Friday Pre-Bar Primer: UTEP

Time: 2:30 CT

Network: FOX (really?)

Line: OU (-43.0)

The long wait is finally over. It’s time to crack open some 11 AM beers, hit the tailgates (for all 12 of you that got a spot) and get ready for a tradition unlike any other: the season opening cupcake team.

I’m a big superstition guy and nothing spooks me more than the big game opener. OU always comes out flat in hyped up openers, like Houston last season, making UTEP a welcome opening game for both players and fans. The players don’t have to worry about starting 0-1 and the only thing I have to worry about blacking out and missing USC-Florida State.

The goal for OU is pretty simple. Figure out what you can do in a live game situation and get Baker rest for next weekend. We’ll start to see how much we should be concerned about the wide receiving corps and how good the corners like Parnell Motley are. While UTEP won’t deliver a true picture on how good OU will be, we’ll see what to be worried about next weekend in Columbus.

UTEP doesn’t have a lot going for them. The poor SOB’s only won four games last season and play in a town known for drug trafficking, a salsa brand, and an old Marty Robbins song. Their best player is an offensive lineman. What a bummer.

Fortunately for the Miners, they’ll get a massive payout for volunteering to be the Sooners pre-Ohio State warm up. And while the football won’t be great, nothing is quite like a good day at Owen Field with a solid buzz and a Sooner blowout. Welcome back, football.

Prediction: OU 52, UTEP 6, everyone leaves at halftime.

12 Big Season Predictions That Will Be 100% Accurate

It’s been a long wait, but it’s finally game week in Oklahoma. Thanks to two early losses last season, it’s been nearly a year since the Sooners have been in contention for anything bigger than a mediocre crystal bowl or a women’s gym natty. That being said, it’s time for some high stakes football again. So to open this season, here are 10 predictions that will probably be as accurate as this article’s title.

1. Baker Loses Another Heisman

But he’ll get close again! Baker will have another great season, but his numbers won’t be as good as last season. Pair that with the already piss poor reputation of Big 12 defenses and we have a narrative that could sink this campaign.

2. Rodney Anderson has a breakout season

As is tradition, OU will reload it’s running back core this season. Losing two highly talented and experienced backs in Samaj Perine and Joe Mixon will be a blow early on, especially in Columbus. Abdul Adams should be a more than capable back in relief, but I think Rodney Anderson will have a huge impact come midseason.

3. OU beats Ohio State

This is where things get weird. I believe Ohio State is a better team on paper than OU. They are at home and they have Urban Meyer against rookie head coach Lincoln Riley. The game last season illustrated just how wide the physical athletic gap was in terms of speed and size, mainly on the defensive side. So, how do the Sooners bridge that gap in a year? My bet is that Riley throws convention out the window, and gets real weird with the playbook. One of Riley’s best traits as a playcaller is his ability to throw out crafty plays that use players in unconventional ways. I have a weird feeling that if this game gets close, the Sooners have an edge just on sheer ballsiness. Weird stuff happens in college football. That being said…

4. They miraculously lose at K-State for some reason.

21st century OU football seasons usually go one of two ways. Some years, they shit the bed early, get out of the national title conversation and through one way or the other, win the Big 12, go to a decent bowl game and then ride off into the offseason (I.E. 2006, 2010, 2016). Those are okay, at least my expectations as a spoiled fan are changed early enough to mentally settle for another Big 12 title. However, the seasons that piss me off are the ones where OU starts out on fire, beats a good team early on, shoots up to the top 5 and then collapses against a random ass team (2007 & 2011 Tech, 2015 Texas). Given the timing (right after the Red River Shootout), the opponent (The Manhattan Wizard) and it being away from Norman, I think the Sooners slip here.

