That felt really, really good.
After two weeks of frustrating football, the Sooners finally got a true blowout. Kyler Murray tied a school record for all-purpose touchdowns with a whopping 7, as the Oklahoma offense looked unstoppable all game.
Murray wasn’t without help as his receiving tandem of Hollywood Brown and Ceedee Lamb broke off several big plays against the Bears. The time of possession slanted hard for Baylor, but it was mainly due to the Oklahoma offense scoring at a crazy rate.
The Sooners defense wasn’t great by any means, but did more than enough to get the win. OU has to shore things up and get healthy before the Red River Shootout next weekend.
Up next: Texas; but this time they don’t suck.
Bobby: 6-2 (17-14)
Jamison: 4-4 (15-16)
Blake: 5-3 (18-13)
Reeeeeeebrand! Welcome to the Weekend Spread, formerly the Prediction Squad. Why? Because we like this name better. Last week, Bobby randomly caught fire, Blake kept the pace and Jamison stayed put with a .500 week. We are fully conference play, so things are now getting interesting in the Big 12. Get ready for the mud.
(Lines are taken from the beginning of the week)
#7 Stanford @ #8 Notre Dame (ND -5)
Bobby: Despite the narrow overtime win against Oregon, I’m still big on the Cardinal. Even though Bryce Love has had a subpar season so far, I think the passing game changes this team; so much so that I’ve said it basically weekly. They have had a tough schedule so far, so fatigue might finally set in Saturday in South Bend, but I think Stanford finally exposes the Irish. Stanford, +5
Jamison: Stanford is one of my playoff teams and is somehow still alive after Oregon choked against them last week. Gotta keep rolling with my dark horse playoff team, even though I am irked by this game. I can definitely see Notre Dame doing well, because of their good record at home, but let’s roll with Stanford. I think you will all get used to me saying “screw it” on a lot of my picks for the rest of the year. Stanford, +5
Blake: Everybody is always talking about how ESPN is going downhill now. Many people point to the political stances they take, but I point to the moment when they fired both Mark May and Lou Holtz from their college football coverage. The most electric segment ever was the simulated courtroom with Lou and Mark when they would argue different hot takes surrounding college football and honestly, that segment inspired me to be a lawyer. RIP Lou Holtz and give me Notre Dame. Notre Dame, -5
#4 Ohio State @ #10 Penn State (tOSU -4)
Bobby: Ahh, the annual edition of the Morally Corrupt Bowl. This is a massive game in the Big Ten East (aka “the good division) as it has the potential to be a separation game for the winner. I think Penn State is garbage that has been narrowly skating by on luck. Ohio State is a legit team that is reenergized by their Heisman candidate, Dwayne Haskins. Weird things always happen in Happy Valley, but I think the Buckeyes push through for a comfortable win. Ohio State, -4
Jamison: My Durdy’s Locks of the Week™ haven’t gone too well this year, but here is another one. Penn State has been very disappointing this year (i.e. App State), and Ohio State has looked better than most thought. I love what tOSU quarterback Haskins has been doing this year, and I am going to ride with them. Ohio State big. Ohio State, -4
Blake: In the Sweep It Under The Rug Bowl, two teams who are in a deadlocked race to see who can be more hated meet for in a highly contested game that basically determines the Big 10 this year. I hate both of these schools and want them to both to lose so bad, but sadly I have to choose a winner. Ohio State I think takes this one easily. Ohio State, -4
(P.S. Urban Meyer’s wife got triggered on Twitter this week after saying that Penn State fans wearing shirts that say “Urban Liar” on them is offensive and indicative of low moral character. Nothing like someone trying to play the victim when they failed to report multiple instances of domestic violence [insert shrug emoji].)
#20 BYU @ #11 Washington (UW -17.5)
Bobby: The Morman Giant Slayers are back and ready to take down another top 15 opponent in Washington. While I don’t think they will win, BYU is a scrappy squad that will keep this game close, especially against a Washington team that has been underperforming all season. 17.5 points is an absurd amount of points to give to this mediocre Husky team and if this trend continues, I will be raking in the wins this season picking against them. BYU, +17.5
Jamison: I am very iffy on this pick. I love how BYU has been doing, and have not been stunned with Washington, but BYU’s schedule has been tough. I do not think BYU can keep it up, and loses by 21. Washington, -17.5 (Side note on BYU, how the hell is Tanner Mangum still in school? He is the Jevon Carter of football.)
