Around the Big 12: Week 8

Last Week: 4-1

Overall: 26-9

Oh hey y’all. So about last week…I switched out my Texas prediction. Here’s the Twitter proof.

Anyways, the real problem with the Big 12 is starting to show. There aren’t enough middle ground teams to boost the overall record quality of the league’s record. Tech and WVU are both legitimate top 25 teams, but both aren’t good enough to beat the upper echelon of the conference, which will inevitably drop them out.

The cannibalization has started folks.

Kansas @ #4 TCU (TCU -39.0) 

This is the most bizarre series. Despite being one of the best teams in the Big 12 since joining, TCU hasn’t beaten Kansas by more than 14 points. Weird shit happens in these games, so roll with Kansas and the points. Hell, throw 50 cents at KU and the money line for shits and giggles. TCU, 41-24

Iowa State @ Texas Tech (Tech -7.0)

This is a tough one. While Tech has proven several times this season they aren’t the pushover they used to be, Iowa State has the more impressive win. Fortunately for Iowa State this is an 11 AM so there is about a 10% chance the town of Lubbock will be awake in time for kickoff. Iowa State, 38-35

#23 West Virginia @ Baylor (WVU -9.5)

Baylor continues to melt down. I don’t even know what to say here. WVU, 56-14

#10 Oklahoma State @ Texas (OSU -7.0)

This is a sneaky good game! With a loss here, Texas’ season goes into full meltdown mode. On the flipside, any playoff hopes (and Big 12 title hopes?) are over for the Pokes if they lose this in Austin. Tom Herman finally gets his big win. Texas, 48-42

#9 Oklahoma @ Kansas State (OU -14.0)

 

I was really worried about this one in preseason. This just seemed like a good year for Kansas State, with the strong finish last season against A&M and a solid overall regular season performance.

But on closer examination, this team really isn’t anything special at all.

Trap games for OU now are about blown coverages and weird schemes. K-State doesn’t have a breakout receiver or linebacker at quarterback. They have officially run out of Lockett brothers. This game will be perfect for OU to right the ship. OU, 31-3.

Dallas

There really isn’t anything quite like Oklahoma and Texas on the second Saturday in October. Everyone will tell you that until you are blue in the face, but seriously there is nothing quite like it.

That being said, after 10 of them, I might be starting to wear out on the game. At least, until next summer when I book my AirBNB for round 11 or when i’m sitting at home with the biggest case of FOMO.

Sure, the whole experience is incredible and special. But honestly, year after year of fighting the crowds, inexplicably using weird paper tickets instead of cash or card and dealing with the madness of it all is exhausting.

The magic is wearing off and that’s a little depressing.


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There are three types of OU-Texas people: the Thursday people (mostly DFW folks going home early; sometimes they are just loaded), the Friday people (most common group; this is the best way to get a good amount of the weekend) and the Saturday people (old people missing out on Friday night, which is half the fun).

I’m a Friday person, mainly due to wanting to save money, so Derielle and I headed up early. Most of my sports road trips are either me and Derielle or me and random friend, so this was a bit of a classic trip.

After the early morning drive down I-35 (the most exciting part was figuring out how improved Denton traffic is), we made a straight shot to a Dallas barbecue joint called The Slow Bone, a name that gets dirtier every second more I think about it. The ‘cue wasn’t too bad; I had a standard chopped brisket sandwich and some Lone Stars. You definitely get a solid amount of food for what you pay for.

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As is tradition for Derielle and I trips, the next move was naturally, a brewery. The aim this time was Deep Ellum Brewing, a brewery named and inspired by the eccentric district it calls home. Deep Ellum is one of the banner craft breweries in the DFW area, so I was excited to give it a try.

The brewery and taproom itself is massive and looks something straight out of Mad Max. They may or may not have had a Thunderdome. Not only that, they had a full sized kitchen service, something legally impossible here in Oklahoma.

