Delay of Recap: Alabama

So as quickly as it came, the 2018 Oklahoma football season is now over, with the Sooners yet again losing in the College Football Playoff Semifinals, this time at the hands of Alabama. The Tide quickly jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Sooners digging them into a hole that they simply could not climb out of. Let’s cut straight to the notes.

  • The game was over at 28-0. While I love the fight the Sooners put up to get this game close, you need to be flawless to beat Alabama and collapsing the way Oklahoma did early will doom anyone. You can’t have field goals, simple as that. Is it fair? No. But it was our only chance.
  • Alabama’s defensive strategy was simply brilliant. Putting immense initial pressure on Kyler and the Oklahoma offense clearly rattled them as they weren’t able to get any rhythm until the second quarter and the game was out of hand.
  • While the OU comeback was impressive, Alabama clearly moved into conservative mode after 28-0. The blitz wasn’t as hard as it did early, the pressure wasn’t the same and offensively the Tide focused on methodically moving the football instead of continuing to go for the throat.
  • You can’t blame the offense at all for this. The task was tall: Alabama’s defense is some of the toughest I’ve ever seen. Once the Sooner offense got in a rhythm, they looked as good as they have all season. Unfortunately, it came too late.
  • This defense was as bad as we thought it was. Tua and co. dissected them better than any we’ve seen this season. Physically, they were completely outclassed, an advantage highlighted most in Bama tailback Josh Jacobs’ touchdown run stamped by an absolute plowing of Robert Barnes. The D-line was hapless against the Tide’s offensive line. The corners? Just as bad as ever. Alabama, when they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot, got whatever they wanted. The best news? This defensive staff is done. Looking forward to the new era already.
  • Outside of Kyler scrambles, the running game was decent. It’s hard to move the ball on the ground against Bama and honestly, I was impressed at times with how Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks ran.
  • Tua was really impressive, but seriously I think a lot of his success has to do with the juggernaut of a team he has behind him. Tagovailoa is an incredible player and it’s clear that he puts Alabama in a tier we’ve never seen before. But was he the reason the Tide made the Playoff? Not at all.
  • Welcome to the party, Charleston Rambo. What an incredible touchdown pass from Kyler.
  • He was clearly hurt, so I don’t feel comfortable giving him LVP, but not having Hollywood Brown at full strength was devastating. The bailout Hollywood Hail Mary is such a major factor for the OU offense and missing him at full strength was a killer. Four targets, four drops, just won’t do.
  • I can’t get over what could have happened if that fumbled goes the other way. Maybe we get hit with a safety but damn…hard not to think things would be different.
  • Everyone has stated this, but Alabama and Clemson are clearly a cut above everyone else and that just sucks. Recruiting has improved at OU, but defensively the Sooners just aren’t there yet athlete-wise.
  • At least Flo-Rida was pretty cool.
  • Through all of it, despite the 28 point hole, didn’t it seem like OU was one crucial play away from making this thing really interesting? If the Sooners got even one of those onside kicks, I think the offense would deliver.
  • The overarching theme of the past few seasons is showing just how close OU is to winning it all. They are almost there and each year they seem to get closer. I’ve said it before plenty of times on The Schooner Pod that the Sooner teams you are seeing now are just the tip of the iceberg, that these are simply just teams that are laying the groundwork. For years, the College Football Playoff has probably been the ceiling for the Sooners, so long as they are playing Clemson or Alabama. But with a few more high-level classes and some more time for young players like Kennedy Brooks, Charleston Rambo and Bookie Radley-Hiles to develop, this team will be a force. Don’t forget the optimism of Early Signing Day: the guys that will put the program into the next level are coming. Our championship window isn’t closing, it’s actually just now opening.

MVP: Kyler Murray

In his final game as a Sooner, Kyler Murray went down swinging. After taking the initial haymaker, Murray regained his composure and put on the most impressive quarterback performance of the night. Kyler showed his immense value this season by racking up 400+ total yards and three touchdowns. He laid it all on the line tonight and should be remembered as one of the most electric playmakers in Oklahoma history. He’ll be missed.