Blake: In high school, my friend Reilly and I met a Mormon girl through serving on the Oklahoma Junior Classical League executive board (humble brag). She was very attractive and still to this day it is hotly contested whether she was more into me or Reilly. The Fake News media would say Reilly, but all signs pointed to her liking me. Sadly, I didn’t make a move and she ended up marrying a guy a year later. Still bitter, so give me Washington. Washington, 17.5
Iowa State @ TCU (TCU -10.5)
Bobby: It has been a pretty rough two weeks for TCU. While it’s never easy to beat Ohio State, I (and everyone else) thought the Frogs would definitely be good enough to beat Texas in Austin. Instead, what looked to be the second best team in the Big 12 is facing somewhat of a “must win” game here in week 5. Iowa State isn’t really that special, coming out flat last week in a win against Akron. This game has the potential to get messy, but I think TCU gets a much needed comfortable win against the Cyclones. TCU, -10.5
Jamison: TCU really upset me with their performance last week. I saw good sparks of their play in the Ohio State game, but it did not transfer that well to the next week. I still love TCU’s team, and I think this will be a good week for them. OU fans, Iowa State is not as good as they showed to be in our game versus them. TCU, -10.5
Blake: Last week, I was depressed that TCU’s season was basically ended by losing to Texas. This week, I am rejuvenated and realized my team can play the most Blake role of all time. Dem Frogz can play the role of the “Agent of Chaos”. Sure we probably will not win the Big 12, but we can burn it down by beating any potential playoff team. As Michael Caine (Alfred) said in the Dark Knight, “Some men aren’t looking f anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn”. Give me the Frogz in this one. TCU, -10.5
Oklahoma State @ Kansas (OSU -17.5)
Bobby: CORN DOG IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS. What an absolute stinker for the Cowboys last weekend against Texas Tech. All it took was one bad weekend for OSU’s season to fall of the verge of tumbling into disaster. The loss was ugly, but the Jalen McClusky exit from the team days later was worse. Luckily for the Pokes, they get a bit of a layup here to hit the reset button. Kansas is improved, but not anywhere close to competing in the Big 12. Oklahoma State, -17.5
Jamison: Sometimes you got to get lucky. OSU is in turmoil, with their best WR electing to transfer and redshirt this year. But, all things aside, if you saw this line before the season, you’d be stunned how much Vegas has disrespected OSU. Even though there is havoc in the Cowboy’s locker room, you’ve got to think the sheer talent on this OSU team is enough to cover. Oklahoma State, -17.5
Blake: OSU (Oklahoma State) is trying to do their best OSU (Ohio State) impression by trying to show how little they care about people outside their football program. Mike Gundy stooped so low this week to blackmail Stillwater reporters into not asking questions about one of his players who is transferring. These reporters are just trying to do their job and uphold First Amendment rights, while communist Mike Gundy just wants to tear that down. If there is one thing we learn from this college football season is trying to silence people is not the answer to your problems. Sadly, the communist reign supreme in this one and I am going with OSU. Oklahoma State, -17.5
#12 West Virginia @ #25 Texas Tech (WVU -4)
Bobby: If you told me the Red Raiders would be ranked after their disaster in Week One, I would call you crazy. The Tech offense has been reinvigorated under their freshman quarterback and actually look to be a reasonable team in the Big 12. However, I feel like this happens every year; these middle of the pack Big 12 teams get hot, pop into the top 25 for a week and then get shoved down by another middle team. This West Virginia football team looks to finally be the real deal and they are about to face their first big test of the season. I think they pass it. West Virginia, -4
Jamison: Texas Tech is hot and ranked. Did not see this one coming. Don’t buy into the hype. Sell Tech stock now. West Virginia humbles them. West Virginia, -4
Blake: Raider Rash v. Cousin Fever. The battle between these two ailments highlights one of my favorite games of the week. I think the Tech is going to alpha West Virginia in a big way. ESPN showed a depressing graphic last week that showed that all of Will Grier’s siblings had more social media followers than him, even though he is a D1 quarterback. I don’t like the fact that the Alpha on a football team is a Beta in his family. Give me the Raiders to win. Texas Tech, +4
#18 Texas @ Kansas State (UT -8.5)
Bobby: So Texas might actually be good. They’ve had an impressive past two weeks and are poised to enter the Red River Shootout ranked for the first time since 2012. So, why do I have the feeling that they are somehow going to mess this up?