As for the beer, most of Deep Ellum’s offerings are of the IPA variety. As it was 4 PM, we had to stay relatively sober and both opted for blonde lagers (I got the impression that flights aren’t really a thing here) with Derielle having the ultra-popular Dallas Blonde. I would strongly recommend it if you ever come across it next time you cross the River.


img_3396After getting a buzz going, we met up with some of our friends at a solid burger place called Slater’s 50/50, mostly because it had the same name as Slater, one of the members of our crew (also an Ohio State road-tripper). The conversation was good, the beer was good (something called a Mr. Wiggles Double Dank IPA) and the burger was half-beef half-bacon, resulting in something that kinda tasted like ham. Which isn’t bad, it just was totally different.

The best thing about Red River Friday nights are the Bar Tabs. For those not in the know, some organizations will rent out venues and put a portion of their dues into paying for the drinks of the group. They are pretty great events that get your crew all in the same place. I don’t know about you, but friends always are cooler when you see them in different towns.

Oh, and the drinks are paid for. That’s more than nice.

This year’s venue was at HG Sply Co., which is an artsy way to say HG Supply Co. This place was a perfect bar tab location; big open rooftop bar and patio with plenty of space for your crowd. Unfortunately, my organization may have over invited, so our tab was drained quickly. But not without obtaining a solid ass buzz!

The next move was Uptown. As far as where in Uptown, we didn’t know. So me and our inner circle wandered around until we found The Common Pour, a little corner bar that didn’t have a line halfway to Fort Worth. There, we found the Mother of all Moscow Mules, a 120 dollar behemoth to be split by 6. I mean, look at this thing.

After battling through the copper mugged monstrosity, Derielle and I were about done. We retreated back to the AirBNB (not without taking the worst Lyft ride of all time around Dallas) and called it a night.


The next morning, we were both very drunk. My dumbass continued to drink more Crown Royal, as our coupon count was limited and I didn’t want to blow everything on wax cup beers. After my mini-pregame, it was off to the Fair via DART, the Dallas lightrail system. Things went pretty well, until Derielle and I realized we had made a mistake.

Everyone beat us there.

Turns out, you have to change your definition of early when OU-Texas kicks at 2:30 and not 11. More people do the Fair three hours before kick, because three hours before kick doesn’t mean 8 AM. It was a madhouse.

Luckily, we can prepared with our pre-bought coupons and skipped the Coupon lines entirely. The problem then was finding a properly quick Corny Dog line. Which of course, there was none. After a valiant search, we settled for a less enormous line in front of the Cotton Bowl.

We toiled through that line like Soviets waiting for a bowl of potato soup. At least the Soviets weren’t melting in Texas heat. I emerged with two Corny Dogs and a beer, and suddenly the world was blissful again.

And then it was gametime. We spent all our fair time getting a Corny Dog. No regrets here.

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The game itself was the spectacle as advertised. Honestly, it was the first time this game felt like a blood rivalry in years; both sides were confident. Despite the heat, we trudged on through and emerged from the Cotton Bowl exhausted, just like the other 90 thousand people inside.

Going out after OU-Texas is a myth. Especially with the 2:30 kickoff, there is no damn way to do it. You can’t squeeze in a nap before and it takes forever to get out via DART, which unfortunately we did. We spent the whole time, exhausted, waiting in line and wishing we just stayed to see the free Pat Green concert. Once Derielle and I got back, we ordered a pizza and called it quits for the trip.

The next morning, we took one last look at the Dallas skyline. Halfway through the season and this season long road trip, I realized this season was at a crossroads. A return to the DFW in December seemed so far away, but something felt like this wasn’t the last time we’d be in town this season.

 

Game Week: Kansas State

Alright, has everyone sobered up and caught their breath from this weekend? Cool. Back to the season.

After a wild, wild week in college football that showed shades of 2007, the Sooners are right back in this thing. The goal now is to win each week and avoid trap games.

Of course, here comes the biggest trap of them all, Bill Snyder and Kansas State in Manhattan. While my K-State dark horse Big 12 title run prediction isn’t panning out great, the Wildcats pose a threat to sneak up on flawed team coming off a big win. Oklahoma has a ton of issues; blowing leads and defense to name a few.

billWho are the Wildcats?