LVP: Me

I don’t believe in curses or that attending games actually has an impact on the outcome, but damn does it seem like Miami has it out for me. Between 2005, 2009, 2015 and now 2018 OU and the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder, I’ve experienced more woe in that forsaken town.

It’s more than just the games; this trip marked the second straight time a confusing and frustrating event occurred that led to a Top 5 worst night. In 2015, my friends and I were conned out of hundreds of dollars by a sketchy South Beach restaurant (good riddance, La Baguette). This year, we were dealt one of the worst hands of my life when one of my friends lost the keys to his car which we took to the game from Plano, leaving us stranded in the Hard Rock Stadium parking lot for hours. After getting it towed to the dealership, we later found that it would be a couple days before we could get a replacement key.

So here I am, on an unexpected and expensive flight to Oklahoma City, saying the very same words I said in 2015 with zero percent confidence: never again, Miami.

Up Next: The offseason. Time for basketball, Avengers: Endgame, the final season of Game of Thrones and graduation.

Alabama thumps Oklahoma, ends season, 45-34

I just….ugh. It’s been a long night.

This has been a really memorable season, but this team clearly wasn’t national championship caliber. There are brighter things on the horizon for the Sooners; this is just the beginning.

Congrats to the Alabama Crimson Tide on the win.

Full article coming tomorrow.

The Schooner Pod: Orange Bowl

It’s finally time: the Orange Bowl is Saturday. The Sooners face their toughest challenge yet in the Crimson Tide and the guys are ready to break down the injury news, Alabama’s biggest threats, OU’s path to an upset, our predictions for the game and more.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts and rate us five stars! If you like our stuff, please consider donating to our Patreon so we can help put out more and better content. As always, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest Schooner Blog and Schooner Pod content delivered right to you. 

Game Week: The Orange Bowl (Alabama)

You always want games like this.

Nobody gets hyped to see your team thump some hapless scrubs from a directional college or the resident conference cellar dweller. At a school like Oklahoma, especially during a run like this, you almost expect to win every game. We are just cut from a different cloth than most programs.

Alabama is not one of those programs.

The Sooners and Crimson Tide can go toe to toe on almost any category. These two programs are as prestigious as any you can find in the sport. We are the big boys, the bullies, the despised schools that roll into town and ruin your tailgate and laugh at your upset hopes.

Alabama, however, hasn’t just been the bully of the SEC; they’ve dominated the sport for a decade and look to be far from finished. Kyler Murray and the Sooners have a unique opportunity ahead of themselves to have a chance to defy the odds, topple the Tide and prevent the dynasty from consuming yet another season.

Ever since the Sooners took out Alabama in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, there has been an underlying sense of longing for a rematch on a championship level stage. Considering that Alabama struggles against great quarterbacks, the thought of seeing a Lincoln Riley offense unleashed on Bama made OU fans salivate. Yet every year since the stars failed to align – until now.

You want Bama? You got them on Saturday.

bama-title

Meet the Crimson Tide:

Alabama football under Nick Saban has put together a decade of success the likes of which we’ve never seen before in this sport. The Crimson Tide have not just been good; they’ve been transcendent. Cold, calculating and systematic, they acquire number one recruiting classes and national championships in droves.

With a ruthless offense to match their deadly defense, Alabama is a team with few flaws. While their schedule hasn’t been the toughest, the way they dispatch opponents with ease turns the legs to jelly. I don’t need to say much about these guys other than they are firmly the real deal.

how-tua-tagovailoa-went-from-hawaiian-star-to-backup-quarterback-to-alabamas-national-championship-hero

Who to Watch For:

QB #13 Tua Tagovailoa

Has there ever been a more obvious “who to watch for” than Tua Tagovailoa? Throughout most of the season, Tagovailoa was the clear clubhouse leader in the Heisman Trophy race before our very own Kyler Murray nudged out ahead of him in the final weeks of the season. Tagovailoa might be one of the best quarterbacks we’ve seen in college football in a long time, with elite size, arm strength, and all-time great efficiency.

