Game Week: Kansas

It’s Kansas on Senior Night in Norman. While the Jayhawks have improved this season, they are still just an awful football team. I know things have been shaky after the Tech and OSU debacles, but this Kansas team is going to be athletically and schematically overwhelmed. If the Sooners can’t blow out this team, they don’t deserve to be the Playoff, simple as that. The game is important in the sense that OU needs to win big and stay healthy going into next week’s showdown in Morgantown.

Meet the Jayhawks:

Things are looking up in Lawrence. After an embarrassing home loss to Nichols to open the season, the Jayhawks picked up two big non-conference wins against Central Michigan and Rutgers, as well as a rare conference win against the dumpster fire TCU Horned Frogs. While Kansas has improved, they did just fire head coach David Beaty, who is finishing out the season with the team.

Who to Watch For:

RB Pooka Williams Jr.

A few off-seasons ago, Kansas had a bizarre stretch where they established a legit recruiting pipeline to Louisiana, grabbing several four stars en route to a temporary #1 ranking in the Big 12. While it naturally fell apart, probably when the recruits remembered “oh yeah, they’ve gone 2-22 in the past two seasons”, there were a few stragglers.

That star of those stragglers is true freshman tailback Pooka Williams Jr., who has quietly become one of the best backs in the Big 12. Williams is a versatile back who can catch out of the backfield. He is young and doesn’t have much help, but after seeing what OSU’s Chubba Hubbard did against the Sooners on Saturday, you can see why this guy can be dangerous.

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Series History: 75-17-6 (Oklahoma)

The Jayhawks have only beaten the Sooners six times since 1965 and twice since the Big Eight became the Big 12. While it’s a pretty unremarkable football history, I hold an enormous distain for the Jayhawks due to the basketball history.

Growing up a massive OU basketball fan in the days of Hollis Price, Kelvin Sampson and Tog Dawg, my early days were spent with the Sooners perennially in the Final Four hunt. And who was the biggest hurdle annually, but the Kansas Jayhawks.

I despised KU. My Dad truly taught how to hate the Jayhawks from an early age, telling me tales of how Danny Manning and the 1988 team robbed the Sooners of a national title, something I’m still convinced of. One of my favorite early sports memories was watching Bucknell knock off Kansas in the first round of an NCAA Tournament in the Ford Center. Hell, I even didn’t like Nick Collison for awhile when he got to the Oklahoma City Thunder purely on the grounds of him being a Jayhawk. Kansas always seems to pop up and antagonize me, from them spoiling an all-time classic Buddy Hield game in 2016, to almost killing me with free beer and chilly temperatures last season. I’ll always harbor a grudge against them, no matter how little sense it makes.

Saturday is my last Dad’s Day as a student and I’m already excited to spend it with my dad, irrationally hating on a team for a sport that isn’t even being played.

OU squeaks out the win against OSU, 48-47: An Actual Recap

Editor’s Note: The original post was just the above GIF. It summed up the game pretty well, to be honest. 

After taking a day to digest that game, I have some thoughts that deserve to get written down.

  • I gotta give credit where it is due; Taylor “Corndog” Cornelius played a pretty good game. Sure, he had some absolutely abysmal throws (including that conversion throw, woof), but in general he stepped up and got the ball to his playmakers. 501 yards and three touchdowns is a big time performance. Tylan Wallace (220 yds, 2 tds) and Tyron Johnson (128 yds, 1 td) absolutely broke the game open for Corndog, along with impressive rushing support from Chubba Hubbard (where were you, Justice Hill?). Mistakes just soiled the game for the Cowboys.
  • Oklahoma’s defense was yet again awful. More Mike Stoops style eight yard cushions, more getting burnt. The inability to cover slants and the flats are just sickening and the amount of times the OU safeties got burnt on long balls were just embarrassing. They dared Corndog to make throws and most of the time he made them.
  • Kyler had himself another big day; 21-29 for 349 yards with an extra 66 on the ground. Murray’s decision making looked sharp and decisive and he made some impressive throws. It wasn’t the best offensive best game of the season by any means, but I thought that Murray wasn’t the issue by a long shot. Don’t blame Kyler for not being Baker.
  • Penalties yet again bit the Sooners as they racked up a total of 80 penalty yards compared to Oklahoma State’s 30. This has become an infuriating trend in these OU “struggle wins” that flat out kills offensive drives. Whether due to poor officiating or just making mistakes, it needs to stop before West Virginia.

