Emails on Florida, Jimmy Harris & Pete Maravich
The new emails are in, and it’s a light week. No games, no Heisman, Christmas. But still, some interesting correspondence. Greg wrote, “Curious if you saw where Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong proclaimed that Big 12 teams don’t play defense. He went on to suggest that this was the reason for OU’s record-setting offense. First, it is Tebow saying he cannot wait to go up against a Big 12 defense. Now it is the d-coordinator saying their opponent cannot play defense. Have you ever seen a team sling out so much bulletin board material prior to such a hotly-anticipated game? They must be AWFULLY confident!”
Florida doesn’t seem to be as confident as Larry Birdine was before the USC Orange Bowl.
Randy wrote, “With the way the stars have lined up for OU the last 5-6 weeks with big wins and slipping past Texas for the Big 12 and No. 1 BCS ranking, I think the cherry for this storybook book season would be to beat Florida by the score of 45-35. Hells bells, we could even ask Texas for their sign to fly behind an airplane over Austin, 45-35, on a Neutral Field. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, would be a perfect ending.”
I think Bob Stoops would take 3-2.
Don wrote, “I agree that football playoffs are a dead letter. The Depression was a leverage for many universities to either drop football or drastically scale back. The economic downturn had been preceded by the Carnegie Commission Report of 1932, which recommended curtailing scholarships, travel and other expenditures. Consider that the Western Conference (Big 10) allowed no more than eight games per season until after World War II — and nine until 1967 and no bowls except for the Rose Bowl, and that restricted to once every two years. Money is indeed a factor against a playoff. But given the academic distractions (universities serving merely as platforms for their athletic programs), colleges are practically begging for intervention.”
I hope the test is multiple choice and not essay.
Craig wrote about me giving cheers to and the Sports Animal’s Jim Traber lauding LeBron James for giving away his shoes after the Cavs’ game at the Ford Center. “Why don’t we give equal time to our Thunder players? My 9-year-old grandson, Hayden, was sitting courtside with me during the Cleveland game. He was decked out head to toe in Thunder gear. He could not wear a numbered jersey because they hadn’t came out yet. Chris Wilcox and Earl Watson, both at different times, came over and gave Hayden their sweat bands. Hayden didn’t bug them or ask them for anything, Hayden wasn’t yelling or screaming at them. They just did it out of the goodness of their hearts. OK, how bout some love for the Thunder?”
Way to go Earl and Chris.
James wrote the Poinsettia Bowl, won 17-16 by TCU over Boise State. “Well, the TCU win should quiet the jabber about wanting to be in the BCS championship. Boise State couldn’t beat No. 11, so how could they beat the other at the top of the list. Also, I think OU is going to kick the (crap) out of Florida. I am thinking of 2000 when Heisman winner Chris Weinke-Dinky got his butt beat. OU is bigger and stronger, and Sam can hit a gnat at 50 yards. Also, OU is not unaware of the talk about their four bowl losses. Further, OU has a non-stop offensive machine and motivation.”
Who claims Boise State belonged in the title game? Some claim Boise State belonged in the BCS, and playing a 17-16 game against the No. 11 team in the country certainly doesn’t dispute that.
Danny wrote, “I am writing concerning your choice of the best OU quarterbacks. First of all I would definitely have Bradford ahead of Jason White and I’d sure have Jimmy Harris ahead of Jack Mitchell. He started 33 games and won all 33! Bud Wilkinson was once asked ‘who is the best player you ever coached?’ Bud replied, ‘His name is Jim Harris.’ You can find this on page 281 of The Undefeated.”
Well, by what criteria can you put Bradford ahead of White? White’s non-Heisman year (2004) clearly was better than Bradford’s non-Heisman year (2007) – White finished third in the Heisman. Plus White has the 2001 Texas game bonus. If Bradford wins the national title game, we can revisit the question, but right now, no way is Bradford above White. As for Harris, he was 25-0 as a starter. And the guy he replaced in 1954, the injured Gene Calame, was 15-0 as a starter. Anybody ready to put Calame ahead of Jack Mitchell, too? All of Wilkinson’s quarterbacks of the ’50s won big. I love Harris. I still love talking with him. But I can’t put him near the top. Harris was an excellent player. But in 1955, halfback Tommy McDonald, not Harris, was OU’s leading passer. Put Jack Mitchell on the 1955-56 Sooners, and the winning streak would not have been in jeopardy. In fact, OU might have been even better.
Ernie also supported Jim Harris, “While I know it’s difficult to compare players of different eras, when the list credited Jack Mildren as being the most important player to the Sooners’ long-term success, I just couldn’t let it pass that … Jimmy Harris was absent from the list. It wasn’t like you didn’t go back to the Wilkinson era. You listed Jack Mitchell, a quarterback from the ’40s. My question is, how could Jimmy Harris not be among the top five?”
Well, I’ve already made that case. And you can make the case that Mildren was not the most valuable Sooner ever. But if it’s not Mildren, it’s Josh Heupel.
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