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College Football Musings from the Train: Week 3

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10) SEC < Big XII

In a strong effort to duplicate the first two weeks of the season, Oklahoma played near flawless football for a little over one half, then let off the pedal on both sides of the ball, cruising to a 34-10 win against Tennessee on Saturday night. The Sooners ran out to a 20-7 halftime lead, increased said lead to 27-7 three minutes into the second quarter, then stopped playing football for the most part the remainder of the contest. In fact, if not for two endzone turnovers, one of which was run back by Julian Wilson for a touchdown, the game takes on quite a different tenor late in the fourth quarter.

Trevor Knight continues to play solid if not spectacular football. Knight was 20 of 33 for two touchdowns (one rushing) and had a couple of timely quarterback draws/read option keepers sprinkled throughout the game. He appears to become more comfortable each game. Though his deep passes aren’t perfect, and he seems at times hellbent on not running the football, this is the guy most rational Sooner fans were hoping for after the Sugar Bowl. He isn’t going to have an Alabama game every week. But he also isn’t going to have a ULM or West Virginia or Landry Jones game either. As the coaches continue to force feed a passing game, he and Sterling Shepard, and emerging Durron Neal and Blake Bell, will be on the same page as the schedule increases in difficulty.

As for the defense, they get their own section of the article.

I said before the game that this Oklahoma team just seems different. Very businesslike. Efficient. Yes, they made a few mistakes Saturday night. And yes, the offense went in a damn shell the last 25  minutes of the game. And yes, the defense game up a few big yardage plays. But this is not the same team that pussy footed through a bad West Virginia in 2013, or got boat raced by Aggie in 2012, or got embarrassed by Oklahoma State in 2011. They may not be superior at any one position (save one really big exception), but they are good at every position.

College Football Musings from the Train: Week Two

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10) Oklahoma hammers out manned Tulsa

You remember that time when the University of Tulsa hired Todd Graham and Steve Kragthrope as head coaches, and then won 10 games, and went to bowl games, and competed for conference championships, and made the alumni base proud on a weekly basis?

Because the current state of this program is exactly the opposite of the aforementioned program.

Oklahoma dominated Tulsa on a rainy Saturday afternoon, slipping and sliding their way to a 52-7 victory. The game was effectively over at half as the Sooners, buoyed by a 395 to 95 advantage in total yards, Oklahoma raced to an immediate 21-0 first quarter lead and a 31-0 advantage by the end of the first half. Though I felt the Sooners threw the ball entirely too often in the first half considering the talent at running back and opponent, it was obvious Oklahoma continues to work on a vertical passing game that was all but non-existent until the Alabama game in 2013. OU could have run the ball 80% of the time and won this game going away – the physical mismatch between Oklahoma’s offensive line and Tulsa’s defensive line was comical.

Josh Heupel did a nice job of mixing the inside runs with outside runs, and horizontal passes with vertical passes, especially in that first half when it mattered. Trevor Knight looked better as a passer from week one to week two. The running backs continue to be an asset, breaking off both tough and long runs, especially Alex Ross’s brilliant 82 yard touchdown.

As for the defense, Tulsa was held completely in check the first two quarters. quarterback pressures, no running lanes, good outside coverage. Unfortunately, the second team and assorted backups surrendered 230 total yards and provided little to no pressure on Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans from the front four.

But the bottom line – when it has mattered the last two weeks, Oklahoma’s offense and defense have been sharp and dominant. Which is pretty much the exact opposite of last year.

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9) Tulsa’s cute little game day experience

My wife and I met while she was attending the University of Tulsa. We both have degrees from TU. We have many college friends who live in Tulsa. As such, we were invited to and attended a tailgate just west of the stadium.

To reiterate, I went to Tulsa for 3 years. I went multiple football games, including the 2002 OU Tulsa game. So why I didn’t remember how damned small that stadium feels escapes me. 29,000 people attended the game Saturday, including yours truly. It felt like a high school game both inside and outside the stadium. Yes, Tulsa has crafted a nice little tailgate row on the north side and an alumni area in the field west of H.A. Chapman Stadium / Skelly Field. But even with OU in town, its sparse. Hundreds of thousands of people descend upon Norman for big games. It’s a little city. TU is little.

And walking into the stadium (which needs a serious overhaul of its concessions, pissers, and walk ways – ex. put in some closed circuit televisions under the stands, this isn’t 1956) is a throw back to the wing T. It’s quiet. It’s wide open. The press box and suites are very nice, but everything else smacks of Jenks/Union.

p.s. – I was anywhere from 4 to 10 drinks in when I wrote these notes about the stadium and game day atmosphere, so it’s probably a pretty nice venue with frolicking and fun had by all #2drunk2care.

College Football Musings from the Train: Opening Weekend

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(Editor’s Note: He’s back.)

