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. 

Oklahoma Wins the Big 12 Championship, Beats Texas 39-27

What a day in college football! Yesterday was a whirlwind and honestly was one of those days where you just forget about all responsibility. While yesterday that included “writing about a major event that happened to the literal one team you cover in your sports blog”, I have some big notes from a big win over Texas.

  • How about that defense? The effort definitely was a step up from earlier games this season and the quality of play was just incredible. Weirdly enough, the defense probably was what kept OU close early on as the offense struggled to get the ball in the endzone.
  • While the defense looked great, it was abundantly clear that the Texas offense we saw at the Cotton Bowl was an outlier. Sam Ehlinger looked brutal throwing the ball and couldn’t establish the run game the same way he did in October. The defense of course gets credit for putting pressure on him, but in general you could see this was a Texas team that didn’t have the same juice.
  • The amount of “horns down” salt was wonderful. The Big 12 Commissioner getting booed to high heaven was the peak.
  • Another rocky start for Kyler Murray. There were some missed throws here and there and he needed a few penalties to advance the ball. However, Murray really turned it around as he usually does, putting up 379 though the air and 39 on the ground.
  • Not the best rushing performance for the Sooners this year, but we got to see a lot more Trey Sermon which was nice.
  • That safety though!!!!
  • Grant Calcaterra, I am so sorry for referring to you as “stone hands” this season and will bury the nickname forever.
  • The Hollywood Brown injury could be a huge blow, but we’ll have to see if it’s anything serious. The month layoff really helps.
  • Overall, I’m impressed with OU’s resolve to stay composed in this ballgame. They have shown the ability time after time this season to weather the storm and outlast teams, something that will be vital in the game (game?) to come.

MVP: Tre Brown

It’s been a tough go for this OU defense, especially the secondary, but it was the difference maker in this one. Tre Brown exemplified that effort today with 7 tackles (5 solo) and an enormous safety that helped the Sooners recapture the momentum after an unfortunate redzone fumble. He also had a solid kick return as well. Other players might have more numbers on the offensive end, but in the eyes of this little blog, Tre Brown made the gritty big plays needed to keep OU in this one.

LVP: “Red River at Jerry World” Supporters, Texas fans in general

The debate of whether or not this game should move to Arlington should be settled: it is a resounding no. While I enjoyed the atmosphere a ton in a one off kind of way, it couldn’t hold a candle to Fair Park, especially when it comes to the pregame atmosphere. Inside, the atmosphere was special but it seemed like it was missing something. I dunno, the “OU sucks” chants from the Longhorn fans just seemed a little quieter today, the “Boomer Sooner” chants never got fired up. I know chants shouldn’t decide the location of a football game, but this seemed more like a generic big game than a hallowed rivalry. Which I’m all about, but just keep it in December.

As for Texas fans? I’ve never seen a saltier group of people in my life. Hope they enjoy their Hat though.

Up Next: The unknown. I’ll be sure to write about it sooner this time.

Weekend Spread: Championship Week

Final Regular Season Standings

Bobby: 7-1 (55-48)

Jamison: 3-5 (48-55)

Blake: 6-2 (55-48)

The regular season is officially over and from here on out we are in “ring game” season. We have a tie at the top between Blake and Bobby, meaning we must push on into sudden death; fitting for Championship Week. In the spirit of the week, we are 

Last Week

#1 Alabama v. #4 Georgia (ALA -13)

Bobby: This one is gonna be huge. While I don’t know if Alabama has been truly tested this season, Georgia will without a doubt be a tough task for the Tide. Bama’s defense this season has been a bit more suspect than usual, the Bulldog offense just simply won’t be able to keep up with Tua Tagovailoa and crew. I think Alabama will win, but Georgia will keep it close enough to stress out everyone in Norman and Columbus. Georgia, +13

JamisonI really believe Georgia has a shot to make it close here if Alabama plays like they did versus Auburn, but I suspect they were looking ahead to this game. Alabama’s defense has been so underrated this year because of their offense. Go look at a mock draft and you’ll see more Alabama names than usual. This is also a team that shutout LSU on the road. Give me Alabama here, as their defense will step up. HUGE game for OU fans. Roll Tide. Alabama, -13

BlakeThis Alabama team is the best team I have seen, but I still have hope that some team can beat them this season. I think I have my best chance here with Georgia. Alabama two best wins this season are LSU and Mississippi State. Both of these teams are very one dimensional being defense only teams. Alabama has not played a real offense this season and Georgia is just that. Georgia is deep at every position and a very well-rounded team, which might give Alabama fits. Alabama still wins this game close, but Georgia breaks Alabama’s streak of beating teams by 20+ points. Alabama, -13

#2 Clemson v. Pitt (CLEM -26.5)

Bobby: For the most part, conference championship games are nothing but an annoying slate of cash grabs that don’t really matter. The division system used in most conferences produces some absolutely awful matchups due to the usual inability to match up the two best teams in the conference. This game is a shining example of a garbage conference championship. 