MVP: #26 Kennedy Brooks and #4 Trey Sermon

These two have been trading spots in this column for a few weeks and now they rightfully get to share it. With T.J. Pledger out, Brooks and Sermon were the only two healthy backs on the roster. They both got some serious work, with Brooks rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries and Sermon rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. The OU offense relied on these two to get the job done and they strongly delivered. I’ve long wished Lincoln Riley would focus more on the running game when it’s working instead of forcing the pass and it’s due to fantastic backs like these two.

LVP: My Heart Health

I know it’s Bedlam and offense goes out the window, but can we please have a decently comfortable Bedlam? Since 2010, only two of eight games have been settled by the fourth quarter and half of them have featured both teams scoring over 40 points. While most of these games have featured two good teams and led to classic games, my heart could use a break (and probably less fast food chicken, but that’s neither here nor there).

Up Next: Kansas and their merry band of misfits. One last breath before things get truly nuts.

Game Week: Oklahoma State

Bedlam Week means one in thing in Stillwater and another in Norman. For Oklahoma State fans, the game has been somewhat of a cure all game; win and the season is a success, no matter the record. Hell, any Poke win would probably be an automatic instant classic.

In Norman however, wins are expected. It’s just OSU, after all.

Meet the Aggies Cowboys:

Historically, Oklahoma State isn’t the best team, but over the past ten years the Cowboys have been one of the most consistently good teams in college football. This season has been a rare down season for the Pokes; they have an inconsistent, non-traditional quarterback and a defense that has been unreliable at best. They’ve shown flashes of greatness (Texas, Boise State) as well as some really, really bad showings (Kansas State, Baylor). The ever eccentric Mike Gundy seems to be fully off his rocker with his wild moves turning out either to work wildly well or fail miserably.

In other words, they are a true wild card.

Looking at most of the data and film, you can easily see that this is not a good Oklahoma State team at all. However…that Texas game lingers. This is a Cowboy team that can sneak up on a better team and randomly light it up.

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Who to Watch For:

#5 Justice Hill, RB & #14 Taylor “Corndog” Cornelius

I know, I know. “Bobby, you’ve been ripping Taylor Cornelius all season, why is he even mentioned on this”? Well, my loyal readers, let me direct you to the definition of the wild card.

  • wild card (/ˈwīl(d) ˌkärd/)
    • A person or thing whose influence is unpredictable or whose influence is uncertain.

Cornelius and the Cowboys are just that. This is a team with nothing to lose and (in their mind, at least) everything to gain. The only shot OSU has at glory left on this season is this game right here. I could see the Pokes cutting the brakes and going all in on some wild “run first” gameplan as it seems that the only thing Corn Dog is good at is stumbling forward and getting a few yards.

OU has been notoriously bad at stopping the quarterback run; they even struggled last week with containing Jett Duffy, the terrible backup Tech quarterback who came in for Alan Bowman last Saturday.

Oh, and not to mention that Oklahoma State has one of the best running backs in the Big 12. While this hasn’t been a landmark season for Justice Hill, the guy is one of the most athletic backs in the Big 12 that can break out at any moment.

The Cowboys are down and out. But you never want to deal with a desperate team with nothing to lose.

Series History: 87-18-7 (Oklahoma)

As you can tell from the above record, the Bedlam football is infamously lopsided. Even in this golden age of Oklahoma State football (let’s say 2008-2017, when the Pokes went 96-34 and had six 10-plus win seasons) the Cowboys have only beaten the Sooners twice. One was 2011, where arguably the best Oklahoma State team of all time routed a walking wounded OU team and the other being the abysmal 2014 “Tyreek Hill game”.

