"I heard that thump of foot on ball, and it rose and split the uprights,” Bayless said. "My first thought was, ‘Gary Gibbs knew exactly what he was talking about.’”
Over time, that quality Gibbs had described to Bayless became known as "Sooner Magic.”
"When we got in big games, we knew we were going to win,” von Schamann said. "We lost games here and there. But we came back many times. If there was time still left on the clock, we knew we could win. I’m used to seeing that Sooner Magic. Right now, it’s not happening. It’s not there.
"But I’m sure it will come back.”
Fans from both schools have been waiting for anything magical for some time now, to no avail.
And the longer the wait, the more frequent the punch lines.
"Right now, it’s undeniable with Ohio State. They are a national laughingstock,” said Bruce Hooley, who hosts a sports-talk radio show in Columbus with ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit. "Herby canvases the country; he says he’s never seen Ohio State’s reputation lower than it is now.”
Said Bayless: "OU has developed, to some extent, a negative mystique, ‘We will lay an egg in the big game,’ which is terrible.”
Despite that, few programs have been as successful overall or won as many games recently as OU or Ohio State. Combined, the two schools are 193-42 (.821 winning percentage) this decade. The Buckeyes have won four consecutive Big Ten titles. OU has won six Big 12 championships this decade, including three straight.
"People tend to forget that,” said Evan Ritz, a Sooner fan enrolled at the University of Maryland. "Yeah, they choked, or people say they choke a lot. But they’re one of two teams to make it there. That’s an amazing feat in of itself, that they get there so many times.”
At least Sooner and Buckeye fans can find solace in one another.
Just last weekend, Rick Knapp, president of OU’s Touchdown Club, went to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. Knapp, wearing an OU shirt, parked next to a car with a Buckeye license plate.
Said Knapp, "The first thing the guy said to me was, ‘Do people ask you why you can’t win the big game all the time, too?’ I told him, ‘Yeah, and I get sick of it.’”
That sentiment makes 2009 a critical season for fans from both programs.
In Week 2, the Buckeyes have a home date with No. 4 USC, which beat the Buckeyes 35-3 last year.
"It’s one of the most important games Ohio State has had in a long, long time,” said Jack Park, a radio commentator and Ohio State football historian who has written four books about the Buckeyes. "A win will put Ohio State in the national championship race.
"But a loss will solidify what a lot of people have been saying about the program.”
OU, meanwhile, received a boost days after the national-championship loss to Florida. Heisman winner Sam Bradford and fellow potential first-round NFL Draft picks Jermaine Gresham, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams announced their intentions to remain at OU.
Now, despite the recent past, fans are holding hope this will be the year.
"Here at OU, and it’s the same at Ohio State, fans expect to win national championships,” said Steve Owens, OU’s Heisman winner of 1969. "When I talk to the fans out there, the fans really love this football team and coaching staff.
"We haven’t given up. We believe this is the year we can win the national championship.”
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