Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 6: Oklahoma Football.

Oklahoma At-A-Glance:
  • Team Founded 1895.
  • 821-307-53 Overall Record.
  • 7 National Titles (1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000).
  • 45 Bowl Appearances (27-17-1).
  • 43 Conference Titles
  • 5 Heisman Winners (most recent:  Sam Bradford)
  • 8 BCS Appearances, 5 bungled BCS appearances.
History with TCU.  Despite being a mere 3 hours away from one another, TCU and Oklahoma have only met 11 times in their history with the Sooners holding a 7-4 edge.  The most recent meeting came in 2008 - the year of Ross Evans - and was a mostly forgettable demolition by the National Title Game bound Sooners.  However, the most memorable game in the series for TCU fans - the third ranked top moment in the GP era as judged by this here website - would likely be the 2005 edition with the Frogs emerging as the most unlikely for victors 17-10.  How unlikely?  Future stud Adrian Peterson was held to 63 yards on 22 carries, an average of 2.8 YPC, and Derek Moore scored the opening TD;  Moore wouldn't score another TD that season and scored only 2 more total during his time at TCU.  Clearly dude understood the value of good timing.  Of course, the game is probably just as much remembered for what happened the next week, but for a moment TCU were kings of the college football world.  Our own lyle lanley suggested that September 3rd, 2005 is the day TCU Football was officially reborn under Gary Patterson, and I'd tend to agree with him.  

Famous ex-Sooners:
  • Adrian Peterson, natch.
  • Sam Bradford
  • Billy Simms
  • The less-bad Roy Williams
  • Jason White
  • Lee Roy Selmon
  • The Red River Rivalry vs. UT. I mean, do I REALLY need to elaborate on this one?  I'd have to think we're all pretty well acquainted with this one.  Beginning in 1900, UT and OU have played 106 times with UT holding a 59-42-5 advantage.  Seen as one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, more recently the game has had added significance with six of the last ten meetings featuring an eventual national title participant and the Big 12 south race being decided in October seemingly every year.  Perhaps my favorite part of the rivarly is the way the Cotton Bowl is split right down the middle between the two schools, as well as the way the two fanbases genuinely HATE each other.  TEASER:  Come back later in the week from some good ole fashioned one sided OU Hate from a real life UT fan!
  • The Bedlam Game vs. Oklahoma State.  Not so much a "rivalry" as a "one sided ass kicking contest," with OU holding the overall edge 76-17-7.  Apparently fecal warfare has been involved as chefs have been bribed to lace the opposing teams' food with laxatives.  The state of Oklahoma, everyone!
  • Nebraska-OU (deceased).  One of college football's greatest and oldest rivalries went the way of the buffalo when the Big 12 was divided into divisions;  it officially became kaputt when Nebraska bolted to the Big Televenwelve.  OU leads the overall series 45-38-3.
Recent History.  Clearly OU is one of the most highly decorated, tradition-rich football programs in the country.  Alongside Texas, they've ruled the Big 12 since the earf turned 2000 - right, Carl Everett? - and, if form holds, they'll do so again this year.  Since Bob Stoops took over, OU has only finished the season out of the Top 25 twice, one time being his first year when the program was big time down, and they've won a national title and played for 3 others.  Stoops gets a lot of flack for not being able to win the big game, but the folks saying that are mostly fans of teams who have never been to the big game in the first place.  The general consensus is that Stoops is the only coach in the Big 12 with more acumen than Patterson, and while I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I certainly can't outright refute it either.  The Sooners last played for a national title in 2008, losing out the Tebows, and were on pace to do so again the following year before Sam Bradford's shoulder esploded on the turf at J World.  Since then, with Landry Fields under center, OU has Sun, Fiesta and Insight Bowl titles under their belt and are the early favorites to win the Big 12 next year.  

2012 Outlook.  Jones returns, as do targets Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds, although Reynolds' status is currently up in the air after an off-season incident.  Leading rusher Dom Whaley will be back after suffering a mid-season injury last year.  The 2011 Sooners were the fifth ranked passing team and 10th rated scoring team in the entire NCAA and finished with an overall record of 10-3, remaining in the Conference title hunt until the last weekend of the season when they lost to arch rival Oklahoma State.  Note to TCU fans:  When you're crying in your bed at night, worrying about TCU's off-season defections, just look to the 2012 Sooners, a team who gave up 22 points per game last year, yet still could've won their Conference backed by a superior offense.  Mostly as a result of Jones' return, the Sooners are going to be ranked in the Top 5 of just about any college football poll and are the pre-season favorites to win the Big 12.  However, how good is Landry Jones, really?  He was great in 2010, no question, however he struggled a bit last season.  True, injuries to Dom Whaley and leading WR Ryan Broyles didn't help matters, but losing to Tech?  Really?  Come on, Landry!  Had Jones been able to turn pro after his sophomore season he would've been one of the top QBs off the board, but after a down year he returned to Norman to improve his stock, no question.  With Whaley back and an experienced defense behind him, Jones should have every opportunity to run the tables.  Also helping matters was the late season emergence of backup QB Blake Bell, the "Belldozer," who is sort of like Tim Tebow but with a penis.  Bell came in during goal line situations for short runs and eased the pressure on Jones and hurt his stats a bit.  How the two co-exist could be the difference between a dream season and a merely great one for the Sooners.  TCU and OU meet in the final weekend of the season this year for what many would suggest could be the defacto Big 12 Championship.  They'd be wrong, but god bless them and their optimism.  We're looking forward to it, nonetheless.