It is honestly a tragic, yet hilarious, irony. After all the money, renovations, wins and bowl games, the Pokes still can’t have the one thing they want most: beat OU. Not only haven’t they been able to beat the Sooners, but it seems like they are the one thing stopping them from reaching that next level. OU has foiled several Big 12 championships and potentially even a Playoff birth in 2015.

Maybe the university should just move to Kansas.

Stillwater

You know, I think I’d like Stillwater a lot more if I wasn’t an OU fan. From the unbiased eye, it kinda feels like a more country version of Manhattan, Kansas (that is saying something).But after so many Bedlam trips, I just am tired of the town. All that charm is tainted by that neon orange, desperate attempts to look relevant and lines at the bars.

Oh god, the lines at the bars.


img_3620Due to how close Stillwater is to Norman and a certain date party the night before, we made the early morning drive up I-35 that Saturday. The pregame for this game always feels like a bit of a high school reunion for me. My group was mostly my friends from back home, as we all were staying with our mutual Poke friend, Chase.

First move was grabbing some beer (of course). When you road trip with friends at the specific college, the move is always house party jumping over bars. Not only can you obviously bring your own stuff, it just is a better way to pregame.

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I gotta say this about Stillwater; they have the coolest liquor store/gas station thing ever. The Barn is a drive through where you can pick up a 30 of beer from the comfort of your own pickup. We walked through, grabbed some Coors and made our way to the Sixes.

The Sixes is a group of apartment just south of The Strip, OSU’s bar district. There was a massive house party group right out front where apparently half of the people I’ve ever known are. It was like one of those wild scenes from something you’ve seen on Barstool 5th Year. Actually, Barstool 5th Year was there for that matter!


As kickoff neared, it was time to make the move to the tailgates south of Boone Pickens Stadium. All the fraternities gather together and make a wild scene with some of the best tailgate food i’ve ever had. I’m talking jambalaya, boudin and sausage that tasted like they came straight from Bayou country.

Unfortunately, the tailgates also presented the biggest problem that day; the lines. Trying to pee in the heart of tailgate country is impossible. The port-a-potty lines were at least a thirty minute wait. I tried everything; the nearby bars were packed, the school buildings were locked and my friends were unwilling to form a circle (understandable).

The only remedy was to go in an hour early and use the stadium restrooms. Such a waste of some good pregame time.


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I forget just how awful OSU’s stadium setup is. The endzones run East-West instead of North-South. While this seems like a minor detail, try staring in the sun for a full game and get back to me.While I was happy my feet didn’t freeze (as is Bedlam tradition), the weather was brutally hot.

The game was an exhausting offensive duel. After Baker’s 4th quarter pick my heart gave out; I though there was no way we could stop Rudolph. Then, all hope returned with that last Oklahoma interception. I freaked out; the Pokes had choked again.

Of course, after that came the slow, insufferable drain of realizing we were screwed; we all became targeting rulebook experts that day. Thankfully, the Cowboys choked, as is tradition and a Trey Sermon touchdown got us out of the woods.

The important thing is, OU is firmly back in the Playoff race.


The long slog back to Chase’s was almost as draining as realizing how bad the food lines would be for literally everything. Me and my crew settled for Jimmy John’s (Editor’s Note: apparently now the official postgame meal of The Schooner Blog, we ate there after TCU too) and attempted to rally for the postgame.

We thought about going the house party route again; the bar lines were ungodly long. But when the party ended up blowing, we returned to Chase’s and were prepared to call it quits. That is, until Chase’s roommate called us out and brought us to The Copper Penny.

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The Copper Penny is a wonderful place. Half is outdoors, half is a little quaint indoor bar. The outdoor portion was pretty cool, but what separated the bar from anything in Norman is The Limey, a 32 oz drink with what has been described as “an 8 second pour of McCormick’s Vodka”. The drink is for two, but for those not exhausted by the night, one should be the perfect kickstart for the night. You can barely taste the vodka; it is beautiful.