I have no idea what to think about these motherfuckers. Kansas State isn’t like most of the Big 12; they run offense like the year is 1940 and have a defense that stronger than most in the conference. Some weeks the offense shows up, the next it’s stuck in the mud. Not only that, the Wildcats don’t have a good win yet. So far they have only beaten teams that have yet to win a game (Charlotte, Baylor) or teams that play on purple and grey field turf (Central Arkansas). They’ve played teams tight in losses, but is this team actually good?

2016ksu.jpgLast Time We Met: October 15th, 2016 in Norman. OU 38, K-State 17

Sometimes, being a good defense just isn’t enough in the Big 12. That was very clear last season for Kansas State.

Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook had themselves a field day against the Wildcats, with Mayfield shredding them for 346 yards and four touchdowns, two of which to fellow Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook. Westbrook finished with 184 yards on 9 touches, including a huge 88 yard touchdown highlighting his massive day.

The Oklahoma offense just toyed with the Wildcats for the second straight year, outscoring K-State 93-17 since Oklahoma’s gut-wrenching home loss in 2014.

Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium:

Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium (Or just BSFMS, because damn that’s a mouthful) is set in a different type of environment than i’ve seen so far this season. It isn’t on a river, in an urban setting, the heart of campus or a state fair. It’s in a goddamn field. From what I distantly remember about the 2011 Kansas State 7 on 7 football camp, campus itself is elongated across two miles with the stadium sitting directly to the north.

The stadium itself is a solid mid sized stadium with the base attendance sitting at 55,000. A renovation was completed in 2013, so it’s not a dump by any means. KState Map.png

The visiting section is hard to identify. There isn’t anything written anywhere that I could find on the internet, but after looking at some crowd photos it seems to be in section 16. Which honestly really isn’t too bad as far as visiting sections go. clearbag.jpg

Strong heads up for anyone going into the game; security is tight. Aside from going through metal detectors (that means use a plastic flask), K-State employs the NFL style clear bag policy. However, you can just use a big ass ziplock freezer bag, so it shouldn’t too difficult to deal with if you are prepared, which after reading this, you now are.

Parking/Transit: 

Much to my surprise, they actually have Uber in Manhattan, Kansas! That being said, this is one the most park-able stadiums i’ve ever seen. Because BSFMS has an absurd amount of space around it, there are parking spots galore, including $20 general admission parking. This might be the move.

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Off the Field:

For pregaming purposing on Friday night or Saturday afternoon, hit up Aggieville, the popular bar and shopping district near campus. Tallgrass Brewing is headquartered in Manhattan and has some pretty good offerings, if you are into the brewery scene. Considering the amount of parking space, classic tailgating also might not be a bad option. Either way, there is plenty going on in Manhattan on gameday.

Quick Reaction: Texas

It never is easy, is it?

OU slugged out a win in the Red River Shootout today in one of the closest games i’ve seen in the Rivalry. The Sooners looked very similar to the past few weeks; fast start, offense slows down, the opposing team comes back and it goes down to the wire. Thankfully, the Sooners got a point in the win column today.

  • The defense stepped up today when it mattered most. Unless it was a quarterback run, in which the Sooners looked hopeless.
  • Speaking of mobile QB’s, how bad would Baker torch this OU defense? Be reaaaaal thankful for Kliff Kingsbury.
  • The offense was relatively stagnant once they got close to scoring range. This is becoming an obnoxious pattern.
  • Texas is way better than 3-3. That defense is solid and Ehlinger is a way better quarterback than Buchele. Considering this is the first Big 12 loss for the Horns, I wouldn’t count them out to weasel into the Big 12 title.
  • Count me in on 2:30 kickoffs. Aside from the heat, it worked really well.
  • Texas fans have become hilariously tolerant with mediocrity.

MVP: Baker Mayfield. Despite some early shakiness, Mayfield was calm in the clutch and came through when the Sooners really needed it. Honestly i’m tired, on the DART and little hungover so i’m just writing cliches.