Pitt is a team that has no business in anything titled a “championship”. Outside of Clemson, the ACC has been an inconsistent dumpster fire. While the Tigers have been inconsistent down the stretch, this Pitt team is just too bad to have any real shot at the upset. They’ll keep it just close enough to backdoor cover though. Pittsburgh, +26.5

Jamison: Why Pitt? I really can’t tell you. I’ve done so poor picking this year and I am completely out of the running. I’ll win the bowl pick ‘em though, no doubt. But, back to this game, why pick a team that lost to UNC? Because Clemson has zero respect for this game. At least tOSU is playing for style points in their game vs. Northwestern. Clemson needs to win, and it does not matter by how much. They’re going to the Orange Bowl regardless. Pittsburgh, +26.5

BlakeThis is a prime example of why conferences need to adopt a Big 12 round-robin style conference play. There is NO reason why you should be a 27-point favorite over the other “best” team in the conference. I would rather see another Clemson-Syracuse showdown than this mess. How can one conference be so shallow?! Clemson in an easy win. Clemson, -26.5

#6 Ohio State v. #22 Northwestern (tOSU -14)

Bobby: Another garbage conference championship. Northwestern snuck into this one by beating up on the soft Big Ten East after going winless in non-conference play. I’ll give them this; they keep every game close, no matter if its Michigan or Illinois. While most are expecting to see a Buckeye blowout here with a College Football Playoff berth potentially being on the line, I’m not so certain. Ohio State has been wildly inconsistent this season and I could see them tripping up here. I’ll take Northwestern to cover but honestly could see this game being a push. Northwestern, +14

JamisonOhio State will win this one big for style points. After they see the result of the OU game, their goal will be to one-up us to increase their resume. I understand Northwestern has played everyone close, but all in all, they do not have much to hang their head high on for this season. Ohio State big, with a lot of points coming in the 4th quarter. Ohio State, -14

BlakeI have a weird feeling about this game. Everyone is now just jumped on the Ohio State bandwagon after they beat Michigan last week, but all these people forget that the Buckeyes have been one of the most disappointing teams this season. Besides being blown out by Purdue, they have barely beat Nebraska and Maryland (neither are bowl eligible). I know this Northwestern team is bad, but are we sure Ohio State is any good? They aren’t, and I think this Northwestern team will be able to scrap together something to keep it close and then Ohio State will pull away in the end. Set the over-under of faked illness by Urban Meyer at 2.5. Northwestern, +14

#17 Utah v. #11 Washington  (UW -5) {Friday}

Bobby: As usual, the Pac 12 is completely irrelevant, as is their championship game. I will give them this: it’ll be a really nice game to watch after what is sure to be a thrilling MAC championship. Washington (who is wildly overrated I might add) popped into this game after upsetting Washington State in the Apple Cup game. I have no clue what happened in the Pac 12 South to get Utah in here, but here we are. This is a gross game, but I saw the Utes stomp a mudhole into Arizona, so I think I’ll go with them here. Utah, +5

JamisonI picked Utah on The Schooner Pod, which in retrospect, is a really poor pick, but screw it lets keep it. The Utes are a somewhat loveable team due to their mediocrity, and never having a shot like this since the Alex Smith days. I am not condoning Utah money line like Bobby, but let’s go Utes. Utah, +5

Blake Honestly, I am offended that this game made it on the slate over the MAC championship. It is safe to say I have watched more MAC football this year than Pac 12, which is an indicator of how bad this conference is. Nothing screams “elite conference” more than two teams meeting that have three losses each. I bet on Utah last week to demolish BYU and I came away with a disappointing comeback win by Utah. This team is very indicative of their conference, disappointing. By process of elimination that leaves Washington, so I guess I will take them. Washington, -5

Memphis @ #7 Central Florida (UCF -3.5)

Bobby: We’ve already picked this game this season, a game where Memphis nearly took out the Knights and their obnoxious “nAtIoNaL cHaMpIoNsHiP” defense this season, but couldn’t finish the job. With UCF quarterback Mackenzie Milton out for the season, I think the Tigers will pull off the upset here. Memphis, +3.5

