Emails in on Barry Switzer & conference realignment
The new emails are in, and lots of talk about Barry Switzer and realignment.
Some blog readers have enjoyed the Barry Switzer series. Todd: “I, for one, will never get bored reading a daily Switzer story. Good stuff.”
Here’s the tragedy for OU fans. Thirty years from now, these kinds of stories won’t be available about the Stoops era. Different personality.
Ron: “I was born in OKC in 1969 and lived here and in Norman my entire life and graduated with my B.A. in 1992. I am passionate about OU football and have always loved Barry Switzer. For so many years, media people focused on negative aspects of his career, and it is so nice to read these wonderful stories about a uniquely wonderful man.”
Is that a true statement? That the media has focused negatively on Switzer? I’d vote no. Oh sure, some people have ripped Switzer, and he’s deserved some ripping. But I think Switzer generally has received a solid hand from the press.
Fred: “I have just found your treasure trove of columns on Barry Switzer. And I have to say that it brings back memories, painful at the time, but wonderful under the shades of time to this Husker fan. How well I remember the names – and the pain they brought in the 1970s -but always with the attached respect that found me (and most other Nebraskans) cheering them in the Red River rivalry, bowl games and subsequent careers in pro football. For all the differences between Barry Switzer and Tom Osborne, each have three of the greatest and most desirable traits among men of any era and profession. They are great leaders who inspire loyalty and trust, each fully returns that loyalty and trust, and there is no artifice in either man. Barry and Tom are who they are and always have been, making no apologies. Bravo for a great article and the wonderful memories of the best of times in college football.”
Here we go again. More OU-Nebraska lovefest, which is as good a reason as any to discuss the ramifications if the Huskers jump to the Big Ten. You know what? It could enhance the Big Red rivalry. Nebraska probably would want to play the Sooners every year. OU might have to be talked into it, but those wanting OU-NU to return to annual status, one of them leaving the conference might be the best answer.
DK: “Do you see any scenario that would get Texas and my beloved Sooners to join a 16-team Pac-10/Big 12 conference. Kind of like the eight existing coastal schools in one division and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma and maybe Oklahoma State? The championship game would be the two division winners probably held in Dallas, Arizona, Rose Bowl, San Francisco or maybe even Salt Lake City? Does this seem workable and viable? That 16 school league would have bite! You’re looking at the winner of Oklahoma-Texas playing USC, UCLA or maybe Oregon in a conference championship game in Jerry World, Phoenix, Rose Bowl, San Francisco or maybe Seattle or Salt Lake City. It sure beats freezing at Arrowhead in December. Sooner Nation needs to think big! Eventually, Texas is going to. Let’s not get left behind.”
You know, I don’t think it’s a crazy idea. I don’t think it’s close to fruition, but I don’t think it’s a crazy idea. I don’t know which six teams might work best, but let’s say OU, OSU, A&M, Texas, Kansas and either Tech or Kansas State teams with Arizona and Arizona State for the eastern division of the Pac-16. Before you get caught up on geography, remember that the Oklahoma City RedHawks play in the Pacific Coast League. The first move for such a league would be some kind of television agreement, which I don’t think is too far in the distance. If Missouri and/or Nebraska should bolt the Big 12, which I don’t think is going to happen but is possible, then this idea has some legs.
Scott: “I’m a lifelong Husker fan who grew up in Lincoln. I also spent four years in Bartlesville, so I know your work well. Today I stumbled across a link to one of your Switzer Tales and was excited to see more. Huskers have always been fascinated with Barry and the lovefest increased after both he and Dr. Tom retired. I can still recall the years OU would come to Lincoln from the mid-70s to the early ’80s. At any rate, great stuff and so glad you’re pulling out these stories to share. It’s not just OU fans that enjoy the history, and this has also given great insight into how great college football was in those days.”
Stuff likes this gets me to thinking. Is college football better now, or was it better then? I can argue pretty passionately about that question concerning baseball (better in the ’70s), the NBA (better now), the NFL (better now, but it’s close) and college basketball (better now, but not as good as the ’80s). But college football? I don’t know. I’m going to think about it. It would make a great study.
Toni: “You have written a fantastic article! Switzer is a great guy and you only proved it so. My husband and I were just a young married couple back in those glory days. We had just moved to Oklahoma. How could you not fall under the spell of OU football back then? Well, we’ve been under that spell ever since. Thanks for the wonderful memories!”
It’s like I said in the column. It’s all about memories. Our most prized possessions are our memories. Without them, we have nothing.
David: “That article certainly catches the essence of why players and fans love OU football. I remember watching Thomas Lott in the Stanford game at Stanford (when I lived in San Jose). He didn’t throw often but he threw one that my memory tells me went 80 yards. Admittedly not as accurate as Bradford, but I will swear that he could throw that ball out of the stadium. Back in those days, I taught statistics at night school through USC in San Jose. On the first exam I used to ask, ‘Which of the following players were running backs at the University of Oklahoma?’ a) Elvis Peacock, b) David Overstreet, c) Horace Ivory, or d) Joe Washington.’ It was sort of a warmup question that would get everyone a correct answer to start the exam.”
Good thing you didn’t ask which OU quarterback could throw the ball 80 yards and include Thomas Lott as one of the answers. I loved Lott as a ballplayer, but he couldn’t throw the ball 80 yards if he was standing on a cliff. That’s the thing you’ve got to be careful about memory. It can play tricks.
Joshua: “Recently, President Obama, along with all the former living presidents (Bush I & II, Clinton and Carter), got together for a photo op in the Oval Office. I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be cool to see all of the former OU football coaches along with Stoops get together at midfield for a photo op at halftime of a future game (Stoops, Blake, Schnelly, Gibbs, Switzer, & Fairbanks). Sure these men’s egos are probably on par with the past American presidents, and they aren’t running for office, but wouldn’t it be a pretty awesome scene if these guys could put that aside for five minutes for a picture together. Thoughts on how this can happen?”
1. Hell freezes over. 2. OU schedules Florida Atlantic and doesn’t tell Schnellenberger it’s happening. Just have him wander out there with some old guys and snap the picture quickly.
Josh wrote about conference realignment: “How much revenue is really produced by the conference football championship game? If the Big 12 loses Nebraska and Missouri, I am beginning to believe the conference would be better off standing pat than expanding back to 12. Of course this would only be true if the Pac-10 alliance comes to fruition. Could the TV revenue produced from an alliance offset the loss of revenue from a championship game?”
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