Need to Know Changes at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

It’s 2018 and Oklahoma Memorial Stadium has finally caught up to the modern world.

Sadly, the changes made in the offseason to stadium don’t include beer sales or a re-entry policy, but just more red tape making your gameday that much more of a hassle in the name of safety. While it isn’t the most glamorous topic of all time, this blog could be the difference maker in making or breaking your experience on Saturdays in the fall.

Metal

Walkthrough Metal Detectors

This is probably the most impactful change made this season. If you have been to a recent NBA, NFL or OU basketball game, you should know about these and how the process works.

If you don’t, listen up now because I swear I’ll be pissed if I end up behind you in line.

When you are in line, make sure you know to take all your metal items out and have them ready to put in the little bowl. Or even better, bring as few metal items as possible. If you aren’t sure what to remove, here is a helpful graphic from OU Athletics to educate you.

Metal detectors

As a result of these rule changes, expect to leave a little earlier than you would have in previous years. Yeah, you can’t drink as much, but you can sacrifice that for football.

To accommodate these new changes, the doors now open two hours before kickoff. This shouldn’t change your routine unless you are a pledge marking off territory in the student section or an oddball who loves warmups, empty stadiums and jock jams from the mid 2000s more than drinking beer.

Big reminder for everyone in route to the student section: buy plastic flasks, not metal. Your boots can’t save you now.

Clear Bag Policy

This one goes out to the girls and weirdos who bring backpacks to the game. Like the NFL and various other college teams and leagues, OU has implemented a clear bag policy. This means that non- clear bags and purses that are larger than 6.5 x 4.5 are banned. This means that you either have to ditch the purse or take it back and neither option is good.

Before you go, be absolutely sure that your clutch fits 6.5 x 4.5. Don’t guesstimate, because that will lead to you being almost 100% wrong and missing the first quarter because you had to turn back to your tailgate/home/car.

Attached below is an official bag policy graphic, if the explanation wasn’t clear enough.

Clear bag

 

10 Predictions for the 2018 Season (Part 2)

(In case you missed it, here is Part 1)

6. Bookie wins Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year, but is robbed of Player of the Year

Like pretty much every OU fan that has been paying attention, I’m all in on Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles. The five-star defensive back from IMG Academy is Florida has the potential to be an absolute game changer on a defense that really needs one.

Bookie possesses an insane defensive IQ paired with nuclear athleticism. In spring football, he played a wide range of defensive back positions, so he might move around a field a bit depending on how other personel shakes out.

If he lives up to the (well deserved) hype, you can consider him a shoo-in for Freshman DPOY.

7. Drake Stoops will contribute

Will he be good? I have no idea. (I swear this prediction isn’t based on that one hand catch in preseason camp).

To say Drake Stoops is undervalued is an understatement. A walk on from Norman North, Stoops is apparently getting attention in camp for more than just his last name. Despite his small stature, Stoops is a gritty receiver who gets the little things right. Realistic, it might take a year for him to see actual significant playing time with how deep the receiving corps is, but I could see him making a big impact in the slot.

8. The Sooners will win a record 4th straight Big 12 Title

This is a pretty down year for the Big 12 in terms of elite teams. Despite this, I actually see this being a pretty great year for Big 12 parity; I think we will see some major cannibalization between positions 2-7. Perennial top dogs TCU and Oklahoma State are going through rebuilding years, Texas isn’t fully back, and I think middle of the road teams like Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech will be improved.

The one team I believe has major upside to break from the pack is West Virginia. They’ve been a trendy pick to win the conference this year with the return of Will Grier, but I’m just not sold yet. I think the rest of the conference is too good for them to finish without at least two losses and playing a late season Oklahoma offense in back-to-back games won’t be easy.

It’ll be a wild race to the finish, but you gotta take the safe bet in the Sooners winning their 12th (!) Big 12 Championship.