LVP: The DART. I feel like i’m packed in a cattle train. It’s brutal.

Up next: On the road at Kansas State.

Around the Big 12: Week 7

Last Week: 3-1

Overall: 22-8

Big shakeup week in the Big 12 last week. Everything is completely out of wack. Iowa State winning is Norman is one of the most confounding things i’ve seen in my life. Texas Tech is ranked. TCU and Texas would be in the Big 12 title if it started today. Things simply don’t make sense anymore in this league and honestly six teams probably have an outside chance at winning this thing at this point. What a time to be a Big 12 fan (OU fans not included).

Kansas @ Iowa State (ISU -20.5) 

Iowa fucking State.  After looking insanely blah against Texas, turns out all this team needed was an iron man quarterback-linebacker, a solid backup and a shitty secondary to play against. They have another shitty secondary to torch this week. ISU, 35-17

#24 Texas Tech @ West Virginia (WVU -3.5)

High powered offenses and heavy drinkers collide! It’s a damn shame these two schools are so far away, because seeing Red Raiders in Morgantown would be a beautiful shitshow. The game will be a battle for #24 as Texas Tech hopes to hold on to their first Top 25 ranking in over four years. The ranking lives another day. Tech, 45-42

Baylor @ #14 Oklahoma State (OSU -25.5)

Baylor just can’t catch a break. I really do think they’ll get a game eventually, but not against a rested and reenergized Mason Rudolph and Oklahoma State. OSU, 56-13.

#6 TCU @ Kansas State (TCU -4.5)

The new team to beat in the Big 12 heads up north to face a trap game in Manhattan. This game will be a slugfest for TCU as Kansas State is a scrappy team that can sneak up on anyone in any week. I think the Frogs narrowly escape the Purple Bowl, but not without a serious scare from the Wildcats. TCU, 28-24

#12 Oklahoma vs Texas (OU -7.5)

I have no idea what to think of this Oklahoma team. On one hand, they play with a fire under their ass when they are doubted. On the other hand, they look flat out lazy against teams they think they should roll over and guess what? They got beat in the biggest point spread upset in school history.

So, what does the team do Monday? They go into their press conference and start talking about their goddamn playoff chances again! YOU JUST LOST TO IOWA STATE AND HAVE YOUR BIGGEST RIVAL TEXAS THIS WEEK. I know I made a pledge to be positive, but damn. The playoffs should be the farthest thing from their mind. Looking ahead is what got your dumbasses in this spot in the first place. Texas is a good team. Go out and beat Texas and i’ll pick the Sooners again. Prove this irrelevant and angry blogger wrong. Texas, 35-31

How to do the State Fair of Texas

It’s everyone’s least favorite tradition. After a night of blackout debauchery, your ass wakes up to some shrill alarm on the floor of some hotel room you and the boys booked for “four” people, just five hours after getting back from the bars (assuming you didn’t detour).  It’s 7 AM, you are hungover as shit and need to cram in a shower and pregame all with enough time to make it to the Fair.

Once you get there, after a few delays from that one straggler who takes an hour to get ready, there’s hardly time to grab a wax cup beer before kickoff. So you go into the Cotton Bowl. Once you finish the emotional roller coaster that is The Shootout, there is no energy left in your body to do anything else. Between dealing with the heat and the super hangover that has formed, your options are basically go get food and nap. On top of that, most Shootout Saturday nights don’t survive the postgame lull.

Thankfully, this season is different. Joe Castiglione and the powers that be have graced us with the rare and mythical 2:30 PM kickoff. This changes the game; now you don’t have to skip the pregame to get everything out of your State Fair experience. The State Fair of Texas is one of the great wonders of college football. However, you need to know how to do the fair right to maximize your time. Here’s what you need to know, from a dork that usually wakes up at 6 AM to make sure he makes the Fair.