JamisonMilton going down hurts. Memphis played them close WITH Milton. But, I can’t see the great UCF DYNASTY going down to a team like Memphis. I think that is the job of someone on January 1, 2019. UCF squeaks out a 4-point win here, and gets annihilated vs. their power 5 opponent next game. Central Florida, -3.5

BlakeWatching Mackenzie Milton go down with the injury he did last week was not the way I wanted UCF to go out this season. Sure they are still undefeated and can win their conference, but beating another P5 team in a bowl game without your star quarterback is very unlikely. All I wanted in this world is to watch UCF get crushed in a bowl game to stop all the “national champion” talk, but this victory feels very hollow. The narrative has flipped in my mind and I am now rooting for UCF to finish the season undefeated, even if it means enduring countless Twitter battles with their fans for the next year. This would be an awesome comeback story so give me UCF to win an emotional game. Central Florida, -3.5

#25 Fresno State @ #23 Boise State (BSU -2.5)

Bobby: Okay, I’m getting sick of these filler championship games. Boise State has been mediocre this season, but seeing as this game is on the blue turf, I’ll give the edge to the Broncos. Boise State, -2.5

JamisonLast most people heard of Boise, they got crushed by OSU. That does not look quite well on their resume right now. But, out of principle, I am picking against Fresno. It is absolute garbage they got ranked over Army. Boise beat Fresno on the road, and will win in the rematch. Boise State, -2.5

BlakeI have bet against this Boise State this season twice when they were at home (Fresno and Utah State) and easily lost both bets. I should have seen this coming as I have ignored an important gambling adage: NEVER BET AGAINST BOISE ON THE SMURF TURF. Besides TCU, no team ever comes into Boise and beats this team while they are playing on the ocean blue. The field should be banned because Boise always wears blue color rush uniforms anytime they play at home, so it is impossible to see them while they play. No reason to complain too much because I am going to cash in on this easy pick. Boise St. wins the Mountain West. Boise State, -2.5

Drake @ #23 Iowa State (ISU -42.5)

Bobby: Gotta pick all the Big 12 games this week! This one is a fill-in game for the original fill in game scheduled against Incarnate Word, which was scheduled to replace Iowa State’s season opener against Akron. This game means absolutely nothing to Iowa State: their bowl position is secure and probably won’t be boosted at all. While Drake is just awful (and possibly just one person), I see them covering purely out of the Cyclones getting bored. Drake, +42.5

JamisonDurdy’s LOCK OF THE WEEK. This is the easiest Durdy’s lock of the week ever. I promise. Put everything you own on the Bulldogs (Editor’s Note: unfortunately, it’s unavailable pretty much anywhere). Drake’s big wins vs. the Marist Red Foxes and the Butler Bulldogs will prove to be legitimate as they keep it close vs. the Cyclones. Remember, this game in Ames is at 11, which is not a spooky environment. Drake, +42.5

BlakeThis has been a Cinderella season for Iowa State. The former Big 12 bottom dwellers have now found a way to finish 4th in the conference. It has been really fun watching this team grow and watch the rise of Brock Purdy. This team is going to be good for years to come and I am super excited to see them play next year. Some might say that they won’t be motivated to play this game because there is no positive or negative implementation to this game. I think the exact opposite is true. Purdy and co. are gonna come out the gates gun slinging and put a fifty-burger on Drake in the first half. Iowa State, -42.5

#5 Oklahoma v. #14 Texas (OU -7.5)

Bobby: Hoo boy. This is the big one. The past few weeks, we’ve seen Oklahoma eke out win after win against offenses having their best games of the season. While I’ve resigned myself to understanding that this is just how this is going to be this season, that doesn’t do much for my confidence in covering the spread. Texas’ offense isn’t remarkable by any means, but we’ve seen exactly what it can do against the Sooners. If OU can win the turnover battle and shut down the Sam Ehlinger run game, this one will turn out differently. Neither team will get blown out, but I think the Sooners will win comfortably this time. Honestly, I have no clue. I just know I can’t pick those dirty Longhorns. My advice? This one has enough intrigue. Save your money. Oklahoma, -7.5

JamisonI decided this week that I was going to do everything opposite to what I did the week before the RRS. I am going to wear different clothes to the game, change my routine, and when it came down to my pick, I was going to pick Texas because I picked the Sooners last time. Nope. Can’t do that. It’s Texas Hate Week and even though it is not in the Cotton Bowl, there is no need for me to have any incentive to cheer for a close game. Collin Cowherd agrees with me here. OU in a BLOWOUT. Oklahoma, -7.5

Side Note: I think OU should put “Horns Up” after every touchdown. That is not taunting, it is only showing great sportsmanship towards our beloved neighbors. 

