NORMAN — Big game Saturday at Owen Field, and you don't have to check the rankings or gauge ESPN mentions or take R.J. Washington's blood pressure.
Just listen to Bob Stoops nudge OU fans to get rowdy.
Stoops hasn't called out the Sooner crowd — he's still smarting from four years ago — but Monday he dropped a subtle hint that it's all hands on deck when Kansas State comes to town.
“I'm sure we'll have a great crowd,” Stoops said. “Everybody's anticipating the opening of the Big 12 season, so hopefully our crowd will engage and be a factor.”
Stoops doesn't trot that out for Florida A&M or Iowa State. He saves it for games like second-ranked Texas Tech in 2008 and K-State this weekend.
“I don't think we've ever been known to have an overly ruckus crowd,” Stoops famously said four years ago, imploring OU fans to greet Mike Leach's pirates with a reception rarely seen in Norman.
Some Sooner fans didn't take kindly to Stoops' plea, but every Sooner fan responded. Campus was crazy that cold November night; the crowd spent the night celebrating an eventual 65-21 victory by bouncing to House of Pain's “Jump Around.” The players often joined them.
Stoops this week wanted no part of a repeat exhortation. “People got pretty sore at me,” he said of his 2008 declaration. “I can't say that I heard anything. Just seemed that way.”
Sore? Don't you love it when Stoops talks like Beaver Cleaver. Besides, why not call out the fans again? No one in human history ever got so much mileage out of a request.
“I don't need to comment on that,” Stoops said. “You guys are at every game. You can see whether they're raucous or not. So you call it as you see it. You can refer to 2008 if you want.”
OK. Consider it done.
So do the OU fans get a bad rap? I'd say so. I don't think the Sooners have the most electric atmosphere in college football, but I also don't think it's stale.