Coupons

The first thing and most important to know about the Fair is none of the vendors accept cards or cash. What you’ll need instead are Coupons, these weird little tickets sold in massive strips. Each coupon is worth 50 cents, so you’ll want to load up. For example, one beer is worth 12 Coupons, so don’t worry if you feel like you overbought. If anyone is trying to give any extras, take that shit. Even if you don’t use them, Coupons roll over annually so you can save for next year, if you play your cards right. If you want, you can even go ahead and get some right now and skip the line.

Food

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While some of the most insane food creations in the world can be found here, let me implore you to skip the temptation of items like the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso burger. The best food item here is the Fletcher’s Corny Dog. Now, the Corny Dog is not to be confused with the generic, average corn dogs found throughout the Fair. This piece of heaven on a stick has been around for 75 years and is, hands down, the greatest food item I can think of right now. The lines are long, but missing out on this experience would leave your OU-Texas weekend incomplete. The main Fletcher’s stand is right under Big Tex, the massive talking cowboy statue that’s impossible to miss, but there are plenty around Fair Park with shorter lines. Price: 12 Coupons

Update: Beer prices vary, but there is one mythical stand with 6 Coupon beers. You can get Coors Banquet, Coors Light, Miller Lite, PBR and Lone Star. You should be able to find it here on the map.

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Now, once you’ve had your Corny Dog, you have one or two options for the rest of your Coupons. Either spend them on beer (my personal call) or try out some of the more exotic food options. Such as the aforementioned Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger. This burger won Big Tex Choice Awards for Most Creative and Best Taste in the Savory category. I think the name and photo speaks for itself. Price: 24 Coupons

fishbowl

If you aren’t into the above cardiac nightmare described above, there are plenty of other great options. The Best Taste winner in the Sweet Category is an alcoholic fishbowl with Nerds and Swedish Fish that looks vastly better than the ones on Bourbon Street. The price is steep as hell, so personally i’d lean towards downing some cheaper wax cup beers. Price: 24 Coupons.

There are several other solid looking options on the Big Tex Choice Awards list, all of which mapped out on this Google Map from GuideLive.com.

What To See and Do:

There are tons of Fair things to see and do here, most of them you can do at any fair. Whatever you want to do is your choice, but there are a few solid moves that I endorse. If you have are an obnoxious beer snob like myself, check out the Magnolia Beer Garden. This place has an expansive selection of beer from across Texas and the world. If you want to attempt to look cultured to your girlfriend/group of friends, head over to the Wine Garden, which features over 40 wineries from the State of Texas.

If you want to stick to wax cup Coors Light, more power to you. There are attractions for those that don’t want to just drink, but hey, that’s not me. The Texas Star, a 200+ foot ferris wheel that ranks as the third largest in the nation, is a trip that could be pretty cool. But I’d prefer to spend my time on the ground and drinking.

After the game, legendary Texas country artist Pat Green will be performing a free concert at 8:30. This could be important to some (@ Mike Bussow), but with the show starting so late, it probably won’t be an option for too many as it cuts into bar time.

Map:

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Game Week: Red River Shootout

It’s time to throw out all the records. Forget the Iowa State loss, forget Heisman hopes, forget recovering in the Playoff hunt, forget the Big 12 race. The only thing that matters is keeping that damn Golden Hat. The only thing that matters this week is beating the fucking Longhorns in the Red River Shootout (Not Red River Rivalry or Showdown; Shootout is the coolest name and the only one recognized by The Schooner Blog; OU-Texas is an okay substitute).

In a weird way, this loss has given an edge to a rivalry that has gotten stale the past few years. Since Texas has been a complete trash heap the past few years, the general feeling going into the game is “OU should blow them out, anything less than that is a massive letdown”. And, as OU has done the past four season, they usually allow Texas to play them closer than the records reflect. Not only that, but they have split the series at 2-2, despite always being ranked higher than the Longhorns. Even when OU would win, there was a different air to the victory. Beating Texas should be a triumph, not a relief.

Now, Texas has returned to being somewhat respectable. With Oklahoma’s mystifying loss last weekend, this feels like a high stakes matchup once again.