I told the owner of this site, who shall remain nameless but his name rhymes with Bat Prick, that I would pen a wonderfully researched and intelligent pre-season post that would make Phil Steele blush. Then I got sick. Because I have two kids under the age of four who should be issued plastic bubbles and the Ebola vaccine by the CDC. So my bad, I guess. Now I can say I accurately predicted everything that happens this year in college football.

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10) Oklahoma State more than holds it own

So close …

Oklahoma State played remarkably well this past Saturday, staying with the vaunted defending national champions until the final few minutes, succumbing 37-31 to the Seminoles in JerryWorld. Not only did OSU not look outclassed. Not only did OSU look presentable. The Pokes looked like the better team for much, it not most, of Saturday night against a prohibitive final four squad that many considered unbeatable in 2014. Were it not for a dearth of Oklahoma State special team gaffs and JW Walsh self-creating two awful turnovers, it isn’t a stretch to assume the Cowboys win going away.

College Football Musings from the Train: Bowl Game Edition

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10) So about that whole “Oklahoma’s last win will be Iowa State” …

“What if I told you the greatest team in the history of modern sports was soundly beaten by a former football power from a weak conference …” 30 for 30 “The End of an Era” circa 2025.

In what one can only describe as the most awesome college football result in over a decade, the Oklahoma Sooners dismantled Superman 45-31 Thursday night in New Orleans. The same Oklahoma team that was trounced by average Texas and Baylor, thoroughly dominated what most believe was the best college football team / dynasty in the land from the 10 minutes mark of the first quarter until the last play of the game … save a few offensive missteps and missed tackles in between.

While the Sooners were outgained by 80 yards, and surrendered 500 yards of offense to the Crimson Tide, Alabama was clearly confused and disoriented by the offensive game plan of the new offensive coordinator (because there is no way in God’s green earth that fat man who called the Texas debacle called the plays during the Sugar Bowl) and the play of the front four of the Oklahoma defense. The Sooners’ offense was brilliant in the first half, combining max coverage and tight bunch formations with movement in the pocket and unseen accuracy by Trevor Knight. Mike Stoops realized after 30 minutes blitzing wasn’t the answer, allowing his front four led by Geneo Grissom and Erik Striker to pin back the ears and harass “the greatest player in the history of mankind” into 7 sacks, constant pressure, and two huge interceptions.

Setting aside the numbers, this was a historic win for Bob Stoops. Gone are the memories of losses to teams with equal or superior talent. Forgotten are the losses to LSU in 2003, USC in 2004, Florida in 2008, and last year’s Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M. The Saban demons. The SEC losses. The BCS embarrassments. Gone. This was (arguably) the second best win in the Bob Stoops era, and certainly the program’s biggest win in 13 years. Don’t believe me? Ask Joe Mixon, who committed to the Sooners on Saturday afternoon based largely on the win 48 hours earlier.

9) Trevor F’ing Knight

Just come the fuck on. So he’s been trolling OU fans since September, right?

The same mf’er who went 11 for 28 for under 100 yards against 6-6 ULM went all Peyton Manning on Nick Saban’s Alabama 5-star’ers. His line was 32 of 44, 348 yards, four touchdowns. Mind you, HE COMPLETED 47 PASSES AND THREW FOR 471 PASSING YARDS ALL SEASON. He only had one start with over 50% completion percentage before Thursday night. Trevor Knight brought back memories of Sam Bradford against North Texas … all the while shredding ALABAMA. Not Tulsa. Not West Virginia. The by God Crimson Tide of Alabama. The two time defending national champion Crimson Tide.

And because of that 60 minutes of good decisions and precision passing, the redshirt freshman from San Antonio’s life has changed forever. He is now the man projected to lead Oklahoma to it’s eighth national championship, if by no one else but me. He is the man expected to unseat Jordan Lynch and JFF as next year’s great dual threat quarterback, if Heupel allows it. And moreover, he is a celebrity. Which means his girlfriend is a celebrity. Which means those creepers at Busted Coverage are all over … her.

A friend of mine said to skip to picture #6. I would, but I am a God-fearing, church attending, Fallin voting Oklahoman. Fortunately, our editor is not and he’ll post it here:

College Football Musings from the Train: Bedlam Recap Edition

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The Game

In what was likely the best Bedlam game in history, the Oklahoma Sooners improbably defeated the highly ranked and favored Oklahoma State Cowboys 33-24 on the frozen tundra of Boone Pickens Stadium. The Sooners were outgained by the Pokes 400 yards to 358, but scored twice on special teams and rode the unlikely Bedlam hero Blake Bell to a last-minute victory. Bell was one of three quarterbacks used by Oklahoma in the game, with starter Trevor Knight sustaining a dislocated shoulder to his non-throwing … shoulder … late in the first half. And with Kendal Thompson being largely ineffective, likely due to the ridiculous manner in which he was used, Blake Bell stepped up and led the Sooners’ to victory, culminating with a seven yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds left in the game.