I feel like we could do an entire post dedicated to one Barry Switzer, and we just might so I'm not going to waste any ammunition here.  Instead I'd like to indulge my elementary aged self a little.  For those of you who don't know, the man above is Jim Ross, one of the biggest OU fans alive.  You also should recognize Ross as the voice of the WWF, quite possibly the greatest sports commentator of all time.  A sampling of his work to close this thing out:

Remember to vote, and remember the 5

We'd like to remind those of you residing in Texas to perform your civic duty today by getting out to the polls and vote.  It's important in any election cycle, but today your vote for anyone but Craig James will be a vote for non-douche bags everywhere.  While I think it would be irresponsible to state, as fact, that CRAIG JAMES KILLED FIVE HOOKERS WHILE AT SMU, I feel it would be equally irresponsible to make him a senator before we know for sure one way or the other.

Another Roster Exodus

As he was on this play against Baylor, Ed Wesley is gone
This offseason, TCU fans have been treated to both kinds of loss.  First was the sudden, seemingly out of the blue arrest and expulsion of Tanner Brock, DJ Yendrey, Ty Horn and Devin Johnson in February.  Those losses stung for sure, but then a few weeks ago rumors started to bubble up that Ed Wesley and Deryck Gildon might also be departing the roster.  As more and more smoke came off of the rumor mill in regards to these guys, Frog fans were left to ponder what this team might look like without them.  I know it hung over me like a depressing fog.

Those rumors were confirmed this weekend, of course, along with the additional news of offensive linemen Nykiren Wellington and Carter Wall also being removed from the program for academic reasons.  If you're keeping track at home, as I know many of you are, that's eight players gone during the offseason- six of which either would've started or had a more than decent chance of starting this fall.

Ouch.  As one friend of Spit Blood put it, OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!!

Am I worried about this?  Yes, for sure.  Is the sky falling? Despite the common sentiment of Frog fans- no, it isn't.  Look- despite the talent level among those departed and the valuable playmaking ability and depth lost, those guys are gone for a reason.  They were either A) not doing things the right way, B) not putting in the work required to be a successful student-athlete at this level, or C) just didn't want to be here anymore.  In the tough dogfight of a football season, Coach Patterson will be better off relying on guys that don't display those attributes.

The question, now, is who will be stepping up into the void left by the departures?  The highest profile of those not returning is Wesley, who has been a staple in the offense the past three years.  The good news is that he may end up being the one we miss the least.  Matthew Tucker and Waymon James are both capable of 1,000 yard seasons, and senior Aundre Dean and early-enrollee freshman BJ Catalon are both talented and hungry enough to provide quality depth.

Linebacker is most likely the position causing the most hand-wringing among the purple and white faithful.  Gildon was already viewed as a questionable replacement for Brock, but his own departure makes the LB depth chart a gigantic mystery box.  Walk-on sophomores Danny Heiss and Joel Hasley appear to be the most capable of joining senior Kenny Cain in the rotation right now, but two incoming freshmen (AJ Hilliard and James McFarland) as well as JUCO transfer PJ Dawson will likely be given every opportunity to crash the starting line up.  And even though Devonte Fields is viewed as the next big thing at defensive end, is it beyond the limits of your imagination to see his 6'4" 240lb frame playing behind the line of scrimmage this fall?  I don't like how big a question mark this all-important position is this late in the game, but my money is on GP and company finding some guys that will make plays.

Like the situation at linebacker, depth was already a bit questioned along the offensive line.  Wellington and Wall weren't viewed as being integral to the 2012 game plan or even future superstars, but they did provide a measure of depth.  With Eric Tausch and Michael Thompson probably combining to serve as the #2 man at all 5 positions along the line, redshirt freshmen like Brady Foltz, Bobby Thompson and Jamelle Naff may be called upon to contribute a little bit more than they regularly would've this early in their career.  It may even be that you'll see the rarity of a true freshman or a walk-on getting snaps, but Eddie Williamson has most definitely earned our trust with being able to put together a tough and reliable O-Line. 

I'm not trying to tell people they shouldn't be worried about all of this.  I just think we need to escape the kind of defeatism that can run rampant amongst our fanbase at times.  There will most likely be moments next fall when we say things like "man I miss Tanner Brock" or "that was a freshman mistake", but I think we'll also be making comments at other times like "the Big 12 has to live with three more years of that guy" or "now I see why people have been raving about our recruiting the past few years".

102 days 'till kickoff for us to wait, and the team to continue to prepare.  Go Frogs.

Big 12 Orientation, Week 6: Oklahoma

This week we're back to profiling a school that is oddly referred to by its inverse initials.  I couldn't tell you why the University of Oklahoma is shortened to the colloquial "OU", but it's kind of fitting since it's the flagship university of such a backward state anyway.

The university was founded in 1890 on 407 acres donated to the state from the residents of Norman.  Today, OU has a total enrollment of 30,303 and ranks 101st on US News & World Report's list of best colleges in America.  It is one of the few Big 12 schools that can compete with TCU in terms of endowment funds, but OU's $1.2 billion is obviously not nearly as big as TCU's when you look at it proportionally to enrollment.

Here are a few videos to get your better acquainted with our new friends north of the Red, and Sir Wesley ought to be profiling their football program later today:

...and this one, which wouldn't let me embed but you need to watch.

Morning Dump


TCU's depth takes a hit with four departures Star-Telegram


TCU to face Ole Miss in regional opener Star-Telegram

Frogs tabbed a two seed, will head to College Station gofrogs.com


Pooh Williamson added to men's basketball coaching staff gofrogs.com

Other Sports:

Men's golf starts NCAA Championships in California today gofrogs.com

Relays spark Frogs on final day of NCAA Track prelims gofrogs.com