Game Week: #5 Oklahoma @ #2 Ohio State

Alright, here we go. No more cupcakes (for now), no more bullshit. We are hitting the gas hard and heading right on to Ohio State. This without a doubt is the toughest game on the schedule and probably the most daunting road game OU has played in recent memory. So whether you are one of the brave few headed up north or staying in the Norman, here’s what you should know before Saturday’s big game.

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Who are the Buckeyes?

Well this is a pretty dumb question to anyone that knows college football, but nothing wrong with some background. Normally, any school that specifically puts “THE” in front of their name come off as a lame and try-hard move, but Ohio State can back up their arrogance. Historically, OU’s football program has few peers, and Ohio State is one of them. With eight national titles, seven Heisman Trophys and 35 Big Ten titles, Ohio State is a titan of the sport. Basically, they have the ego of Texas with the clout to actually back it up.

Last Time We Met: September 7th, 2016 in Norman. Ohio State 45, OU 24. 

Ugh. This one was brutal. A massive storm rolled through Norman and delayed kickoff for over an hour, which apparently absolutely killed any momentum with both players and fans. Momentum or not, Ohio State was simply the better team that day. The Oklahoma secondary was as weak as i’ve ever seen it, allowing Noah Brown four touchdown receptions and anything anyone wanted.

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Ohio State’s defense was out for blood that day, clearly motivated by Austin Kendal’s boneheaded “basic defense” comments earlier that week. Baker Mayfield truly looked like a walk-on, throwing two picks and looking flustered throughout the entire game. It was reminiscent of the Clemson game the in the Orange Bowl the year before; OU was simply out of it’s league. Since then, the Sooners haven’t lost a game, holding the longest active win streak in the nation. Only time will tell if they can hold up to the challenge this time.

Ohio Stadium:

Ohio Stadium, more commonly known as The Horseshoe, is one of the great cathedrals of college football. The ancient stadium is enormous, with the ability to seat up to a little over 104,000 fans. In a move that clearly was made by the idiots who accidentally set a river on fire, the stadium is decked by letter (A deck, B deck and C deck), rather than number (100 level, 200 level, etc).

From some general research i’ve found that the OU sections will be in 6c, 8c, 10c as well as 4AA, 6AA, 8AA and 10AA. So basically if you got student tickets you are either very lucky, or will be need an oxygen tank to watch the game.

Ohio state seating chart
OU sections are circled in yellow. Photo Credit Ohio State Athletics.

It looks like there’s some pretty bad construction (sounds familiar) around campus, so several roads and parking lots are blocked off. I’d recommend leaving for the game early and taking an Uber or Lyft. There is also what appears to be a strict bag policy that even outdoes most NFL stadiums so ladies, be prepared.

Ohio state bag policy
Photo Credit to Ohio State Athletics

Shitty bag policy aside, Ohio State serves beer in the stadium! Miller Lite and Coors Light are the two best selling beers in the stadium, but they also offer local beers from Land Grant Brewing and others.

College Gameday

espn-gameday-notre-dame.jpgCollege Gameday is coming! If you have any interest in waking up and watching college football’s weekly Groundhog Day live, more power to you. I’ve already done it, prefer sleep and will be too hungover. ESPN will be setting up in The Oval, Ohio State’s version of the South Oval I guess. The Oval is located Southeast of Ohio Stadium, and by the looks of it, isn’t hard to find. Here is a map anyways. Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.05.51 PM.png

Get ready y’all. This is going to be one hell of a time.

OU-UTEP: Quick Reaction

Some games, there isn’t too much to write about. If I could, i’d just put “OU 56, UTEP 7” and call it a day, but here I am anyways. This one went pretty much as scripted. Baker and the electric Lincoln Riley offense rolled over poor UTEP, just as everyone expected. That being said, it was impressive to see some of the young blood on display. Those filling the holes left from Perine, Mixon and Westbrook look like they might have potential, but potential does nothing for you a week from now in Columbus.

• Baker Mayfield clearly hasn’t lost a step. After setting the QBR record last season, Mayfield got off to a hot start throwing for 329 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions and only one incompletion (which was 100% pass interference). All in one half. Wild.

