I'm trying Ringo, I'm tryin' real hard. As much fun as we've had watching this particular college football season, we need to move on. Just not this week. I may regurgitate all over my shoes if I hear "OU just didn't show up" one more time.
It's human nature, I suppose. Perceived slights conjure feelings of ill will toward people with alternative opinions. We live in a society where two people can't possibly disagree and both are correct. Someone must be wrong.
"Choke-lahoma," as the Sooners have been labeled by some of the national media, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again. The 48-28 drubbing at the hands of Big East Champion West Virginia is not what Dr. Stoops ordered.
The rallying cry out of Stoopsville prior to the Fiesta Bowl was one of redemption. The Sooners were focused on erasing the Boise State embarrassment. A victory against WVU would have brought the perennial powerhouse back to the forefront of college football, and it would have ended a three-game losing streak in BCS games.
Unfortunately, the loss was damaging. A Cinderella storybook upset by Boise State was the headline a year ago. This year? A lousy showing from OU was the theme.
But was it really a lousy showing? Oklahoma played without their top receiver Malcolm Kelly. The running game was minus Demarco Murray. The defensive front suffered because DeMarcus Granger needed a jacket. Don't worry Sooner Nation, he'll be back next year, warmer than ever.
It's been pointed out that Vegas had the Sooners as an 8.5 point favorite. So it wasn't just Oklahoma fans who thought the Sooners were superior. Lest we not forget Vegas put lines on the game to attract equal money from both sides, not necessarily who they think will win.
Perhaps the crimson colored Kool-Aid tasted so good no one bothered to look across the field at the opponent. Remember, WVU was poised to enter the National Title game entering their final game against Pitt. WVU Quarterback Pat White left the Pitt game injured. Their chances at the coveted crystal ball were ruined in the season's final game.
Fast forward a month and White was healthy enough to gash OU's defense for 326 yards. He accounted for more than 50 percent of his team's offense in the regular season. He's a damn good football player.
Everyone in this state lauded the Oklahoma offensive juggernaut, and with good reason. Do you realize these two teams finished the season with 0.7 yards per game difference? Why didn't WVU have a chance again?
High on Hype
I understand the fans' reaction. It's easy to cheer with your heart and disregard what you're not familiar with. Many fans have beaten the dead horse: "If it's not the Title game, then who cares?" This mentality is great for fans, but you know the players wanted to win. They simply lost to the better team this time.
A playoff system wouldn't have fixed this "problem" either. An eight-team playoff system would have pit OU against Georgia. Yikes! A Georgia team "that had nothing to play for" showed up and dismantled the upstart Hawaii squad.
The eight-team playoff scenario would have excluded the BCS's ninth ranked team, West Virginia. Pulling for a team with your heart and soul is your job. It was not your fault you only watched OU games and have never seen WVU play. You rely on the media to fill you in. Ahem.
However, the local sports journalists should have known better. The blatant disregard for the Mountaineers' chances was laughable. These in-the-know sports writers, to a certain extent, brag about their conversations with Coach Stoops. They're connected, baby!
First of all, we're really not that impressed. Second, it's likely your conversations are the very reason you think Stoops walks on water and OU football is second to none. I'm sure he's an engaging fella.
Prime example: Every time I get in my car and drive home after talking with a local coach, I have the same feeling. "This team is going to be great this year!" Coaches have the unique ability to rally their teams and get the masses excited about their prospects. It's part of the package.
Some pundits blame a lack of enthusiasm. I don't buy it. Allen Patrick tried to initiate a riot at mid-field during the pre-game coin flip. These players were jacked up ready for action. So were the Mountaineers.
Another writer said Bob Stoops should have had his team arrive a day prior to kickoff. You know, so the Sooners aren't attacked by the media blitz. I believe the piece was tongue-in-cheek. However...
WVU suffered the same duress. In fact, with their coaching situation, they probably faced more adversity in the final week of preparation. Given more time I'm sure another excuse will come from Sooner apologist.
My favorite--or least favorite, depending on how well you read sarcasm--was the assertion that OU players are too complacent. What does that mean? More importantly, how does your college baseball career coincide with OU's 0-4 BCS streak? Self promotion or senility?
Stoops has come under fire for his two-point conversions and the ill-fated onside kick. A more daunting task isn't Stoops decision making, it's his defensive unit. Fans want Brent Venables on the next Sooner Schooner out of town.
Can't blame them. The defense has given up big plays. But, and I know this is sacrilegious to even think, isn't Bob Stoops a defensive guru?
He earned his stripes at Kansas State and Florida on the defensive side of the ball. He managed one of the best defensive units in college football history in 2000. What has happened? Has the $3 million-a-year contract gone to his head? Are his players not on the level of John Blake's recruited players? Was Mike Stoops that vital a cog to this team?
Let's spin this in a positive light. Oklahoma's performance on the big stage helped WVU hire a coach. Prior to the game, Bill Stewart was named interim coach of the Mountaineers. His players call him Stew. A local media guy called him a "Neck."
The "Neck" was offered the permanent job at WVU shortly after he led his team to victory in what was called an upset. Looking back at the facts, how great an upset was it?
Oklahoma's games are broadcast in front of a national audience the majority of the season. Brent Musburger's voice lends instant credibility to the University for the nation to hear. How many WVU games did you watch from start to finish? Didn't think so.
Lee Corso, ESPN's own little E.T., declared OU as one of the top two teams in the nation--BEFORE they played the Fiesta Bowl. Local talk show hosts claimed OU would trounce WVU by a margin of 15-30 points depending on how frisky they were feeling during their specific segment.
Believe it or not, football is sometimes played outside state lines. Fans and sports media types may not like it, they sure don't recognize it, but, the sport is played elsewhere. Sometimes even at extremely high levels.
It's ok. Life goes on. Disagree with the above? Let me know. I smell an upcoming mailbag.
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