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The Limey.


img_3634We ended up crashing early after meeting friends at the Penny. We got lucky by having some friends ditch out on riding back with us, so we got a bit of a treat by going to the Original Hideaway Pizza the next morning, which provided a nice bow to wrap up this trip.

As we merged back onto I-35, I realized something crazy; there was only one road game left on this wild, wild ride, with everything from here to Atlanta ahead of us.

Delay of Recap: Bedlam

(Oh hey y’all. There was a pretty stressful game Saturday. Due to Stillwater apparently not having cell service, there was no Quick Reaction. So here’s a way way way late recap of Bedlam)

Bedlams are routinely stressful. That being said, you always feel like the Sooners will wiggle their way out of it, just like how Bugs Bunny always seems to get the better of Daffy Duck at the last moment.

Every season, our little brothers up north just loooove to talk about how this is going to be the year they finally take down the Sooners. And nearly without fail, it all unravels in hilariously spectacular fashion. This season, OSU got godsend play after godsend play in the fourth quarter and what happens? Mason Rudolph, who was unstoppable all game long, falls apart on his final drive of the game after getting at least three game ending mistakes back. Then, Trey Sermon stuck the dagger in their hearts and twisted hard.

It was so perfectly Oklahoma State.

  • This might have been Baker’s finest game yet. Outside of two picks, he was nearly perfect against a solid Cowboy defense. Mayfield’s 598 yards, 6 total touchdowns and a 95.4 QBR made one of the best defenses in the Big 12 look like swiss cheese.
  • That being said, OU’s defense also looked just awful. I’m starting to wonder; are they that bad or are the Big 12 offenses that good?
  • Nah, out defense is that bad.
  • Starting to notice a trend of running back getting shut down after fumbles/mistakes. Abdul Adams went MIA after that “dropped pass” (aka fumble) in the first quarter. Interesting philosophy. I would have loved to see more Adams though.
  • Oklahoma State’s offense is as good as advertised. Yeah everyone talks about Rudolph, but Justice Hill is the real deal. Like a mini Reggie Bush. Look for him to get real Heisman hype next season.
  • Another solid performance for Rodney Anderson, who is easily becoming the first option for OU’s run game. 111 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown is a solid outing.
  • Can you remember a time OU had this many receiving options? Has there ever been a time with a deeper receiving corps?

(Non Baker) MVP: Marquise Brown. This guy was just unbelievable. For all the (well deserved) talk about CeeDee Lamb as OU’s featured receiver, Brown might be the Sooners best option. Brown’s 265 receiving yards was a school record and his two touchdowns came at huge moments. Great story for “Hollywood”.

LVP: Anyone who celebrates that made up 1945 title. Seriously, that’s just so corny.

Up Next: TCU. The road to the Playoff continues.

 

Game Week: Oklahoma State

Here we are, the part of the season we’ve all been waiting for: Red November. The Big 12 schedulers love to put all the big OU matchups at the end of the season (other than juggernaut, Iowa State) so that typically results in at least three legit games and one random cupcake (sup Kansas).

This year? We start with an early Bedlam in Stillwater.

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Who are the Cowboys?

To the rest of the world, Oklahoma State is a threat. For past ten years, the Pokes have been an offensive juggernaut, rolling over defenses as if they didn’t exist. Stillwater has seen the rise of what many consider as the Oregon of the Southern Plains, a true contender in not only the Big 12 picture, but the national one as one of the best teams in the nation annually.

To us in Norman? They are still little brother. Despite all their success, the golden era Cowboys have only two wins over the Sooners. To many Cowboys, the inability to beat OU sticks in their side like a knife. Trust me, it shows. There are few games with as much vitriol as Bedlam in Stillwater (the Norman brand is more tame, the hatred is rather one-sided).