While Tua had a bit of a dip in production in his final few games, he was hindered by an ankle injury, which he had surgery on following the SEC Championship. From all available reports, he should be healthy and ready for the Orange Bowl, but it’s always hard to tell considering the long layoff. Backup Jalen Hurts, who led the Tide in their comeback against Georgia, is a solid quarterback. However, their trump card has been played: OU will have a game plan for both quarterbacks in place (not that it might mean much).

Alabama has a juggernaut in nearly every facet of the game (seriously, how can’t they get a kicker?) for years, but Tua puts them over the top, leading an offense that can stack up with the cream of the crop in the Big 12.

WR #4 Jerry Jeudy and WR #17 Jaylen Waddle

As deadly as Tua is, Alabama’s backbreakers come in the form of an electric receiving duo in freshman Jaylen Waddle and Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy. Their game film is absolute nightmare fuel for the Oklahoma secondary as they are not only technically good but also blazingly fast. Waddle, a former OU recruiting target, is deadly in the open field and will make keying in on Jeudy nearly impossible.

Series History (Oklahoma, 3-1-1)

Despite Oklahoma and Alabama’s rich individual histories as two of the top five all-time college football programs, the Sooners and Tide have only met five times, with Saturday’s meeting being the first with national championship implications.

JFK orange bowl

Alabama’s lone win came in the 1963 Orange Bowl, which was also the first meeting between the Sooners and Tide. Despite the game being as star-studded as possible with all-time great coaches in Paul “Bear” Bryant and Bud Wilkinson, an eventual NFL legend in Joe Namath and freaking John F. Kennedy in attendance, the game was a dud with the Crimson Tide blanking OU 17-0.

After a mediocre 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl matchup that ended in a tie and nobody cared about it would take another 32 years for the two teams to meet again. While 2002 was only sixteen years ago, things are wildly different. Back then, Bob Stoops was starting his fourth season as head coach, Alabama was in the middle of probation and trapped in mediocrity and Nick Saban just a year away from winning his first national championship at LSU.

In the first game of a historic home and home, the Sooners survived a late comeback bid under a sweltering Norman sun, 37-27. In between games, Alabama fired not one, but two coaches after new hire Mike Price was caught in a Pensacola, Florida strip club. In the second game, the Sooners once again staved off an Alabama upset bid with help from an OU fake punt. Both games had strange atmospheres as both teams invaded each other’s stadium, with the visiting team wearing white for contrast.

The most recent meeting between Oklahoma and Alabama was easily the most memorable one: the 2013 Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide entered the game one kick-six removed from making a third straight national championship, while Oklahoma weaseled their way into the game after upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater after a legendary final drive. On paper, this OU team was beyond outmatched; we didn’t know who would they would play at quarterback until the first snap. Through excellent offensive play design, an inspired defensive performance that seems decades ago and one of the most inexplicably fantastic games from quarterback Trevor Knight, the Sooners pulled off a massive upset over one of the best teams in Alabama history.

Once again, the odds are against Oklahoma. If they want to take that next step and get back to the national championship for the first time in ten years, they will need to pray for a little old school Sooner Magic.

The Schooner Pod: Big 12 Champions Again!

The Sooners are Big 12 Champions and are going to the College Football Playoff! Bobby and Jamison break down this week’s championship performance against Texas, look at the debate that sprung OU into the Playoff, take a trip to the ‘Crutin Corner and discuss the Heisman race.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts and rate us five stars! If you like our stuff, please consider donating to our Patreon so we can help put out more and better content. As always, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest Schooner Blog and Schooner Pod content delivered right to you. 

Sooners Make the College Football Playoff, Will Face #1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl

OU is in! It might have been a bit more stressful than anyone probably wanted, but the Sooners will be playing in the Orange Bowl against….the Alabama Crimson Tide.

This seems like a full circle thing to me. OU-Alabama in the Sugar Bowl was the last game the Sooners played before I went to OU and my full run in school it seemed as if a rematch was always something looming in the distance in the Baker era. As we obviously know that never happened.

Until now.

Oklahoma fans secretly have always wanted Bama, now they got them. We’ll see on December 29th whether or not they actually did.