College football is full of rivalries, and there are some great ones…
Michigan/Ohio State has tradition, but hasn’t been worth much the last few years. The Iron Bowl between ‘Bama and Auburn is the best of what the South has to offer, but it still misses the mark. Oregon and Oregon State call their battle the Civil War, but something about Ducks fighting Beavers just doesn’t inspire me all that much. Bedlam is up there for sure, but you get the feeling it means just a little more to the side in orange.
OU/Texas is the gold standard in rivalries and here are the reasons why.
The Cotton Bowl is the perfect setting. It’s almost exactly halfway in between Norman and Austin. The stadium is split at the 50 yard line. Sooners on one side, Longhorns on the other. Show me another event like this in all of sports. Go ahead show me. You can’t do it. The atmosphere alone makes this game what it is because you can feel the tension in the stadium and all around the fairgrounds. Nothing but burnt orange and crimson as far as the eye can see. The Texas State Fair is part of the experience. Ride the ferris wheel, win a teddy bear, eat something fried, eat something else fried, almost get sick, drink beer, feel better, watch football. If I’m not mistaken that might just be the meaning of life right there. Continue reading OU/Texas: The Best Rivalry In College Football?→
Local sports coverage is slipping in Oklahoma. As a former member of the Tulsa media, it saddens me to make that statement. Covering local sports was my passion and my livelihood. Back then I sensed it, and even more so now, I see the profession slowly dying.
There is no longer an investment being made in real, substantial journalism. When I tune into local news these days, I cringe because each station’s sportscast is predictable and dull. Each channel airs a slightly altered version of the same show.
It’s fine to show highlights from the Drillers, Shock, Talons, Barons, OU, OSU, and of course the Thunder. However, I have a feeling no one is flipping on their TV to see a couple of lousy highlights. Nobody is sitting at home anxiously awaiting 20 seconds of Redhawks footage.
So why do stations fall into this cookie cutter pattern? Is it because the anchors and producers are afraid to miss something or is it because they’ve been in the same routine for so long that they’re just too comfy and complacent to think outside the box? Frankly, I know it’s the latter because I was guilty of it when I sat at the anchor desk.
Most batters don’t even see the fastballs that leave the hands of Owasso’s Dylan Bundy and Broken Arrow’s Archie Bradley. Most pro scouts were left drooling as they watched Bundy and Bradley mow down the opposition and looked in astonishment at radar guns with readings in the high 90’s. Most baseball fans will never see talented arms like these come through Oklahoma ever again.
June 6th, 2011 was a historic night in this state as Bundy and Bradley were both selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Bundy, who just days before was named Gatorade National Player of the Year, was taken fourth overall by the Baltimore Orioles. Bradley, fresh off a win in the state championship game, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the seventh pick.
“Watching the NFL and NBA draft, you see all these guys and the excitement but you don’t fully understand it until you go through it,” said Bradley moments after hearing his name called and donning an Arizona hat. “Going through it right now it’s simply amazing and to be here in this moment with my family, friends and coaches that have helped me to this point, it’s unreal.”
Bundy’s older brother Bobby was drafted by the Orioles in 2008. Dylan said he can’t wait to play alongside his brother and can’t think of a better place to start his professional career. “I really can’t because I already know a lot of things the Orioles have to offer and with him right there by my side the whole time will be great. Secretly, in the back of my head I was like I really want to go to Baltimore to be with my brother, that was my dream and it’s been a dream come true so far.”
A few weeks ago, the Tulsa World published this article about how more Tulsans are embracing the Oklahoma City Thunder. Overall, the tone of the article is positive. It cites increasing ticket sales and rising TV ratings from the East side of the state. However, if you read the article and read some of the comments, you’ll quickly realize just how ignorant, jealous and petty so many folks are about the Thunder bearing the name “Oklahoma City.”
I don’t want to admit this is true, but having lived in Tulsa for almost seven years now, there is an inferiority complex for too many people when it comes to competition with OKC. These are the same imbeciles who need something to be offended by, something to rant about on sports radio, and who cling to the past like it’s keeping them alive. The ridiculous sentiment of this pathetic crowd is, “They’re not the Oklahoma Thunder, so why should I care? They don’t market themselves to Tulsa or play games up here, so why I am going to support a team that doesn’t acknowledge me?”
Really? Sometimes you people sound like too much like the kid who gets picked last for dodge ball. Did you ever think it’s because maybe you’re not good enough? Instead of whining and complaining just get better.
Let’s face facts here; Oklahoma City had a vision back in the mid-nineties. The MAPS project was executed flawlessly and now OKC has transformed itself into a big league city that is deserving of a professional franchise. Tulsa is a fantastic place to live, and offers plenty of things that OKC doesn’t, but it just isn’t on the same level when it comes to being ready for pro sports. Sure, Tulsa has the BOK Center downtown. It’s a beautiful facility and it’s a huge step in the right direction. But Tulsa also has a city council that squabbles incessantly, excruciatingly slow development along the river, and surface streets that make this town the perfect place to open up your own alignment shop. What takes Oklahoma City ten years seems to take Tulsa 25 years to accomplish. Believe me, Tulsa is changing and improving, but it’s not there yet.
“Good” will cut it in just about any profession, just not Capel’s. Good coaches get fired every season and some in this state believe now is the time for a change in leadership of the Oklahoma program.
Capel’s detractors have a case. The Sooners finished the season last night with a 20-point loss to Texas and an overall record of 14-18. For the first time in 46 years, OU has posted back to back losing seasons.
Capel’s squad will also miss the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive year. The Sooners haven’t been left out of the dance two years in a row since 1994.
There was a brutal string of nine straight losses at the end of last season. At one point this year, OU dropped eight in a row and wound up losing nine of its last eleven.
The Sooners have fallen close to the cellar in the Big 12 conference. Only Iowa State finished lower than OU in the standings, and ten of the Sooners conference losses were by a margin of ten points or more. It isn’t just that Capel’s team was losing, it’s that his team wasn’t even consistently competitive. It looks worse for OU when you look at recent history against the top teams in the conference. The Sooners have now dropped four in a row to Texas, four in a row to Texas A&M, and six straight to Kansas.
Critics also love to point out Capel’s recruiting history. Willie Warren, Tommy Mason-Griffin, and Tiny Gallon were all McDonald’s All-Americans and were supposed to be the next wave of Sooner superstars. They were going to pick up the slack after the departure of Blake Griffin, and continue to keep the program in a position of prominence. Warren played two seasons and bolted to the NBA. Mason-Griffin skipped town after only a year and was quoted in the Houston Chronicle saying, “School work was just not in my comfort zone.” Gallon also left Norman after his freshman season amidst allegations that he and his mother received $3,000 from a financial adviser. OU assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro was rumored to be connected to the adviser and the NCAA launched an investigation into Taliaferro’s actions.