense on the field and guessing. Mix in a well-timed deep passing threat where a veteran quarterback like Kinne can attack and you have a recipe for an upset.

Tulsa has a veteran offensive line that is very deep. So deep that Tulsa will rotate two offensive lines to keep the players fresh in an attempt to wear down the defense.

And, Kinne has led the Golden Hurricane in rushing the past two seasons so just like John Elway did in 1980, Kinne can help his own cause with his feet just as well as with his arm.

Reason #7: Exploit the Special Teams

Bob Stoops will deny it until he's blue in the face but it's a well-known fact the Sooners have suffered on special teams the past few years.

How bad are the Sooners woes on special teams? Missouri broke their backs with a long kickoff return in the 36-27 loss in Columbia last October that sank the Sooners national championship hopes and ended their one week stay atop the BCS standings. Texas A & M did the same thing two weeks later in College Station that fueled a 33-19upset. And, OSU kept themselves in the shootout in Stillwater last Thanksgiving weekend with a long kickoff return for a touchdown.

So regardless of Stoops' denial and stubborness, the Sooners can be exposed on special teams and Tulsa needs a score on a long punt return or kickoff to pull off the upset.

Reason #8: Create Turnovers

Bob Stoops Oklahoma teams have created more turnovers than almost anyone else in college football the past 12 years by being very aggressive ball-hawks on defense.

The Oklahoma defenses are built on speed, aggressiveness and toughness exemplified by their head coach who was a former safety at Iowa.

So if the Golden Hurricane are to pull off the upset in Norman, they'll need to steal a page from Stoops' playbook and create some help along the way by their defense to get a key stop with an interception or fumble.

Take a cue from the 1980 Stanford Cardinal who benefitted from 7 Oklahoma turnovers.

Reason #9: Pressure Landry Jones

No quarterback likes to be pressured but some handle it worse than others.

Landry Jones has imploded in key games the past two years and enraged the Sooner faithful with off-balanced throws in the face of pressure. To make matters worse some of those ill-timed passes have resulted in instant pick sixes for the opposing team.

The only reason OSU hung in the first half in Stillwater last year was thanks to Jones' pick six in the first half that kept the Cowboys in the game.

Nothing can take the steam out of an offenses' confidence more than an interception returned for a touchdown.

New offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has worked with Jones all summer to work on his reads, foot work and releases to minimize Jones' poor habit of tossing the ball to the opposing team.

How well Jones has learned will be discovered in 10 days when facing a Tulsa pass rush.

Reason #10: Believe!

And the most important reason why Tulsa can pull off an upset is simply believe!

The Sooners have proven beatable on the road in key games last year at Missouri and Texas A & M. They held on in an historic shootout against OSU last November and pulled out a 47-41 win for the ages.

And, Tulsa has to look no further than their huge 28-27 upset over Notre Dame in South Bend last year before a nationally-televised audience for a blueprint to pull off an upset over the Sooners.

Kinne completed 18 of 34 passes for 196 yards and added 78 yards on 20 carries as the leading rusher for Tulsa. Kinne got the Golden Hurricane off to a fast start by directing a 67-yard, 9-play scoring drive on the opening possession tossing a 9-yard pass to his favorite receiver junior Damaris Johnson. The Golden Hurricane defense added a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown just before halftime and a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown by Johnson in the third quarter to seal the victory.

Kinne celebrated the historic Tulsa win by running over to the Tulsa band section, grabbing the director's wand and directed the Tulsa band in a victory celebration!

Yes the mighty Sooners can be beaten at home. It hasn't happened in the past 36-games stretching over 5-1/2 seasons and Oklahoma is 72-2 at home under Bob Stoops.

However, if any team can pull off the upset, Tulsa is poised to do it if they get a few breaks, score on special teams, pressure Landry Jones into throwing interceptions, create some opportunistic turnovers and hope their quarterback becomes a fearless gunslinger ala the ghosts of Elway and Hostetler.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Football Game Is A Matter of Life and Death to Stoops Family

Before last years football game between #10 ranked Oklahoma and #17 ranked Florida State in Norman, members of the Stoops football family had only met once before on the football field.

It is a memory that none of the Stoops family will ever forget.

In October of 1988, the Stoopses family patriarch and elder statesman Ron Sr. led his Youngstown, Ohio Cardinal Mooney team against oldest son Ron, Jr.'s Boardman team. Ron Jr. was the assistant coach in charge of defense for Boardman. Ron Sr. was the long-time defensive coordinator for Cardinal Mooney in his 28th year coaching at the same school where he had coincidentally coached all four of his sons.