9. Oklahoma gets left out of the College Football Playoff

Scheduling elite home and homes is massively important in the Playoff era. Even if you drop an early game to an elite team, if you win out the rest of the way the committee has tended to offer a bit of an amnesty for the loss. Win the game and you have a sort of “get out of jail free” card.

The Sooners benefitted from this last season after the signature win in the Horseshoe against Ohio State helped wash out its baffling home loss to Iowa State. This season, Oklahoma doesn’t have that luxury.

While the schedule isn’t weak by any means (For example, no November games against The Citadel; Looking at you, Bama), it isn’t entirely impressive. Unless UCLA or FAU goes on an unsuspecting tear, OU will have to rely on winning out or a Big 12 team separating from the pack to produce its signature win.

Unfortunately, I don’t see either happening.

Even if OU survives its schedule with one loss, they will have to hope the Pac 12 champion falls apart (probably Washington, who opens against Auburn) as well as another conference failing to get two teams into the Playoff. I think the worst case scenario happens, sending OU to the Sugar Bowl. At least it’s in NOLA!

(Playoff predictions? Alabama, Clemson, Washington and Wisconsin. Yawn.)

10. OU avenges its Rose Bowl loss in the Sugar Bowl against Georgia

Damn would this be a good one. In their only meeting ever, the Sooners and Dawgs produced what was probably the best non-championship Playoff game to date. If OU missed the playoff, this would easily be the best timeline.

Georgia is going to be as good as they have ever been, but I think Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa are going to pull through to win the SEC, despite concerns about linebacker depth. Their toughest non-conference opponent (other than the yearly rivalry game against Georgia Tech) is Middle Tennessee State or UMass, take your pick.

Maybe I just want to end this relatively pessimistic series of articles on an optimistic note, but I just have a feeling that things would turn out differently in this one. This Sooners team has the skill and ability to compete with anyone when motivated and healthy. I would just see them coming out on top and avenging last season’s loss.

Still wouldn’t make the squib kick any easier to take though.

10 Predictions for the 2018 Season (Part 1)

Despite having some success on my preseason predictions last season, I would be lying if I said I felt confident in coming anywhere close to getting it right this season.  I’m usually wildly optimistic about the Sooners pretty much every year, but with some significant roster changes and a second year head coach, the crystal ball seems much hazier than last season.

So while most of these will probably be wrong, at least we might end up having a good laugh at this article in a few months.

kyler

1. Kyler Murray will win the starting QB job

Sure, Kyler Murray has seemed to be the obvious choice at quarterback this season pretty much since he transferred into Oklahoma. But considering that we are just ten days out without a starting quarterback announcement from Lincoln Riley, I think the job is legitimately up in the air.

I’m sure Austin Kendall is a fine quarterback. He redshirted last season, so we haven’t seen much of him since 2016 when he backed up Baker and dropped some questionable bulletin board material before the Ohio State game. While he looked like a “basic” quarterback in most of his snaps, a lot has changed since then. He probably has improved.

However, if anything this just shows me that Murray might not be the elite we think he will be.

Don’t get me wrong, Murray is without a doubt a supreme athlete. We saw quite a bit of the Texas A&M transfer last season, usually in strategic situations, such as coming in for an “injured” Baker against Ohio State or being apart of a baffling two quarterback set in the biggest game of the year (pardon me while I scream into a pillow). However, we very rarely saw him throw in volume, with the one exception being the season opener against UTEP (10/11 for 149 yards and one TD).

Replacing a Heisman winner is a tough act to follow, but replacing the most accurate quarterback in the history of the game? That’s damn near impossible. I suspect that the passing aspect of Murray’s game is the thing holding the decision back, but in the end Murray just has too much upside to pass up.

(Edit: that was easy.)

2. OU will not cover the spread in any of the first four games (FAU, UCLA, Iowa State and Army)

Not exactly a murder’s row, I know. But with OU riding high from last season’s massive success and the relative lack of a brand name opponent, I can see Vegas putting the Sooners as a high favorite for most of these. While I don’t think Oklahoma will lose any of these games (more on that in a moment), I think all of them have the potential to really put a scare into the hearts of everyone in crimson.