5. Chix and Styx is going to be a terrible bar (RIP Chimy’s)

Honestly i’m not opposed to a wing place on Campus Corner and the old Chimy’s layout is almost too great to fail. BUT HOW AND WHY WOULD ANYONE NAME IT THIS. It’s impossible for me to have any optimism that Chix and Styx will even remotely fill the shoes of the GOAT, Chimy’s. Bring back the legendary DP Shootouts from the Chimy’s era and then we can talk success.

6. Kyler Murray Will Play a Decently Major Role

I have no idea how, but I just have a feeling Lincoln Riley finds a way to get one of the best athletes on roster on the field this season. This one is a pure hunch, clearly some seriously well thought out Journalism here at The Schooner.

7. Some drunk dude in the student section will call for Lincoln Riley’s head after the first offensive drive

And then promptly ask his friends if they want to go to Logie’s, which they will probably do.

8. OU avenges its one loss in the Big 12 Championship

The Sooners always seem to heat up in the second half of the season, and that’s what I think happens here. The young receiving corps will grow up by the time the bigger back half games come around. After taking a theoretical loss to K-State earlier in the year, holes and issues should be covered up enough for OU to take home Big 12 Title #11.

9. OU makes the Playoff

This one is going to be tight again. There will be three one loss teams; OU, USC and Ohio State. The problem? Alabama has two losses and gets in over one of them. It’ll be some crazy shit, but the Big 12 finally catches a break and adding the Big 12 Championship somehow pays off. However…

10. The season ends against USC in the Rose Bowl

Just our luck right? Well knock on some damn wood because somehow we’ll end up playing the hometown team, as is tradition. Unlike 2004, this will be a close game. Sam Darnold vs. Baker will be an all time duel, but it just isn’t enough. Baker Mayfield walks off like so many other all time great Sooner quarterbacks before him; title-less. That being said, the new direction Lincoln Riley turns the program in leaves an optimistic end for the Sooners.

Or maybe not, idk I just started this blog a day ago 🤷🏼‍♂️

Why I Am Doing This

“This shit can’t be happening”

Perched high atop Amon G. Carter Stadium, two rows from the top, in some seats TCU stuck us poor Sooner fans in, reality was about to set in. Fucking TCU was about to sink our season.

It was my first year at OU, and the Sooners were poised for a Playoff run. One of my best friends from high school went to TCU after we graduated, so naturally I made the trip down to visit my old friend. It was early October, so i’d gotten pretty familiar with my new home in Norman.

As much as I love OU and Norman, that first experience at TCU was wild. Local restaurants, traditions, tailgating style, it was all so different. Talking with other fans, exchanging stories and experiences was almost like a cultural study. Think Study Abroad, but for drinking and football.

Things didn’t end well for the Sooners that day. Trevor threw the ball into the expensive seats, and all my new friends rushed onto the field to celebrate toppling number 3. My phone died, but not without capturing the spirit of that day for me.

Post TCU

Of course, Blake felt differently.

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Distraught, lost, with a deceased phone and my only friend in the city still on the field, I wandered out of Amon G. Carter crushed. As soon as I walked out of my gate, I ran into Gus Johnson (The GOAT) who was calling the game that day. I told him how much of a rough game it was, and he responded, “Oh I know, it must have been. But games like that are what make this game great”.

Gus was right. As crushing as that was, I knew a win would come along that would make me feel as happy as those TCU fans. And nothing is better than beating the odds, out numbered, on the road. I was hooked on sports travel. I vowed that night to eventually make it to every game in a single year before I graduated.

I’ve been to many strange places since that October afternoon. I’ve seen OU break Baylor’s grasp on the Big 12 in Waco. I’ve been to the College Football Playoff. I’ve been to Lubbock twice and avenged the TCU loss. I pre-gamed a game on Bourbon Street. But i’ve never completed a season.

Well, that year is this one. And i’m telling my story here. Welcome to The Schooner Blog, my ambitious project to tackle six towns, six games, and anywhere the Sooners take me. I’ll try the best foods, best drinks, and experience what makes each town as special as Norman. This is going to be a wild ride, but I hope you enjoy it.