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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.

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TLO’s take on the Joe Mixon Tape…

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(Editor’s Note: We sent 4-time Jeopardy champion, local stand-up comic, and Norman TLO Trivia Night host Wampus Reynolds to the Norman Police Department on Thursday morning to review the Joe Mixon assault tape with the “media.” Here is his report.) 

When I heard the Norman PD was releasing the Joe Mixon assault tape, I like every other rubbernecking and curious OU fan wanted to see the video. Mixon couldn’t have just decked an innocent girl for no reason, right? He’s a Sooner. The players have a, sigh, great reputation. There had to be a Zapruder film showing a second puncher-in-the-facer in the booth behind the action, or perhaps the victim Molitor had a fake plastic thumb full of chicken guts that she dumps on her face like a charlatan bare handed surgeon.

But this “screening” (seriously, Norman Police Department, you call this a “screening?” Screening is a free 5 o’clock showtime at Tinseltown of the new Paul Rudd comedy. Call it VIEWING.) was for the media only. What the what? Why can Tuff Nixter, sportswriter and classified ad salesman for the Wayne Payne Times see footage that has captured the 405′s collective imagination and Joe Landman can’t? It really makes no sense. It’s like sports folk were now courtroom sketch artists, but instead of drawing in colored pencils a dead-eyed defendant’s profile, they had to describe the action.

Outraged Seinfeld voice: “And have you actually read these people?” Not exactly the erudite Roger Aingell prosody around these parts. I’ve actually heard one sports radio personality say this sentence on air: “He ain’t got no, uhhh…fast.” You want this guy to relate what happens to you? By the end, you’ll think some person turned into an actual pickle and fell on a table and Regular Jim Traber ate it.

I tweeted TLO (for whom I co-host Trivia Night at Local in Norman every Wednesday at 7) that I’d write a real good piece if they got me in with press. And thanks to two emails and a responsive officer, I was on the list. I did get the distinct pleasure of seeing Patrick saying that I should show my “press credentials” and regarding those words as if they were in Sanskrit. I was hoping he’d pull out a dusty fedora with a card saying PRESS tucked in the headband. He wrote back “We ain’t got no, uhhh….authorize” instead.

I showed up at the Norman Investigations Center and went in a small group. We walked down a hall (I noticed golf clubs in one office along the way; OJ investigation style!) and entered a big chilly room. Many of the great Oklahoma sports personalities were there. Berry “A six months younger Matlock” Tramel! Andrew “I know from childhood when he had Harpo hair” Gilman! Myron “Myron” Patton”! Others!

The police chief came in, identified himself and moved to the side. Then a captain said he had no comments and they’d start the video. They did.

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.

OU pulled an OSU to sell additional Texas tickets…

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I’m an OU fan.

I was born an OU fan, grew up an OU fan, and in my adulthood, became what OSU grads like to call “the OU fan that never went to school there OU fan.” I complain during the bad times, complain during the good times, and still have nightmares about Landry Jones.

Knowing all that, it really hurts to write words like this: OU just pulled an OSU.

Yesterday, the university sent an email to season ticket holders about additional OU – Texas tickets going up for sale, but… to get those tickets there was a catch.

Check it out:

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.

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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: