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College Football Musings from the Train: Week 5

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10) Oklahoma State and the worst people on the planet not from Louisiana

On a beautiful Thursday night, Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech 45-35 in a game that featured five turnovers and 26 penalties. And left me wondering if either of these teams are any good. I mean, I guess OSU is sorta good. The Cowboys, who struggled much of the game running the ball against a porous Red Raider run defense, lit up an overmatched Tech secondary to the tune of 370 yards on only 17 completions, or like 87 yards per completion. Though the Poke faithful can’t be thrilled the Cowboys averaged under 4 yards a carry, it was obvious Tech stacked the box, daring the Pokes to throw over the top. Which they did. All damn night.

College Football Musings from the Train: Week 4

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10) Oklahoma defeats the Mountain Dew mainliners

It was a tale of two halves.

The Sooners, after having spent 30 minutes forgetting how to play defense and trying to have Trevor Knight reenact Sam Bradford, responded after halftime with an opportune and solid defense and ran the ball with force, turning away a much improved and talented mountaineer team 45-33 in Morgantown Saturday night. Couches were set ablaze. Remaining tooth was knocked out. Drain cooler moonshine flowed like wine. Oklahoma escaped a night game on the east coast no worse for wear.

Samaje Perine broke the will of the West Virginia defense, running for 242 yards, 7.1 yards per carry, and four scores. Trevor knight mushed through an inconsistent throwing day and ridiculous game planning. The secondary was not good. The pass rush had difficulty making hay until late in the game. And Alex Ross had yet another game changing big play. Dude may not be a 20 carry back, but he is a home run threat when he touches the ball.

As I write this column on my return flight from Vegas, emitting foul body smells and doing everything possible to not yiff on a 737, I maintain that despite the first 28 minutes or so, I never got the feeling OU was going to lose. It didn’t make sense that Stoops would allow Knight to throw the ball in the second half as a certain someone allowed him to do in the first. I also believed that at some point the defense was going to get to Clint Trickett, that he wasn’t going to march them up and down the field all game.

This is a very good OU squad. You aren’t going to hold every team on your schedule to no first half points. You aren’t going be able to play your backups every week. In order for this team to be the team they can be, they will have games were things aren’t perfect – where you have to on the road and grind out a win.

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.