A conversation came up the other day in the office. Which school serves as the University of Tulsa's rival these days? Several years ago, we could point to Hawaii and Fresno State, but not so much anymore.
Of course, the Golden Hurricane has since moved on from the WAC to C-USA. Left behind were a couple of fun tilts each basketball season.
This also illustrates a fascinating point. How many elite collegiate programs let their basketball team dictate the conference rival?
Immediately Duke and North Carolina come to mind. Otherwise, the football teams set the trend. When a couple of powerhouses knock teeth on the gridiron, it sets the tone for basketball season and beyond.
So back to TU, who would you consider their rival in 2010? Please, do not take this for a cheap sports talk radio mid-summer crutch topic. The truth is, TU needs a rival to invigorate the local sport's scene.
Tulsa sports fans rise up for Red River Rivalry talk as well as Bedlam bashes.
Two-thirds of TU's big three cited the Houston Cougars as the chief rival in C-USA. The lone holdout? Basketball Coach Doug Wojcik. His reason? I'm not 100 percent sure, but the guess is a failed attempt to knock off Memphis during the Calipari days still has him pining for the Tigers.
Football Coach Todd Graham and Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham pointed at Houston. In fact, neither blinked when asked the question.
This sounds good in theory, but who else is on board with Houston being "OUR" arch nemesis?
Most football players gave the canned reply of "whoever is next on the schedule" when asked the same question. Would a Sooner give the same cliché reply? How about a Cowboy?
Let's take a closer look.
Last year, Houston escaped Chapman Stadium with a one-point victory. Two years ago, they blew the doors off the TU Express 70-30 down south. Three years ago, "WE" smacked them around T-Town by a tune of 56-7.
Two blowouts and one tight game. Not a bad start to a rivalry. What about on the basketball court?
Have you not been paying attention? With all due respect to Coach Wojcik and the basketball team, it doesn't matter who they feud with. The football team raises the hatred levels and other programs follow suit. Unless, of course, you live on Tobacco Road.
The Golden Hurricane travels to Houston on Nov. 13. By the time November rolls around, conference supremacy could be on the line.
NFL, college football, USC scandals, LeBron, NBA, Durant, Bradford, Woods, Lesnar, Shields, Stoops, Kinne, Brees, Manning, Strasburg, Barkley, Mayweather, Pacquiao.
Those are a few of the names and leagues breaking news these days in Tulsa. One glaring omission? The Oklahoma State Cowboys are not getting a sniff.
Not a peep this year. Even coming out of Big 12 media day, not a whole lot of pistols firing about players or coaches.
This is a good thing. Enormous pressure mounted on Head Coach Mike Gundy the past few years. For the most part, his teams crumbled. Another 8-4 underwhelming season could spell the end of the "I'm a Man ... I'm 40!" error in Stillwater.
Here are a few quotes coming out of the first OSU versus OSU scrimmage.
"There were several situations we need to do a better job with," Gundy said. "The defense lined up off sides, and we had some false starts and a holding. We'll take a day off tomorrow and come back Monday ready to go to work."
To be clear, I did pick the most alarming quote for stylistic purposes. But honestly, in year five of the Gundy experience, should we still hear about such basic screw-ups?
The most interesting news coming out of Stillwater continues to be former basketball coach Sean Sutton's personal life. He received three years probation after pleading guilty to illegally obtaining prescription drugs.
Let's hope the nation's youth learns a lesson. Prescription drugs continue to be the downfall of teenagers in 2010.
They now know a firm slap on the wrist is punishment for jeopardizing their lives. Actually, maybe they should look at Heath Ledger, Corey Haim and Brittany Murphy for guidance.
"We commend Sean on the steps he is taking to move forward," Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University, said in a press release. "All of us at OSU wish him and his family all the best."
Hot on the Trail
One discussion topic was left off the above list. ONEOK Field is still bringing the hits. With patrons being seared to their seats with the past few weeks' boiling temps, winning baseball is still packing the stands.
Tulsa only trails Northwest Arkansas in the Texas League North division. The Naturals captured the first-half crown, so the Drillers are sitting nicely in the on-deck circle.
Visit tulsadrillers.com for details on upcoming specials and ticket information.
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