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Collected history and memories during
the last quarter century writing about the Sooners
This is, at least according to my deficient math, the beginning of my 25th season writing about Sooner football. Yes, I began in the heady, dehydrated summer of Howard Schnellenberger -- 1995 -- writing for the very first OU football website, run by a group of erstwhile OU meteorology students.
One of those guys is the Oklahoma State Climatologist now, and another is a high climate muckety-muck with NOAA in North Carolina.
My crude website was the second OU football website, born in December 1995, even before OU had its own athletics website.
Somewhere along in there, I got recruited to write for the now-departed Sooners Illustrated magazine, and about 10 years later, my wife and I helped get Sooner Spectator started as its original publishers.
And that brings us to today, in the depths of summer 2019.
Once football season ends in early January, the NFL sustains us for a few weeks, but things quickly degenerate. Basketball and hockey are no real help. The light at the end of the offseason tunnel only begins to emerge when the WCWS is over and they get to the finals in the NBA Playoffs.
Now that the College World Series is complete, summer sporting events like Wimbledon, the Tour de France and the British Open will help entertain us for a while longer. That also means that the Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, and fall practice starts shortly thereafter.
In other words, it's pretty much football season, or as close as can be without actual games being played. There’s even live metric (Canadian) football on the tube nowadays.
The season opener this year is the only game on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Initially, I didn’t think we had ever played a game on a Sunday (or at least a game that started on a Sunday), since the bowls usually skip Sundays. However, not only have we previously played on a Sunday, it's happened three times -- and I was at two of them -- the 1991 Gator Bowl and the 2004 Sugar Bowl.
Anyway, a Sunday night opener is awesome for several reasons. One of the things I miss going to all the games is just sitting in front of the TV from the kickoff of the 11 a.m. games until I fall asleep watching whatever PAC 12 After Dark has to offer -- or even the occasional Hawaii home night game that starts at like 11 p.m.
I only get to do that once or twice a year, but playing on Sunday gives me an extra day to really watch college football, and that’s not a small thing.
Plus, we are playing Houston, and we owe them.
This isn't Florida Atlantic or some other rumdum. This is the return game for the neutral site opener in NRG Stadium in Houston three years ago, and I think we all remember how that one turned out.
Honestly, nothing good has happened for us in that stadium (in any sport) since we drummed Colorado there for the conference championship back in 2002. If I never see another Kick Six in person, it will be too soon, unless it's us doing the sixing instead of the kicking.
That was a punch in the gut when it happened in that game -- can't imagine what the 'Bama fans felt like when it happened to them on the last play of the game vs. Auburn, costing them a shot at a national championship.
Anyway, absent that 2016 Houston game, we could be working on a four-year playoff streak. So lots to play for besides just winning. Plus, beating Dana Holgorsen is always fun, regardless.
I have not bet on Oklahoma football since September 3, 1994. I was in Syracuse, NY, that day to see us play the Orangemen, and a friend in Vegas put a legal bet down for me on the Sooners. The spread was OU -6, if memory serves.
At halftime, we led 24-0, and I was counting my money. And then, PJ Mills had the ball knocked out of his hands at the goal line on his way into the end zone to make it 31-0, and all you know what broke loose.
Marvin Harrison ran roughshod over us and it took a blocked extra point and a last-second field goal for us to pull out a 30-29 win. My money was lost.
Nevertheless, I will be in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, and I will find a sports book where I might just place a bet on Jalen Hurts to win the Heisman Trophy.
Seems like a reasonable wager at this point, don't you think?
(Editor's Note: This story appears in Sooner Spectator's 2019 Football Preview Issue - to read more or subscribe, call 405-364-4515)