FAU, for reasons I’ll go in great depth on next week, is an upset waiting to happen. UCLA lost star quarterback Josh Rosen, but gained a genius head coach (in college, anyways) in Chip Kelly. Iowa State not only beat OU last season, but is playing this game at home with key contributors David Montgomery and Kyle Kempt returning along with one of the best defenses in the Big 12. Army runs the triple option, which should worry anyone who watched the Rose Bowl last season.

Despite this, I firmly believe that OU is better than all these teams. There aren’t any Ohio States lurking this time around. However, the Sooners must grow up quick in order to survive September unscathed.

rodney

3. Rodney Anderson will be a dark horse Heisman candidate

One of the biggest surprises from last season was the sudden rise of tailback Rodney Anderson. After several season ending injuries, we finally got a good look at the Katy, TX product in 2017.

Early on, Anderson was just okay, with the bulk of the carries going to then freshman Trey Sermon and Adbul Adams (who transferred to Syracuse after the season). Hell, he didn’t even receive double digits carries until the Red River Shootout.

From midseason on, Anderson became an absolute workhorse for the Sooners. In a blink of an eye the man turned into Adrian Peterson with 100+ yard games in six of his last nine games, culminating in a 201 yard, two touchdown performance for the ages in the Rose Bowl.

While Anderson is a powerful downhill back, his ability to contribute to the passing game makes him a multifaceted back that is brutally hard to stop. Good luck to Big 12 defenses trying to figure him out this season.

4. The Sooners will go undefeated in rivalry games this season…

It’s late August and as is tradition the wave of sports writers and bloggers have emerged from their hole like its Groundhog Day to shout to anyone who will listen that “Texas is Back”! Of course this ignores the lack of a strong quarterback, proven success and apparently only having “some” elite players.

I’ll give Tom Herman this, despite being a total asshat, at least he’s honest.

Texas has made strides towards being a respectable team. But I’m not buying the yearly declaration of Texas as a playoff contender or even a conference contender. With that being said, I think Texas will bring a really good record into the Red River Shootout, giving the game the hype it deserves.

I also think the Sooners will match that hype, avoiding the usual grogginess we’ve seen the previous seasons. It’s always hard to tell who wins this game, but I have a motivated Sooner team handling the ‘Horns and sending the flag into the heart of the Cotton Bowl.

Oklahoma State has had a long period of consistent success rivaled by very few. However…this is going to be a definite down year for the Cowboys. While they still have star tailback Justice Hill, I think the loss of Mason Rudolph and James Washington will prove too hard to replace this season, especially if Taylor Corneilius is “the guy” in Stillwater. They won’t be bad, but this won’t be the year for them (it usually isn’t).

5. …but will lose 1-2 stupid games

The schedule sets up really well this season for Oklahoma. Which honestly is the first big warning sign that something bad will happen.

For the first time in over a decade, OU has seven home games, which is a huge blessing from the schedule gods. Not only that, the Sooners only play two games out of Oklahoma and Texas, traveling to Iowa State and West Virginia. I think they handle both.

But as is tradition with Oklahoma football, there is always a sneaky upset around the corner. This year, I’m predicting that one (or even both) of OU’s usual suspects, Kansas State and Texas Tech, will upset the Sooners in a game they should win.

K-State is always tricky. I just don’t trust Bill Snyder, especially in Norman. The Wildcats have beaten the Sooners two out of the past three games at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and are bringing in an improved team. After surviving a scare in Manhattan last season, the Sooners better be ready for the Wildcats.

As for Tech…anything can happen in Lubbock. On top of the fans are the most ruthless I’ve ever seen, the Red Raiders actually have a defense now to go along with their pass happy offense. They aren’t great by any means, but Jones AT&T Stadium has had its share of season wrecking games.