BlakeTexas is a total paradox. They try to be cool with this whole “Ok cool. Hook Em!” thing (I have to admit it is very funny), but counter it by whining like a three-year-old about how the “Horns Down” sign is disrespectful. I don’t get it, but that is Texas for ya. They try to do things that are loveable and then ultimately just end up as the Evil Empire they have always been. I know OU has a deep flaw (notice the singular because the only flaw they have is their horrendous defense) coming into this game, but I still think they get it done in Arlington. All OU’s defense has to do is make one stop and Kyler Murray will take care of the rest. I don’t see a world where OU loses to Texas twice in one season. Boomer Sooner. Oklahoma, -7.5

The Schooner Pod: Big 12 Championship

The Big 12 Championship is here and it couldn’t be bigger: a rematch with Texas. Bobby and Jamison break down the unique atmosphere of this weekend’s game, the atmosphere difference between the Cotton Bowl and AT&T Stadium, how the Sooners and Longhorns have changed since October and what to expect on Saturday. Also, the boys pick this weekend’s championship slate and one massive non-conference game.

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: Big 12 Championship (Texas)

Remember how you felt on the afternoon of October 6th?

The sickening feeling in your gut as that field goal sailed through the Cotton Bowl’s southern uprights? The numbness as you watched Austin Kendall randomly trot out for a desperation touchdown attempt? The burning anger as you listened to the burnt orange throngs of Longhorn bellow out “OU SUCKS” at the end of their fight song?

Walking out of the Cotton Bowl after a loss to Texas is one of the worst feelings as an Oklahoma football fan. It feels like all the hype of the season up to that point of the day just collapses on you, with no shot at redemption until next October.

Until now.

Yes, the Sooners get another shot at Texas and the stakes have never been bigger. While the State Fair, Big Tex, the Cotton Bowl, Corny Dogs and the Golden Hat will have to wait for next season, this game still features what this hallowed rivalry really boils down to: Oklahoma, Texas, and ol’ fashioned split crowd full of pure hatred.

However this time there is an added twist, a ghost pepper thrown into an already scorching pot of chili. If OU wins, they are all-but returning to the College Football Playoff. If they lose, the season is not only a bust but they would have lost to Texas again. For both, the winner gets to celebrate a Big 12 title in front of their most hated rival.

The loser takes the most gut-wrenching walk of their life.

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Meet the Longhorns:

A few weeks ago, this game looked incredibly unlikely to happen. After losing two straight game to Oklahoma State and West Virginia, Texas needed the Mountaineers to have a late season collapse to make the Big 12 title and to win out themselves. The Horns got their wish: West Virginia blew close games to both the Cowboys and Sooners to end the season. The Horns took care of business against Iowa State, thumping the Cyclones in Austin and wrapped up the season with a struggle-win against Kansas.

Texas has looked a little different since the first Saturday in October. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who torched the Sooner defense with his legs, hasn’t looked quite the same all season. The defense has been porous at times. In general, they aren’t quite back like we thought they were.

Don’t fool yourself; these Horns are dangerous. The quarterback running game is still there, as are receivers Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson. The defense can still be stingy at times. This needs to be an especially inspired and passionate performance from the Sooners for them to take home their forth straight Big 12 title on Saturday.

Who to Watch For:

WR #84 Lil’Jordan Humphrey

All season on The Schooner Pod we’ve discussed how big receivers are the biggest factor when discussing things that break apart the Oklahoma defense. There is no receiver in the Big 12 more suited to wreak havoc against the Sooners than Lil’Jordan Humprey and you don’t have to take my word for it.

Look at the tape from earlier this season and you’ll see why L.J. is a terror; the guy just simply is too big to cover for our receivers. I don’t really know how to fix this; this man will just play bully ball. I suppose you take your chances and scrap when he scraps. Look for him and Collin Johnson to give you plenty of headaches on Saturday.

QB #11 Sam Ehlinger

Just as I said in October, Ehlinger isn’t exactly a great quarterback. With that being said, he is the perfect fit for punishing the Sooner defense. In October, Ehlinger’s running game was the factor that pushed both the game and Mike Stoops over the edge, rushing for 72 yards and three touchdowns. While he is struggling with a shoulder injury, expect to see him run the ball often.

As far as passing goes, Ehlinger doesn’t need be great, but just good enough. His receivers (mentioned above) are big enough to cover up any accuracy issues that he may have. In the Red River Showdown he torched the Sooners for 314 yards and two touchdowns. For the OU defense to be successful against both him and this Texas offense they will need to put pressure on Ehlinger and confine him to the pocket.