It’s a bizarre fact, but somehow Texas is just 1-7 in Manhattan all time.
ONE AND SEVEN.
Overall, they are 5-7 against the Bill Snyder teams. So basically, even when Texas, one of the richest football programs on Earth, actually was good they STILL couldn’t beat Kansas State regularly. While the Wildcats look rough this season, I’m going with history. Bill Snyder gets one more random Texas win. Kansas State, +8.5
Jamison: I am cursed on picking the lines on both of these teams. I have not won once, but it has to budge. I honestly just have to get lucky and pick one randomly. Screw it. Texas, -8.5
Blake: In this week’s edition of Blake’s Gambling Tip®, always take whatever team is playing against K State that week. People think that because Bill Synder (#overrated) is head coach, that the will keep games close. This team sucks and will actually make the Kansas v. Kansas State game interesting this year. Sadly, I have to take the Horns in this one. Texas, -8.5
Baylor @ #5 Oklahoma (OU -23.5)
Bobby: While I know last week was a minor disaster, I still think this is a good OU team. People have been pounding the Sooners this week and fairly so. This game against Baylor offers an opportunity for Oklahoma to get back on track and right the ship before heading up to Dallas next weekend. However, a bad showing here could increase the already high stress level even higher. I think Baylor is good enough to cover this spread, but OU will come out impressive. Baylor, +23.5
Jamison: OU is in a severe need of a bounce back game to calm down the Gooners on the chat boards. We are not in panic mode yet. Call me crazy, but I think we match up decently well vs. this Baylor team. I think the defense will come back and have an average, but improved, game. OU narrowly covers, wins by 27. Oklahoma, -23.5
Blake: The MVP of OU’s season is not Kyler Murray, it is imugentsukuyomi. Many might not know who this, but the few who do know he is a hero. Imugentsukuyomi was the brave soul last week that held up his phone for over an hour to live stream the 4th quarter and OT on Twitch saving over 30,000 viewers the $50+ it costs to buy a game that was supposed to be a blow out. Imugentsukuyomi kept complaining the entire time how he had to go piss, but he stayed strong in the pocket to ensure that all the cheapos out there could watch the game for free. Honestly, his commentary on the game was significantly better than anything any channel could produce, so he was the one who deserved the $50. Imugentsukuyomi probably got kicked off of Twitch after it went viral that he had the second biggest stream of the day by illegally streaming that game, but his efforts will never be forgotten. A true hero in the digital age. OU by a million. Oklahoma, -23.5
Everyone catch their breath? Okay, good.
After a heart problem inducting win against Army, the Sooners have a chance to get things back on the positive side against Baylor.
Kickoff: 2:30 PM CT
Radio: 107.7 The Franchise (OKC), 97.5 KMOD (Tulsa)
Meet the Bears
Baylor isn’t near the power house they were when I got to OU in 2014, but they are definitely not the 1-11 dumpster fire they were last season. Matt Rhule has his team on the right track so far this season, with a 3-1 record. Granted, they fell flat in their one big challenge against Duke, but they aren’t losing to the likes of Liberty and UTSA.
As is tradition with Baylor, their strength lies in their offense. The defense leaks points against teams like Abilene Christian, so expect the going to be pretty good for the OU offense. As far as the offense goes, it’s nothing the Sooners haven’t faced before.
Who to Watch For:
#84 Jalen Hurd, WR
If the name sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2015, Jalen Hurd was the feature back on the Tennessee that the Sooners played that fateful night in Neyland Stadium. Years later, Hurd has found his way onto the Baylor Bears as a wide receiver.
Baylor has a stable of big receivers, something that should immediately frighten any OU fan. Hurd is a five star caliber talent that also plays out of the backfield at times. This is the guy you definitely want to keep an eye on for Saturday.
