The board’s wordsmith at his best. Please do enjoy.
Oklahoma will enter next fall as the nation’s top-ranked football team, proving its status as a default national championship favorite when nobody else’s team looks all that strong on paper.
Somehow Landry Jones and a line made out of jumbo tight ends have turned the corner on ten years worth of Oklahoma’s road game woes. The Sooners’ last road win (outside of Okahoma) over a team that ended the season ranked? That would be 2000 against Kansas State. Gilding the lilly? Yes I am. Even Carey Murdock noticed Oklahoma’s road problems against Texas A&M last season. And when Carey M. throws his hands up in surrender, there is no more blustery battle to be had, friends.
The more reasonable analysts have pointed out that Oklahoma would be in position to play for a national title, even after a week two loss to Florida State. I could hedge for you. I could tell you that I’ve “heard” things about players working out well, when there would be no way to ever be proven wrong.
I might even tell you that if it ended today, DGB would probably be a Sooner, but that anything might still happen. I’d walk you right up to the faucet, help you with your grant applications, and take your campaign contributions. When the money didn’t come, sheeeee-iiiiiitttt, be patient pardna, cause you’ll need more than a rumble-tumble **** like Slim Charles to take me out.
So here’s 11 things that mostly bore me to tears, but less so than Women’s Soccer and labor negotiations…
11. Oklahoma’s ten commitments – Who gives a shit about this season? What about three seasons from now? Anybody else ready to just move on? Who is going to play quarterback after the guys who haven’t even played yet are done with their eligibility? How am I going to sleep at night knowing that the exact same thing that happens every year is happening again this year? My analysis of this class: one of the players has a 40-time almost as large as his “rivals rating.” I take it that’s probably not good.
10. Landry Jones’ Christian work ethic – So Landry Jones loves Jesus. Who doesn’t? Does he love Jesus like Tim Tebow loved Jesus? Does Landry love Tebow like Jesus loves Tebow? A real Christian who wanted to win a National Championship wouldn’t be out working hard this summer. A real Christian would be in Myanmar, bailing water off the coastline, rescuing orphans from rising sea levels. A real Christian would pay a documentary crew to film all of this for his Heisman video, and make tear-soaked speeches while the talented players on the team looked confusedly at their iPods.
9. Texas A&M – A lesser observer might expect some resemblance between Oklahoma on the road, and Oklahoma at home. It makes sense that most teams that crush ranked opponents would avoid putting up a circus tent every time the went on the road. Or maybe that the team that follows an opening kick return to the 9-yard-line with a bad snap for a safety, before surrendering a touchdown about 45 seconds after the safety punt … that this team might look completely inept no matter where they played. But this team is Oklahoma. The Aggies beat “road Oklahoma.” They will not beat “home Oklahoma.” Ask Johnny Jolly how hard they had to look for a moral victory the last time the Aggies tried to follow up a win over OU.
8. The Big 12 - I don’t ever really want to talk about it anymore. I see ads for the Texas Longhorn network every day in Austin. They look really cool. There’s dramatic music, and slow motion crowd shots, and shit … these ad people could make the holocaust look fun.
You let this happen David Boren. You could have killed it with one swipe of a pen, Joe C. But that’s okay, the greatest recruiting video ever produced is only being aired in the state of Texas on a goddamn loop. We’re going to have our own network too, right? Awesome. I bet it’s going to be backed by ESPN as well, right? Well, at least we’re making more money than those Pac-10 schools.
Son of a bitch.
7. The 50 front – This I like thinking about, actually. It was proactive, it was prescient. I applaud Bob Stoops for going out last summer to learn from the one guy who has most successfully stymied spread offenses for the last decade. This is the key element for the optimism that the 2011 team will succeed where the 2008 team failed. Some reporter might endeavor to ask what research Bob has done this summer. Obviously, he’s been in Italy, studying under World Cup winner Marcello Lippi. Lippi is a master of defensive soccer, and has been brought in to consult on how to get a former soccer player like Tom Wort to f***ing tackle anybody.
6. The skill talent - Landry is a better quarterback than Jason White. He has vaulted above Jason-clone status with his performance against Nebraska last year, and his similar not-going-in-the-tank throws against Oklahoma State. Recently, it’s been worth thought about whether Jones will have more talent around him in 2011 than White had in 2004. Obviously, the offensive lines don’t really compare.
However, in terms of skill talent, Jones may have a wider array of targets than any Oklahoma program, ever. White could hand the ball to a young Adrian Peterson, but to some extent, Peterson’s ability made OU’s offense more predictable. Jones is blessed with fleet-footed tight ends (of course I’m talking about T-Rat), the best fullback in program history, and a bevy of WRs and RBs who have flashed their own unique talents.
5. James Winchester – Call him the Marta of men’s long snapping. I can’t wait for this season. How will he deal with the pressure? Will he avoid the VD that will surely accompany his stardom. Can he ascend to the pantheon of great long snappers, or will Elin Winchester (nee Woods) chase him down a driveway with a kicking tee, ruining his legacy? Notre Dame is already offering junior long-snappers, trying to emulate Oklahoma’s muffed-punt-and-hustling-bastard defense. Apparently he can snap it right through the support leg of a film tower. What a prospect!
4. Gunnerial Green-Kielham – This saga makes me so tired. Can’t they see they’re in love? So I’ve been talking to someone. Someone who lived in Indiana until recently, and set me up with this chick who went to school in Missouri. I asked her about recruiting, and she said “who the shit is Gunner Kiel? Why aren’t you calling my friend back? Stop trying to change the subject.” This tells me that Gunner Kiel is probably going to want to avoid dating this girl. Of course that’s only a 35% chance. Plus she’s 27, so that’s technically rape in some states. Okay, 40% chance. So more a chance that it doesn’t happen than it does, but that’s still my prediction. That it will happen. But there’s a 60-65% chance that it won’t, also.
3. Preseason #1 – Yes, I’d also rather be #1 than … not #1. Still, it seems best if #1 is just a placeholder for an unnamed SEC team, TBD. Probably it will be Alabama or LSU. As if they really need a quarterback to win a national championship. Matt Mauck, Greg McElroy, and Matt Flynn beg to differ, and they do so erratically and without any real ability.
2. Other events in the news – So you can kill a baby in Florida. So you can, as a country, decide to just not send that check to your creditors. So we might be headed for a year without professional sports in America. When I can be reading tabloid rumors about 19-year olds who plan to shorten their life-expectancies for my entertainment, who really cares? This has been the longest offseason ever. I thought winning a bowl game was supposed to cure this hangover. It’s more like taking five quick shots before your coordination gives way from too much vodka-tonic. In retrospect, losing to Connecticut would have been so hilariously us. Oh Bob, you trickster.
1. Kickoff 2011 – Like a distant, glimmering mirage, football time in Oklahoma is almost back. We’re a juggernaut, which makes all of this fun. Ten wins is assumed, and the nits worth picking only stand between Oklahoma and trophies. The crowds will be huge and enthusiastic, the tradition will waft off of Owen Field, driving the program forward. One of the nine scholarship kickers will put his foot through the ball, sending it to the fifteen-yard-line (none of them can kick it to the endzone, of course), and most likely, Tulsa will return it for a touchdown.
Somewhere in the stands, I’ll be happily thinking: Son of a bitch.