During a heated, closely contested game late in the fourth quarter, with most of the entire Stoops clan in the stands watching, Ron Sr. collapsed on the Cardinal Mooney sideline. A hushed stadium, including son Ron Jr. watching down on his father from the press box, looked on anxiously as they watched Ron Stoops being treated. Ron Jr. was soon by his father's side as the game went into triple overtime with Mooney winning. Ron Sr. was attended to on the sideline and saw the outcome and then was placed in an ambulance.

A few seconds later Ron Stoops, Sr. died of a massive heart attack. He was 54 years old. "It's almost poetic," said his daughter Kathy, "You couldn't write a story and have it come out that way." (The New York Times, August 29, 2004.)

Suddenly the importance of something as simple as a high school football game wasn't very important anymore.

Fast-Forward to 2010

So you can imagine the intensity of the feelings building up inside 49-year old Bob Stoops and youngest brother Mark as they prepared to face-off against one another last September in Norman.

Older brother Bob had been dreading this game ever since that December night in 2009 that baby brother Mark had excitedly called him about his newest coaching opportunity. You see Florida State had an opening with legendary coach Bobby Bowden's forced retirement. Incoming coach Jimbo Fisher had reached out to the younger Stoops for the defensive coordinator job at Florida State. The younger Stoops was defensive coordinator on his older brother Mike's staff at Arizona. The opportunity to accept the Florida State job for first year coach Fisher and escape older brother Mike's shadow, prompted the call for advice to the man all Sooner fans knew as "Big-Game Bob" who was now simply big brother Bob.

The second oldest sibling Bob was well aware of the tragedy that had played out on the football field in Youngstown in 1988 between Ron Sr. and Ron Jr. but kept his thoughts to himself. You see Bob Stoops knew that Florida State was already scheduled to play Oklahoma in Norman that coming September. The very thought of facing off against baby brother was as heart-wrenching a thought as he could possibly think of. He knew the stress and strain of having to put his mother and family through another Stoops match-up on the field would create. He also knew that heart disease ran in his family genes, had been the main contributor to his father's fatal heart attack and had prompted him to get annual exams, control his high cholesterol with medications, maintain a healthy diet and strict work out schedule ever since his father's untimely death. Bob Stoops wanted nothing to do with contributing to another Stoops family coaching match-up and the first between the four football-coaching, sibling brothers all of whom had played defense for their father at Cardinal Mooney.

In fact, the very same situation had just been averted during the 2009 bowl season. It seems the Sun Bowl folks were absolutely giddy with the prospects of an Oklahoma vs. Arizona match-up in El Paso. Bob Stoops Oklahoma team was the likely representative from the Big 12. The top contender from the Pac-10 was Mike Stoops Arizona Wildcats.

Both Stoops brothers made their feelings known to school officials who conveyed their wishes to the Sun Bowl folks: there would be no Stoops vs. Stoops bowl game this holiday season. Fortunately for the Stoops family, Stanford qualified for the Sun Bowl against Oklahoma. Another Stoops match-up was averted.

So after getting his older brother's advice to follow his dreams, Mark Stoops accepted the Florida State job and the first person he called to tell the news was big brother Bob who replied, "That's great. Congratulations." And the first person who called him after that phone call was the head coach of one of his new teams' opponents the next season: Bob Stoops. "You realize I'm not going to talk to you for a year because we're going to play you the second game of the year?", Bob joked, realizing his youngest brother had weighed many factors before opting to leave Arizona, where he had worked for another sibling, Mike, but he hadn't looked at Florida State's schedule. (St. Petersburg Times, September 8, 2010.)

Fast forward nine months later and to complicate matters, it was Bob's 50th birthday and the entire Stoops clan from Youngstown was in the stands in Norman to watch the game, including both sisters and his 73-year old mother Dee. They celebrated Bob's birthday two days earlier. All the Stoops family was there except brothers Ron Sr. and Mike who were coaching their respective teams.

Bob Stoops' Oklahoma Sooners put on a football clinic against Florida State last September winning convincingly 47-17. The win propelled the Sooners toward a 6-0 record and #1 ranking the first week of the BCS poll. As much as the win meant to Oklahoma and the Sooner Nation, Bob Stoops felt absolutely awful. To see his team manhandle and dissect younger brother Mark's Florida State defense so convincingly was not something he was proud of. Happy for the victory. Not happy with the situation. "It's a rotten place to be because I appreciate the way our team played and all that, but you just cannot separate blood," Bob Stoops said. "I just don't like it. I knew that coming into the game I didn't, and I'm positive of it now after the game." (Daily Oklahoman, September 11, 2010.)

2011 Match-Up Has Special Meaning

So as August two-a-day practices continue, injuries mount up and pre-season polls are announced, the brothers Stoops awkwardly anticipate another matchup between their two teams on September 17 in Tallahassee.