Why You Should Be Excited:
Big 12 season is back, this time in full force. Every game gets good now, no matter who they are (except Kansas). I think Baylor isn’t a world beater by any means, they have the firepower to make this game interesting. They also won’t have the ball for 45 minutes of game time, meaning that the beautiful Oklahoma offense can once again stretch its legs and score.
Series History (OU Leads 24-3)
While the series history is significantly slanted towards the OU side, in recent history the Sooners and Bears have always played each other tight. Even in last season’s 1-11 disaster of a season, Baylor played OU tight, giving the Sooners a massive scare in Waco with a 49-42 nail biter of a game.
If Saturday is anything last season’s game, be ready for a stresser of a ballgame.
The road to hitting every game on the schedule isn’t fully paved with classics. This weekend in Waco, certainly wasn’t one of them.
This trip was handled a little differently. Instead of staying Friday night and Saturday night in the game city, we actually did something a little differently this trip. We just drove to Waco in the morning and drove back to stay in Plano after the game. I’m going to give myself a pass here; I’ve been to Waco before and with the town not exactly being the coolest stop this year, I decided to save some money better used on State Fair coupons for OU-Texas.
We started our trip under the pink-orange Oklahoma sunrise at about 7 am. This trip had a road trip skeleton crew compared to Columbus; it was just me and Bar Review vet Mike Bussow. It was a quick shot down I-35 and we rolled into town just in time for lunch at one of my favorite road trip stops.
Vitek’s Barbecue was introduced to me in 2015 by some of my girlfriend’s close friends who go to Baylor. Vitek’s is a Waco treasure that has been around for over 100 years. Most barbecue joints focus on the basics: brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, sauce, solid sides, cold beer (if you’re lucky). This place puts everything good into a styrofoam container and mashes it all together in something known as a Gut Pak. It’s a beautiful symphony of brisket, sausage, cheese, Fritos, beans and barbecue sauce. I recommend getting the half pak in a large container, it gives you more space to mix all the ingredients up.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to the checkout counter. As we got in line, my phone started blowing up thanks to a group text with my old high school friends (we actually, legitimately refer to the group as “The Group Text”, real creative, I know). Adrian Wojnarowski, the czar of breaking NBA stories, was reporting that the Oklahoma City Thunder were in talks to acquire Carmelo Anthony. By the time I got through the line, Carmelo was a member of the Thunder and my college football Saturday had been invaded by the NBA. My mind was the farthest place from my Gut Pak.
Right after finishing our ‘cue and a couple Lone Star’s, our crew (which now included Mike’s sister and her friend) found a rare free parking place and make the trek across the Baylor campus to McLane Stadium.
I don’t care if the stadium is four years old, walking up to McLane Stadium over the Brazos River is one of the coolest entrances in college football. The stadium on the river is really cool and the concept of sailgating makes me wish OU had a water feature to drink on.
The vibe on campus was kinda eerie. Compared to 2015, the atmosphere on campus was completely dead. It was almost sad in a way.
The pregame hangout in Waco is this big tailgate tent called George’s. If you don’t have friends with a tailgate, this is the move to get some beers. You can domestic beers here for $4, including Shiner. This is Texas, after all.
After meeting up with some friends at George’s and spending all my cash, we got word of a tailgate hosted by alumni of my fraternity’s Baylor chapter handing out free beer. We couldn’t miss out on this. We approached the tent about 30 minutes before we needed to hit up will call and immediately were told to shotgun some beers. We aren’t talking Natty either; these crazy Bears had us downing craft shit. My poor buddy Matt downed a tangerine IPA.
Once we paid our dues, they handed out some more casual drinking beers. Apparently they have a sponsorship from a brewery called Southern Star Brewing in Conroe, Texas. In other news, I would like to immediately announce that The Schooner Blog is officially accepting beer sponsorship offers so hit me up.
The game itself was absolutely brutal. I didn’t do a quick reaction, so here are my thoughts: OU had a great start but the Defense blew it. MVP is Trey Sermon, LVP is Jordan Thomas. The refs were particularly terrible. Honestly, that game was just aggravating to watch. The last part of the 4th quarter felt like it drug on forever. My recap is basically just this Curb Your Enthusiasm gif on an infinite loop.