• Speaking of that second half, we finally got to see some Kyler Murray! He looked pretty good for someone who hasn’t seen the field in over a year. UTEP is hapless, but Murray was competent enough to lead several scoring drives. While Murray is known for his speed, most of his highlights came through the air. Overall, nothing to get too excited about, but he didn’t blow it so that’s positive!

• Abdul Adams got the start and most of the carries, but Rodney Anderson, Trey Sermon and even Dimitri Flowers got touches. The running game appears to have reloaded.

• Tight ends are BACK. Mark Andrews had a career day and seems to be Mayfield’s next main target. It wasn’t just Andrews; Grant Calcaterra had a few big catches, including a touchdown.

• That first UTEP possession was ROUGH. Running defense was pretty porous and UTEP scored quick. But other than that, the defense played a decently complete game. But still, this is UTEP.

• Not a great game for the student section. Pair brutal heat with a water bottle shortage and you have a thin section.

MVP: The big cloud that passed over the stadium in the 2nd quarter. Seriously, this beat out Baker’s day. Such a relief.

LVP: Whoever threw the dip spitter on the field. Cool, you dip bro.

Prediction: OU 52-6.

Reality: OU: 56-7. Not too shabby! Standard OU blowout.

Up next: Ohio State in Columbus. The journey begins.

Friday Pre-Bar Primer: UTEP

Time: 2:30 CT

Network: FOX (really?)

Line: OU (-43.0)

The long wait is finally over. It’s time to crack open some 11 AM beers, hit the tailgates (for all 12 of you that got a spot) and get ready for a tradition unlike any other: the season opening cupcake team.

I’m a big superstition guy and nothing spooks me more than the big game opener. OU always comes out flat in hyped up openers, like Houston last season, making UTEP a welcome opening game for both players and fans. The players don’t have to worry about starting 0-1 and the only thing I have to worry about blacking out and missing USC-Florida State.

The goal for OU is pretty simple. Figure out what you can do in a live game situation and get Baker rest for next weekend. We’ll start to see how much we should be concerned about the wide receiving corps and how good the corners like Parnell Motley are. While UTEP won’t deliver a true picture on how good OU will be, we’ll see what to be worried about next weekend in Columbus.

UTEP doesn’t have a lot going for them. The poor SOB’s only won four games last season and play in a town known for drug trafficking, a salsa brand, and an old Marty Robbins song. Their best player is an offensive lineman. What a bummer.

Fortunately for the Miners, they’ll get a massive payout for volunteering to be the Sooners pre-Ohio State warm up. And while the football won’t be great, nothing is quite like a good day at Owen Field with a solid buzz and a Sooner blowout. Welcome back, football.

Prediction: OU 52, UTEP 6, everyone leaves at halftime.

Bar Reviews: O’Connell’s

This blog won’t just be about football. That would be lame and pretty boring. The travel angle of The Schooner Blog is one of the main reasons I’m doing this thing. Other than the football (it’s mainly the football), the coolest part of this to me will be going to all the bars and local restaurants that you can only find in that town. So why not look at the good, bad and downright shitty bars around Norman too?

To start off the Bar Review series, i’m looking at O’Connell’s on Campus Corner. And because no bar trip is worth it without a crew, i’m having some good friends add their expert options to the mix.

Sum up O’Connell’s in the length of a Tweet

Bobby: In my opinion, currently the best place to sit down, get solid food and get fucked up on Campus Corner. One of the last legends left here.

Andrew: O’Conn’s is the vanilla ice cream of campus corner bars. Not too exciting, but it’s reliable and will get the job done until everyone wants to go to an actual bar.

Derielle: The best-worst karaoke that you’ll ever experience. The atmosphere is laid back in a very satisfying way that makes you never want to leave.

Which night is the best night for O’Conn’s?

Bobby: Other than Gameday, Wednesday is the peak day for O’Connell’s. Wednesday Karaoke packs this place early, but other than that attendance can be spotty. I’m not a freshman so I wouldn’t know, but it seems like this is the new weekday hangout for underclassmen with Brothers and their classic Thursday drown night getting the boot (Kong’s Tavern review coming soon). It gets busy on other nights too, but Wednesday is the one day that O’Conn’s is king.

