An Oklahoma State fan stood at Qwest Field nine days ago while the Cowboys were rolling Washington State. He twisted the knife by lofting a sign that read:
"We've Come For the Mariners"
Not very diplomatic, but then again, this doesn't figure to be a very diplomatic month.
In the same summer in which Seattle's original major-league franchise, the NBA SuperSonics, relocated to Oklahoma City, courtesy of Oklahoman Clay Bennett, our state football teams make the reverse trip, albeit for solitary Saturdays.
OU has been playing football since 1895, OSU since 1901, but never before have either the Sooners or Cowboys played in the Emerald City. Now, with the wounds fresh from the loss of the Sonics, Seattle hosts both in a 15-day span.
Reports were few of poor hospitality when the Cowboys visited, and there is no great reason to believe the Sooners or their fans will be subjected to harsh treatment this week, when OU plays the University of Washington at Husky Stadium.
Seattle is a cosmopolitan city. The Sonics were an institution, UW football is an institution, but that doesn't mean their entire fan bases overlap.
Brian Robinson, co-founder of Save Our Sonics, a group that tried to rally support for the NBA franchise, says August and September are such beautiful months in Seattle, fans still are months away from thinking basketball, whether or not the team remains in town or not.
But still. Oklahoma has Seattle's basketball team, and now the most high-profile Oklahomans — the Sooner football team — plays just a few miles from KeyArena, which will sit silent this coming NBA season.
David Bassity, a publicist for the OU athletic department, once worked in Seattle and returned July 4 for a visit. As he was gathering his gear at the airport baggage claim, a man noticed Bassity's bag tags, which displayed Oklahoma.
"Watch your purse," the man told his wife. "He may try to steal it."
Bennett has been vilified in Seattle and the national media, and message-board poets continue to write vile things about Oklahomans, and a class-action lawsuit by fans remains in the Seattle courts against the franchise now known as the Thunder.
But if Seattle really wants to inflict pain on Oklahoma, really wants to exact revenge on the prairie state that took its basketball team, it need do only one thing.
Win this football game.
The Thunder already is wildly popular, and the Ford Center figures to be a season sellout, but college football remains this state's prime passion. Maybe that will change over time, but for now, the Thunder clearly is no better than No. 2 on the sports food chain, behind Bob Stoops' Sooners.
Ruin, or at least cripple, the national championship aspirations of what appears to be a loaded Sooner squadron, and it's Seattle, not Oklahoma, that has the last laugh on the sports front.
Truth is, put it up to a vote of Oklahomans. Do you want to win a national football championship or do you want an NBA franchise? The trophy probably would carry the day.
A Washington victory is possible. The Huskies aren't very good; no winning season since 2002 and off to an 0-2 start this season.
But OU didn't play well in road games last season, the Sooners are 2-8 on the road against Pac-10 teams since 1978 and we all remember how Pac-10 officials can affect a game.
And most fans are old enough to remember the 1985 Orange Bowl, when OU's national-title hopes were dashed by Washington. The Huskies beat the Sooners 28-17, and the Sooner Schooner drew a penalty for coming onto the field at the wrong time.
Maybe this time, Stoops needs a secret weapon. Perhaps he could ask Brad Keller to lead the Sooners onto the field Saturday.
Keller is the Seattle attorney hired by Bennett after Seattle sued the Sonics to enforce its Key Arena lease. Keller's courtroom performance was the stuff of Hollywood; the Sonics won a clear victory in testimony, and the sides settled, allowing Bennett to move the franchise to Oklahoma City.
The site of Keller would make Washingtonians quake, but that's an old Sooner trick. OU has been beating Texas for decades with a roster loaded with Texans; no reason not to beat Seattle with a Seattle lawyer.
The Oklahoma/Seattle duel extends beyond basketball courts and gridirons. Howard Schultz, who sold the Sonics to Bennett and then was sorry he did, sued the Oklahomans, asking a court to strip them of ownership.
All the while, his Starbucks coffee empire grew shaky. Earlier this year, Schultz announced the closing of hundreds of Starbucks stores.
He closed two in Los Angeles. He closed four in Oklahoma City.
Of course, all that really means is more money in Oklahoma pockets and less caffeine in Oklahoma bloodstreams. No one can be too miffed.
It's best if Oklahoma visitors to Seattle this week leave their newly-purchased Thunderwear at home, even if it comes in crimson. And don't tell anyone you've come for the Seahawks.
Berry Tramel: Phone — (405) 760-8080; E-mail — firstname.lastname@example.org ; Radio — Monday through Friday, 4:40-5:20 p.m., Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.