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Series History (Texas, 62-46-5)

This is gonna be a weird one. Not only was the last time the Red River Shootout was played outside the Cotton Bowl was 1923, but this game’s venue, AT&T Stadium (aka, Jerry World) couldn’t be more different. The Cotton Bowl is in the middle of a state fair; AT&T Stadium is in the middle of $60 parking. The Cotton Bowl struggles to have working plumbing; AT&T Stadium has 18 different art installations. You get the gist.

In my biased opinion, I think AT&T Stadium is a soulless corporate hole of venue, while the Cotton Bowl is holy ground that should be protected at all costs. The split on ideology of whether or not to move the main game from the State Fair has been heated already and will only grow hotter after Saturday’s game. I don’t know whether or not fans will warm up to the new digs or immediately miss their Corny Dogs and demand the Big 12 Championship move to Fair Park.

The one thing we know for sure? This will be something the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Game Week: Big 12 Championship (TCU)

The Oklahoma Sooners are one win away from a return from the College Football Playoff. This would be a lot cooler if the game we are playing actually made sense to play.

OU beat TCU, much like 8 of the 9 teams on its Big 12 schedule. In the past few years, the Sooners would have this title signed, sealed and delivered. However, because TCU and Baylor got left out of the Playoff for Ohio State in 2014, the Big 12 has a useless championship game now. A championship game that, ironically enough, can only hurt the conference’s Playoff chances.

So, reluctantly the Oklahoma Sooners will cross the border southbound to play the Red River Rivalry Jr. at 11 A.M. in a joyless, sterile stadium for a championship that should already be theirs, against a team they already soundly defeat.

Sound easy? Think again.

patterson.jpg Who are the Horned Frogs?

I don’t trust Gary Patterson. This weaselly ass dude has something up his damn sleeve and I just know it. Sure, OU is a way better team, sure, Kenny Hill has a noodle arm and sure, TCU lost to this same Oklahoma team three weeks ago. But Patterson is a defensive genius whose teams have a penchant for winning games when nobody thinks they can.

With that being said, there is absolutely no love lost between these two sides. Between the close games since 2012, on-field antics and off-field chirping, these two teams don’t like each other. I’d expect both sides to come out fired up for this one.

Last Time We Met: November 12th, 2017 in Norman. OU 38, TCU 20

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Perks of the rematch? I don’t have to write anything here, just check out my article from last month.

Student Ticket Claim:

For the lucky SOB’s that got seats in the first round, you’ll have to get them at OU’s will call at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. There was a sneaky pass out on Thursday, so the ticket office might also pass them out Friday, but I don’t really know. I would keep an eye glued to your email for more info.

As for us second round seat people, the tickets will get sent to you sometime soon via mobile entry. Of course, you need to download the AT&T Stadium app (why is this a thing?) to use the tickets. According to the confirmation email, the ticket office will email you your tickets and instructions on how to download them to the app.

AT&T Stadium:

Dallas

AT&T Stadium, or Jerry World as I call it, is a structure that can only be compared to the likes of the Death Star. If you haven’t seen it before, it honestly takes your breath away when you see the enormous silver dome looming over the Texas plains.

Personally, I find the stadium an affront to college football. Inside, it’s cold, sterile and has no personality whatsoever. It’s like that one SpongeBob episode where Squidward goes to the future and everything is chrome.

Parking is an enormous, expensive and well-documented hassle here. Expect to pay big relatively bucks if you want to park within a mile of the stadium. As for Uber/Lyft, unless you are staying in Arlington, a ride would set you about 30 bucks to get there, and that’s without the surge up-charge. No matter what you do, I recommend biting the bullet and carpooling. Just make sure they actually Venmo you back.

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As we are now in the postseason, it’s time to get familiar with NFL bag policies, as that’s all we’ll be seeing for awhile! AT&T Stadium has a standard strict bag policy, as outlined above.

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Almost everything is expensive at Jerry World, so I recommend eating before. There are absurd things like Kobe Beef on the menu, which honestly is just ludicrous. While I know starting up early for an 11 AM game, I recommend drinking early, as beer is 9 bucks and….wait a second.

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THEY SELL SMIRNOFF ICE HERE? Oh lord, the game has been changed. Get ready to get Iced randomly in a football game. These a-holes are in the year 3017.

Pregame:

Ugh. What a terrible time to have the 2nd 11 AM game of the year. Tailgating is a lost cause at Jerry World, unless you are in the know or are loaded. Even then, you need to wake up early as shit to get there and get the buzz going, and unless you want a 60+ dollar roundtrip Uber ride, you are either banking on a DD or have to suffer through a sober 11 AM game.

Because this is a modern NFL stadium, you are basically in the middle of nowhere. So good luck trying to find a bar.