Andrew:I really want to say that Wednesday is the best night for O’Conn’s, but if you want a real Karaoke night go to The Deli on a Tuesday.

Derielle: For underclassmen, Wednesday night at O’Conn’s is the place to be. There’s a line out the door and you can always hear someone singing a Katy Perry song off key. It’s loud and crowded but it’s a guarantee that you’ll run into at least three people that you know. For upperclassmen, O’Conn’s is basically perfect at any time. They have great student discounts on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and also usually have drink specials running the rest of the week if you just ask. There’s never a bad time to split a rocket among friends.

Favorite thing about O’Conn’s?

Bobby: It’s probably the best “gathering place” type of environment on Campus Corner. You can go for hours here with the right group.

Andrew: I like how close it is to Logie’s.

Derielle: I love actually being able to sit down in a bar and be able to talk to the people that I am with. The big booths in the back are my favorite place to be.

Least favorite thing about the bar?

Bobby: If you have a party over about four it gets hard to fit everyone into one place. It’s not exactly the biggest hotspot on Campus Corner either.

Andrew: Too many freshman. Get a fucking bouncer at the door, O’Conn’s.

Derielle: Wednesday nights are a blessing and a curse. You have to know what you’re getting yourself into. It’ll be packed full of freshman and the service and get bogged down because of it.

What is your go-to drink here?

Bobby: The Big Tex Shot, which is Crown Royal dropped into Red Bull and orange juice. In a bar that tries to nail down the basics, this is a rare specialty shot. Runner up goes to the beer rockets.

Andrew: Double whiskey coke. Cheap and effective.

Derielle: The Long Island Iced Tea. I know this is a common one, but O’Con’s has probably one of the best in Norman, as well as a frozen LIT if you want to mix it up. For shots, I’d go with staples like the Lemon Drop or Vegas Bomb.

12 Big Season Predictions That Will Be 100% Accurate

It’s been a long wait, but it’s finally game week in Oklahoma. Thanks to two early losses last season, it’s been nearly a year since the Sooners have been in contention for anything bigger than a mediocre crystal bowl or a women’s gym natty. That being said, it’s time for some high stakes football again. So to open this season, here are 10 predictions that will probably be as accurate as this article’s title.

1. Baker Loses Another Heisman

But he’ll get close again! Baker will have another great season, but his numbers won’t be as good as last season. Pair that with the already piss poor reputation of Big 12 defenses and we have a narrative that could sink this campaign.

2. Rodney Anderson has a breakout season

As is tradition, OU will reload it’s running back core this season. Losing two highly talented and experienced backs in Samaj Perine and Joe Mixon will be a blow early on, especially in Columbus. Abdul Adams should be a more than capable back in relief, but I think Rodney Anderson will have a huge impact come midseason.

3. OU beats Ohio State

This is where things get weird. I believe Ohio State is a better team on paper than OU. They are at home and they have Urban Meyer against rookie head coach Lincoln Riley. The game last season illustrated just how wide the physical athletic gap was in terms of speed and size, mainly on the defensive side. So, how do the Sooners bridge that gap in a year? My bet is that Riley throws convention out the window, and gets real weird with the playbook. One of Riley’s best traits as a playcaller is his ability to throw out crafty plays that use players in unconventional ways. I have a weird feeling that if this game gets close, the Sooners have an edge just on sheer ballsiness. Weird stuff happens in college football. That being said…

4. They miraculously lose at K-State for some reason.

21st century OU football seasons usually go one of two ways. Some years, they shit the bed early, get out of the national title conversation and through one way or the other, win the Big 12, go to a decent bowl game and then ride off into the offseason (I.E. 2006, 2010, 2016). Those are okay, at least my expectations as a spoiled fan are changed early enough to mentally settle for another Big 12 title. However, the seasons that piss me off are the ones where OU starts out on fire, beats a good team early on, shoots up to the top 5 and then collapses against a random ass team (2007 & 2011 Tech, 2015 Texas). Given the timing (right after the Red River Shootout), the opponent (The Manhattan Wizard) and it being away from Norman, I think the Sooners slip here.