Leaving the stadium less than enthusiastic, we made the same long, brutal walk across campus dreading the hour-plus drive back to Plano. Going out was out of the question. The only things that mattered were getting the win, getting to bed and hitting up In-N-Out in Plano. On to the next one.
Looking for a true pub? McNellie’s is the place. This Main Street bar boasts an absurdly large beer selection and genuine pub food.
Sum up McNellie’s in the length of a Tweet.
Bobby: I hope you like beer
Joe: Good drinks, aggressively average food.
Mike: A Main Street staple, McNellies is the place for damn good beer, period.
Which night is the best night for McNellie’s?
Bobby: McNellie’s has Pint Night on Mondays. Get a specific beer and you can keep the glass, which isn’t too bad.
Joe: Monday night for sure. You get a pint of beer and keep the glass.
Mike: Wednesday’s $4 burger night is hard to beat, but Monday’s pint night is a can’t miss. Buy the beer, keep the glass and learn to like drinking something other than Bud Light.
Favorite thing about McNellie’s?
Bobby: For Norman, the beer selection is out of this world. If you want a beer, there’s a good chance it’s here.
Joe: The beer selection is the best in Norman. It’s also a pretty low key bar if you aren’t looking to wait in line at Campus Corner.
Mike: Selection. Over 200 beers and if you have the time or money, trying each one gets you a plaque on the wall and a mug. I’m not saying I’ve drank from Jake Bryan’s mug but I’m not saying I haven’t. From Stiegel with a shot of clementine Svedka, to “chocolate milk,” you’ll find something great here every time.
Least favorite thing about the bar?
Bobby: I’m pretty sure i’ve sat by a table playing Magic the Gathering in here before.
Joe: The food is definitely overpriced for what you get.
Mike: This should be a great place to catch a weekday football game, but the TV/Projector setup is disappointing and nonexistent at the bar. I get the whole “put down your phone and talk to someone” vibe the bar is pushing, but 80% of the people there have nose rings and neck tattoos. Not my crowd and not anyone reading this’s crowd.
What’s the go-to order here?
Bobby: It usually depends on what’s new on tap. So usually something local, I usually go with something from Prairie or Anthem.
Joe: Boulevard Tank 7 or St. Bernardus ABT 12 (Editor’s Note: Typical Joe)
Mike: The Sunday afternoon hangover cure: A bowl of beer chili, cheese, and crackers, with a Crispin Cider on the side.
Last Week: 9-1
Conference play is here! Kinda! The Big (almost) 12 starts its conference slate off with three teams resting, one playing a road non-conference game as the underdog and two of three ranked teams immediately playing each other in what will probably be a Conference Championship elimination game in September. This conference is totally functional, you guys!
#16 TCU @ #6 Oklahoma State (OSU -11.5)
After going on the most depressing road trip ever from Stillwater to Mobile to Pittsburgh, the Cowboys are back at home to face their first challenge of the season. The TCU Horned Frogs are coming off a shaky performance against crosstown rival SMU (Y’all share an airport, come at me Fort Worth kids) but possess one of the rarest things OSU will face all season: a defense. However is that defense good enough to slow down Mason Rudolph and that high powered offense? I say no. The artists formerly known as Oklahoma A&M roll in this one. OSU 66-45
West Virginia @ Kansas (WVU -21.0)
Honest question: if KU loses this game, but nobody was there to see it, did it actually happen? WVU 59-31
Texas Tech @ Houston (UH -6.0)
Tech getting no love on the road! To be honest, after Tom Herman bailed on Houston, I kinda forgot they existed. UH’s Ed Oliver is one of the most overlooked players in college football, just because of where he is at. Houston already has a decent power 5 win, beating Arizona in Tucson 19-16. The Red Raiders already have a major win themselves, defeating Arizona State last weekend in a total shootout, 52-45. Honestly, with both of these teams playing only two games up to this point, I have no clue what to think of this game. I’m going with Texas Tech, because why not? Fuck the Coogs. Tech 38-35
#3 Oklahoma @ Baylor (OU -28.0)
I know I devoted a half of an article to make this point, but yeah these guys really, really stink on ice. I’d pick OU to clobber them even if they beat Liberty, UTSA and Duke, all of which they lost to. Art Briles isn’t walking through that door. The only reason i’m going to this one is to write a blog on Czech Stop Kolaches on the way home. On to the bye week. OU 65-10
(PS: Wouldn’t it be the most OU thing in the world to lose this one?)