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An Animal Husbandry Major, pictured above.

While OU fans generally dismiss their northern neighbors, the prospect of an Oklahoma State victory in football is worse than losing to Texas. See, with a loss to Texas, you hear gloating for a bit, sometimes it extends past a year.

With OSU, the most recent loss never dies. I still hear “Kick it again, Bob!” three years after the infamous Tyreek Hill return.

It makes sense for OSU to hold on dearly to their wins; they only have 18 in 111 years of playing the game. But honestly, they take any chance necessary to try to make themselves look good.

The most egregious act of little-brotherness was their claiming of the 1945 National Title, which was a year that is unanimously considered to be won by Army, one of the best college football teams of all time. Army’s claim as the best in college football is almost so ironclad that Alabama, who claims any title they possibly can claim, refuses to acknowledge their undefeated 1945 Tide as National Champs.

On top of that, they are just so damned easy to make fun of. They legit rolled out this song for use in a hype video and named it “Cowboys4Ever”.

Yeah, that might be the worst thing ever. It sounds like a scrapped theme for The Teletubbies. With that being said, I’m not sure what cracks me up more, the “oooooooooh ooooooooh” at the start, or that god awful “the prairie wind touches our skin” line. I think the fact they spelled it as 4ever take the cake on this one. Sure, this was like 9 years old, but honestly nothing sums these guys up more than this song.

I could honestly go on forever about how bad Oklahoma State sucks. I could easily go on rants about the trip attempt in 2013, the turkey leg waving gif, or the fact their mascot looks like someone that would horrify both children and parents.

But honestly, it’s just too easy to beat up on your little brother.

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Last Time We Met: December 3rd, 2016 in Norman. OU 38, OSU 20

For the second year, it was Bedlam for the Big 12 championship and for the second year OU came out on top. The first half was pretty competitive, especially after Dede Westbrook got knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Tied at 17 going into halftime, the Sooners came out on fire, outscoring the Cowboys 18-3 to finish the game behind huge games from Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine. The score should have been 45-20, if not for Perine taking the mercy knee on the one-yard line. Easily the most savage move in Bedlam history.

Boone Pickens Stadium:

I’ll give the Pokes this; the stadium is awesome. They patched the place up since my first visit in 2002 when you felt the stands would collapse at any time. It’s not a big stadium, but it can get loud with Gallager-Iba Arena bouncing sound back at you.

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The visiting sections are these slivers at the East ends of the horseshoe. Oklahoma State purposefully doesn’t sell Bedlam tickets outside of Season Tickets and the Visiting Allotment sent to OU, so unless you know someone, you are hitting the resale market.

If you are in Norman on Friday, ticket pickup is from 9-5 at the OU ticket office. On Gameday, OU’s will call will be located at gate N7 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The bag policy is a solid 12x12x12 so no need to worry about this stadium, ladies.

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College Gameday:

Gameday is coming to Stillwater, likely eliminating any chance of Norman getting it. So if you want to do a proper Gameday, this one might be your only chance. The traditional setup in Stillwater is usually in front of the Edmon Low Library and I anticipate it will probably still be there. Plan on getting to Gameday around 6-7 AM.

(Good luck dealing with the Poke fans, i’ll be resting up for the bars that night.)

Off the Field:

I’m going to get this out of the way first. Don’t be a rookie and attempt to go to Eskimo Joe’s on Saturday. It’s going to be a damn madhouse. However, apparently they have outdoor vendors around Stillwater if you want some of those sweet, sweet, cheese-fries.

If you are looking for other pregame spots, The Strip is a solid collection of bars and restaurants that have some solid deals to get drunk off of. The tailgate scene is not too bad either, but make sure to be prepared if you think you can mooch off fraternity tailgate beers. The university has a strict Greek Life alcohol policy that scares houses away from providing the alcohol, so be prepared to BYOB if you are stopping by any tailgates.

Bedlam in Stillwater gets heated like nothing else. Always make sure you have backup for the worst case scenario.