5. Chix and Styx is going to be a terrible bar (RIP Chimy’s)

Honestly i’m not opposed to a wing place on Campus Corner and the old Chimy’s layout is almost too great to fail. BUT HOW AND WHY WOULD ANYONE NAME IT THIS. It’s impossible for me to have any optimism that Chix and Styx will even remotely fill the shoes of the GOAT, Chimy’s. Bring back the legendary DP Shootouts from the Chimy’s era and then we can talk success.

6. Kyler Murray Will Play a Decently Major Role

I have no idea how, but I just have a feeling Lincoln Riley finds a way to get one of the best athletes on roster on the field this season. This one is a pure hunch, clearly some seriously well thought out Journalism here at The Schooner.

7. Some drunk dude in the student section will call for Lincoln Riley’s head after the first offensive drive

And then promptly ask his friends if they want to go to Logie’s, which they will probably do.

8. OU avenges its one loss in the Big 12 Championship

The Sooners always seem to heat up in the second half of the season, and that’s what I think happens here. The young receiving corps will grow up by the time the bigger back half games come around. After taking a theoretical loss to K-State earlier in the year, holes and issues should be covered up enough for OU to take home Big 12 Title #11.

9. OU makes the Playoff

This one is going to be tight again. There will be three one loss teams; OU, USC and Ohio State. The problem? Alabama has two losses and gets in over one of them. It’ll be some crazy shit, but the Big 12 finally catches a break and adding the Big 12 Championship somehow pays off. However…

10. The season ends against USC in the Rose Bowl

Just our luck right? Well knock on some damn wood because somehow we’ll end up playing the hometown team, as is tradition. Unlike 2004, this will be a close game. Sam Darnold vs. Baker will be an all time duel, but it just isn’t enough. Baker Mayfield walks off like so many other all time great Sooner quarterbacks before him; title-less. That being said, the new direction Lincoln Riley turns the program in leaves an optimistic end for the Sooners.

Or maybe not, idk I just started this blog a day ago 🤷🏼‍♂️

Why I Am Doing This

“This shit can’t be happening”

Perched high atop Amon G. Carter Stadium, two rows from the top, in some seats TCU stuck us poor Sooner fans in, reality was about to set in. Fucking TCU was about to sink our season.

It was my first year at OU, and the Sooners were poised for a Playoff run. One of my best friends from high school went to TCU after we graduated, so naturally I made the trip down to visit my old friend. It was early October, so i’d gotten pretty familiar with my new home in Norman.

As much as I love OU and Norman, that first experience at TCU was wild. Local restaurants, traditions, tailgating style, it was all so different. Talking with other fans, exchanging stories and experiences was almost like a cultural study. Think Study Abroad, but for drinking and football.

Things didn’t end well for the Sooners that day. Trevor threw the ball into the expensive seats, and all my new friends rushed onto the field to celebrate toppling number 3. My phone died, but not without capturing the spirit of that day for me.

Post TCU

Of course, Blake felt differently.

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Distraught, lost, with a deceased phone and my only friend in the city still on the field, I wandered out of Amon G. Carter crushed. As soon as I walked out of my gate, I ran into Gus Johnson (The GOAT) who was calling the game that day. I told him how much of a rough game it was, and he responded, “Oh I know, it must have been. But games like that are what make this game great”.

Gus was right. As crushing as that was, I knew a win would come along that would make me feel as happy as those TCU fans. And nothing is better than beating the odds, out numbered, on the road. I was hooked on sports travel. I vowed that night to eventually make it to every game in a single year before I graduated.

I’ve been to many strange places since that October afternoon. I’ve seen OU break Baylor’s grasp on the Big 12 in Waco. I’ve been to the College Football Playoff. I’ve been to Lubbock twice and avenged the TCU loss. I pre-gamed a game on Bourbon Street. But i’ve never completed a season.

Well, that year is this one. And i’m telling my story here. Welcome to The Schooner Blog, my ambitious project to tackle six towns, six games, and anywhere the Sooners take me. I’ll try the best foods, best drinks, and experience what makes each town as special as Norman. This is going to be a wild ride, but I hope you enjoy it.