Heating up the leftovers: OU mailbag
CAMPUS CORNER — Enjoyed my first NewsOK chat earlier today. Had several leftover questions and didn’t want to ignore you all. I’m far from a master on the subject of OU football, but, hey, I’ve only been here a week and haven’t seen a game or practice.
Terry: Have you been to an OU-Texas game? How do you think it compares to other big-time rivalry games?
A: I have not, and I’m really excited to see it. I’ve heard there’s nothing like seeing the burnt orange meet the crimson at the 50. I’ve seen others – Clemson-South Carolina; Tennessee-Alabama; Florida-FSU – but I think this could take the cake, as far as my own experience. I have not seen Bama-Auburn or OSU-Michigan in person. Bedlam this year should also be fantastic.
Reggie: Travis, Do you expect the Sooners to play a low key and reserved game against Tulsa?
A: As in save-up-for-FSU mode? No way. Tulsa’s got too many good players, for one thing. And I don’t think coaches really do that, by and large. Will OU save a play or two or four? Sure. Teams do that, no matter the opponent(s) early in the year. But Stoops has his own questions to answer, in all three phases, and this is a good chance to figure things out by giving it full throttle.
Josh: More likely to happen: OU only wins 8 games, or OSU wins the MNC? I’m going with the former.
A: Ah, this one will mess with your head. I don’t think either will happen. And, when you think about it, they sort of correspond. An eight-win OU team may mean OSU is in a better position for the national title. If this is an eight-win Sooners team, people will be mighty unhappy. I would think major injuries would have to cause that. This isn’t an eight-win team. So, with that in mind, I’d say the latter. Maybe OU and OSU are both undefeated or have one loss going into Bedlam. Maybe OSU finally figures out a way to get it done in that situation and plays in New Orleans. Don’t jump off a ledge or curse me out, though: Again, I’d bet against both props.
Anon: Do you consider the SEC’s streak of national championships to be “dominant”? Except for the first two games involving Ohio State, all of those were close games that could have gone the other way with a few bounces. Dominance would be other teams not even making it competitive. Is this media hyperbole? I see the streak as impressive and uncanny, but not dominant, and I think I speak for most fans in this region of the country when I say we are tired of hearing about the SEC’s “dominance.”
A: A great question here. I don’t think it’s “dominance” in any particular title game that illustrates the strength of the league. Rather, I think it’s the fact that it’s four different teams – Florida, Alabama, LSU and Auburn – that have done it. That really says dominance to me. It’s not one team winning a bunch of titles, it’s several. That tells me there’s something to the league. Some of it has become hyped and overhyped, but imagine if Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Nebraska (when it was here) had won five consecutive titles. Everyone would say the same about the Big 12. The five-in-a-row thing, coupled with four different winners, is the reason the SEC can boast. (One caveat: Will Auburn keep its title, in the end?)
Ben S.: I don’t see how SMU brings anything to the Big 12, other than another team. Houston to some extent as well. See Barry’s blog from this morning. BYU, on the other hand, does bring something to the table.
A: I hear ya, Ben, and I actually agree with you. But Texas, the university and the state, will certainly want another state school in the league if at all possible. Houston isn’t completely bereft of tradition, either. And state legislators are trying to pump up UH as a research institution – something that could also factor in. Plus, telling Big 12 teams it has to go to Houston … or Provo, Utah … which seems more appealing? Vice versa, as well. That would be tough on BYU to make those weekly travel arrangements for all its programs. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but there are reasons for/against every school. Nothing feels ideal. Actually, the old Big 12 feels pretty ideal at this point. But …
Jake: Have you had a chance to eat at Van’s Pig Stand yet? If so, how does it compare to “southern bbq?”
A: Soon. Soon. Will give report. Ray’s was excellent when I ate there the other day. Great sides. Generally, “southern BBQ” is regional. Where I lived, in South Carolina, it was this mustard-based sauce. And it sucked, to me, although many like it. In North Carolina, depending on where you went, it was either a conventional tomato-y sauce or a pepper-vinegar sauce. I was always a fan of the pepper-vinegar, particularly the concoction in Lexington, N.C. Here, as you know, it’s more a hickory-smoke tomato sauce. And I’m also a fan of that. Always loved Texas BBQ, and this is a cousin. Can’t wait to check out Van’s stuff. It will happen by the end of the weekend, if I had to guess.
John: Travis, what do you think is going to be OU’s toughest game this season and why?
A: I’m torn right now, between Bedlam and Florida State. Both are obviously road games. I’m going OSU, and here’s why: I’ve been to FSU plenty for games (went to high school in that area) and it’s not a raucous environment. More of a sit-on-your-hands place. Stillwater, I’m gathering, is quite different for Bedlam. And having to play there two straight years? That’s a tough draw for OU. The Pokes say you haven’t seen the new stars, who will join Blackmon and Weeden, et al. That’s alarming if true. Both teams should be at their best, if healthy, by late November.
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