Except this time the football stakes are much higher. Older brother Bob's Sooners are ranked #1 in the USA TODAY pre-season poll. Baby brother Mark's Seminoles are ranked #5. To most outside observers, the stakes couldn't possibly be higher.

For the football-coaching Stoops family of Youngstown, Ohio, the stakes already have been as high as they could be.

Neither sibling is looking forward to September 17 because they know that one of them will walk off the field with a defeat for his team and the other one will have a victory. Neither one will like it.

They both will be trying to make their football coach-dad proud having turned the football instincts he instilled in them as young boys growing up in Youngstown into leaders of two of the most prestigious football programs in the country.

Regardless of the outcome on the field they both will be winner's in the Stoops family having carried on their father's legacy.

As the Stoops sister said, "It's almost poetic. You couldn't write a story and have it come out that way."

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Road to New Orleans Goes Through Norman

This will be the year of the Sooners!

After a near miss in 2010 featuring a brief one week #1 ranking and an injury-riddled 2009 when All-Americans Jermaine Gresham and Heisman Trophy Winner Sam Bradford succumbed to season-ending injuries the first week of the season, the Sooners are poised to return to the BCS National Championship Game for the first time since 2008.

The reasons? The Sooners are simply loaded with experienced talent at key positions, who are playing at the most tradition-rich, storied-football program in NCAA history and are coached by arguably the most talented coach in college football in Bob Stoops. Put it all together and what do you get: Championships.

The Oklahoma Sooners have won 7 of 12 Big 12 Championships in Bob Stoops career. More than any other school. Stoops overall record at OU is 129-31 for a winning percentage of .806%. He has single-handedly resurrected a winning tradition at the winningest program in modern NCAA football his first 12 seasons. Stoops-coached teams have played in the BCS National Championship Game 4 times, including a win in 2000, and the Sooners are poised to climb back up the BCS mountain in 2011.

The Sooners return 29 game-experienced or starters in the 2-deep depth chart including pre-season Heisman Trophy Award candidates Landry Jones at quarterback and Ryan Broyles at wide receiver. Jones has already thrown for over 7,900 yards in his first two seasons and led the Sooners to a 12-2 record in his first full season as starter in 2010 throwing for 4,718 yards, 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. All-America Broyles is set to shatter all OU receiving records and a few national ones by returning for his senior season. He and Jones are comforted by the fact all five offensive lineman starters return including pre-season Lombardi Trophy candidates guard Stephen Good and junior Ben Habern at center. Collectively the Sooners o-lineman return 50 game-starts in 2011 meaning: The Sooners should be able to score at will in their hurry-up, high-octane offense regardless of the anticipated running back by committee approach of the law firm of Clay/Finch/Miller/Williams, etc.

On defense, the Sooners will simply be stifling. Led by pre-season Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Travis Lewis, the Oklahoma defense will be as stout as anytime in recent memory. The strength of this Sooner defense will be defensive end where all four projected starters have big-game experience. Frank Alexander and David King will anchor one side of the ball while special team sensation Ronnell "Hammer" Lewis, who will move from linebacker, and R.J. Washington will anchor the other side. Joining Lewis at linebacker will be sophomore sensation Tom Wort, who started
9 games in 2010, and sophomore Corey Nelson who had the entire Sooner Nation raving after an outstanding spring practice. Junior Jamarkus McFarland makes his long-awaited starting appearance on the defensive line. He will be joined by 300-pounders Casey Walker and Stacey McGee anchoring a solid 3-man rotation. Returning starters Jamell Fleming and Demontre Hurst are back anchoring the corners and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Tony Jefferson returns in the secondary, as well. Sophomore Aaron Colvin will be projected to start at strong safety and will be joined by Javon Harris and Sam Proctor at free safety.

Add in highly-touted redshirt freshmen newcomers Torrea Peterson and Geneo Grissom on the defensive line and true freshman Brandon Williams at running back and all the pieces are in place for offensive and defensive greatness.

And special teams will be very special. Kicker Jimmy Stevens and punter Tress Way return to give the Sooners a 1-2 punch in the kicking game that will be among the best in the country. Ronnell "Hammer" Lewis is back to ensure kickoff coverage collisions make the introductory highlight video and continue Coach Stoops long-standing tradition of playing his defensive starters on special teams. And is there a better punt returner in the country who strikes fear in opposing teams than Ryan Broyles?

So add it all up and who is this years' pre-season favorite to end the S.E.C.'s five year run and win the eighth National Championship in school history? The 2011 Oklahoma Sooners. Stay tuned for the latest updates and opinions including pre-game and post-game thoughts throughout the run to the Road to New Orleans! Boomer!