Who are the Longhorns?

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As a Sooner fan, these guys are simply the absolute worst. Just seeing the burnt orange steer logo makes my stomach churn. Even though Texas Football has become a bit of a meme in recent years, I can’t help but think of Vince Young, the Shipley and McCoy (especially fucking Case) brothers and all those 2000’s Texas teams. The echo of the Texas side yelling “Give ’em hell, give ’em hell, OU SUCKS” after so many Texas touchdowns is probably etched into my brain forever.

This season’s Texas team appears to have made a turn towards the better, even with the hilarious home loss to Maryland (seems a lot less hilarious right now honestly). On top of the big moral victory at USC, Texas is actually beating teams they should beat now, a step up for the program. Hell, if the season ended today, they would be in Arlington facing TCU in the Big 12 Championship.

New head coach Tom Herman seems to have found his quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, who showed out in clutch performances against USC and Kansas State. The Texas defense looks like one of the best in the Big 12. Two losses be damned, this is a good Longhorn team and one to be feared.

Last Time We Met: October 8th, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. OU 45, UT 40

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As is recent tradition in the Red River Shootout, this one lived up the name. After a slow start and two questionable interceptions, Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense rolled over Texas with Dede Westbrook exploding for 235 yards and three touchdowns. The only problem with this is Texas’ offense was able to capitalize off the two interceptions as well as the two additional fumbles Oklahoma lost, as well as breaking off several big plays on the Sooners. Eventually, OU was able to hold off the Longhorns, but not before a bizarre last ditch lateral attempt that might have lasted an hour.

Friday Night:

One of the best nights of the year as a Sooner. Some believe this is where the real battle is one. There are endless options in Dallas, but I recommend Uptown as the place to be. Whatever you do, do something. The only way to screw this one up is to do stay in bed and do nothing.

The State Fair of Texas:

One of the best and most unique traditions in college football is walking through the awesomeness that is the State Fair of Texas. In case you live under a rock or just aren’t aware, the Cotton Bowl is located right in the middle of the Fair, meaning you need to go into the fair to get to the game. Unless you have a heart of stone or the biggest cynic on Earth, you will want to explore this place. Tailgates and getting blackout drunk are fun and all, but the atmosphere of the State Fair is one of the best parts of OU-Texas weekend; so good, that it’s getting it’s own article. Look for that later.

Cotton Bowl Stadium:

These days, the good old Cotton Bowl doesn’t get much use. With the super-flashy AT&T Stadium in Arlington taking most of the big local games in Dallas (including the Cotton Bowl game, literally named after this stadium), the main purpose for this behemoth of a stadium is to host the Red River Shootout. That being said, this game being anywhere but here is a both a sin and probably inevitable. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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This is the easiest seating map to explain. OU fans are always on the South end of the stadium, Texas fans are always on the North end (with weird little pockets of Sooner fans at the top and bottom of section 117 to make up for displaced seats in the 2008 renovation). I HIGHLY recommend trying to get on the OU end. In high school, me and some friends arrogantly got tickets in the Texas endzone because

  1. they were cheaper
  2. we thought we would kill them

It was a disaster. The 3-2, unranked Longhorns (hmm.) ROLLED all over the #12 Sooners (HMM.) in one a frustrating loss for an Oklahoma team that started out with promise after a big non-conference win (HMMMMMMMMM). The thought of Case McCoy wearing the Golden Hat never fails to make me bitter.

Learn from my mistakes. Just sit on the South side.

Transit:

txougamedayservicemap.pngWhatever you do, DO NOT DRIVE. Not only is traffic driving into Fair Park is the 8th circle of hell, but parking is overpriced and located in one of the worst areas of Dallas. If you are staying in Downtown Dallas, Fair Park is a hike. I recommend using the DART light rail system to get to the game. You can get a day pass for just 5 bucks so you don’t even need to worry about high Uber and Lyft surges. Plus, they route the trains intentionally to focus on the heavy OU-Texas traffic area, so it’s easily the best option.