Damn, have things changed in Waco since I was there last. On that rainy, November day my girlfriend Derielle and I watched Joe Mixon, Samaj Perine and Baker Mayfield in a gutsy dogfight against the then dominant Baylor Bears, who seemingly were in the top 5 all season. One of Derielle’s friends, being 100% serious and 100% polite, told me he thought if OU did well, they would only lose 42-14.
Now, Baylor is 0-3 and is losing to the likes of UTSA.
Oklahoma and Baylor met on a crossroads that evening in Waco. For OU, the win was a springboard for the miraculous three game stretch that catapulted the Sooners to an unlikely College Football Playoff bid. For Baylor? It began a meltdown of colossal proportions, with this season being rock bottom.
Who are the Bears?
Baylor is a program trying to pick up the pieces after one of the worst strings of scandals in college football history. Hiring Matt Rhule this season to replace Art Briles was a step in the right direction to help build a good long term culture, but on the field it’s clear that Baylor football isn’t near what it was in the earlier half of this decade. They rebounded a little bit last week at Duke, playing the Blue Devils closer than I thought (Duke still covered), but I seriously doubt Baylor will be able to perform well in this league.
Last Time We Met: November 12th, 2016 in Norman. OU 45, Baylor 24
Oklahoma made easy work of the Bears last season, winning by three touchdowns. The rushing tandem of Perine and Mixon shredded the Bears for over 100 yards a piece and a combined 3 touchdowns. Mayfield and Dede Westbrook also went off, with each scoring a pair of touchdowns, including a rare rushing touchdown from Mayfield. Even before star Baylor QB Seth Russell went down with a gruesome leg injury, the Bears were simply outmatched.
Pretty much the polar opposite of last trip’s stadium, McLane Stadium is a shiny, 4 year old stadium that seats slightly over 40,000. With this stadium sitting on the Brazos River, many Baylor fans participate in “Sailgating” but unless you have a boat and/or a boat slip near Waco, this probably isn’t going to be an option for you.
Here’s Baylor’s visiting allotment seating. The sections are 131, 314-217 and 329. In 2015, I sat in 131, and it seemed to me that a lot of students ended up there. Even if you get nosebleeds, the stadium is small enough that it feels more like sitting in the lower level at Owen Field. With Baylor’s decline, the OU-Baylor territory split will probably look more like this though:
If you are buying resale tickets and trying to sit with a friend, make sure you know whether or not they have Berm GA seating or not (The Berm is the grey area on the map). Berm ticket holders cannot enter the general part of the stadium, nor can regular ticket holders access the Berm. Be wary of where you are buying, as berm tickets are significantly cheaper than general stadium seats.
The bag policy is actually looser than OU’s, 6x12x6 and under are allowed. So no need to worry on this one, ladies.
OU got a great 5:30 kick, so there’s plenty of time to drive up Saturday and do everything you’d want to do in Waco.
For lunch, I’d recommend Vitek’s Barbecue, a local staple for over a century. I recommend the Gut Pack, a mixture of brisket, cheese, sausage, fritos, beans and pretty much everything good. Trust me, the smaller one is enough.
As you’d expect from a small Baptist college in Waco, there isn’t much of a pregame bar scene at Baylor. According to my intel, most of the good bars are in downtown Waco so it would be a bit of a haul going back and forth between there and campus. For pregame drinking, I recommend the George O’s tailgate across the street from McLane Stadium. As I remember, it’s a solid place to meet up with friends and drink a few Shiners before entering the game. It’s under a massive tent, so it’s near impossible to miss.
Yeah, don’t expect to find anything in any official lots. My recommendation is to find somewhere unmarked as a tow away area and walk or Uber over.
(This post will be updated as more information comes available.)