WICHITA, Kan. — Blake Bell didn’t hesitate Thursday evening when asked what he expected for Oklahoma’s 2014 football team.
“National championship,” the senior quarterback-turned-tight end emphatically responded before an overjoyed crowd inside Wichita’s Hyatt Regency.
Following the Sooners’ Sugar Bowl upset of two-time defending national champion Alabama in January, excitement levels surrounding the program entering 2014 couldn’t be higher. One national publication already predicted Oklahoma to finish atop the college football world this season.
An OU gridiron legend who knows a thing or two about winning national championships hopes the Sooners carry their momentum from the Sugar Bowl into next season, but knows they also need to remember how 2012 ended — in an embarrassing 41-13 Cotton Bowl loss to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
“What’s the best way?” said Joe Washington, who helped carry the 1974 and 1975 Sooners to national championships in his iconic silver shoes.
“Coming in with disappointment and being hungry, or coming in with excitement? Hopefully these guys remember what it was like in (the Sugar Bowl) dressing room, and also remember what it was like in the Cotton Bowl dressing room.”
In Washington’s four-year OU career, the Sooners were 43-2-1, and in an interview with The Oklahoman before Thursday’s OU Caravan event, it became clear that the non-wins still sting all these years later.
In 1973 — Washington’s sophomore year and Barry Switzer’s first season as head coach — OU played to a 7-7 tie with USC in late September.