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Road Warrior
Through all of the craziness 2020 has delivered, OU still has a chance to make its season memorable

For many years, I have simply ordered road game tickets with my season tickets. Other than a handful of times when I have been denied road game tickets for some reason, my road game tickets simply show up in the mail a week or two before the game.

But not this season.

Yes, I am fully aware that we are lucky to be having a season at all, and I should not complain, and I'm not. Whatever road game tickets that have been allocated this season have all gone to player families and the like, which is how it should be under the circumstances.

But it leaves the rest of us fending for ourselves on the open market, which is a really new feeling for someone like me. It hasn't been an unpleasant experience, other than that these tickets (looking at you, TCU) are more expensive than they would normally be -- which is what you would expect with reduced capacity.

Buying my tickets online is how Texas Tech apparently decided I was a Tech donor. Maybe I am actually a Tech donor now -- not sure.

However it came about, I am now the proud owner of a pair of 2020-21 Red Raider Club stickers, suitable for display on the back window of any fashionable pickup truck on the Llano Estacado. They showed up out of the blue in the mail from Lubbock the week after we pounded Tech on the road.

As with all of my tickets this season, I picked them up from an online vendor, and it appears it was Tech itself that put them there. Same thing happened at TCU. So now I am on the donor mailing list for Tech and TCU, although the Frogs have not sent me any swag in the mail, only email spam.

Watching games on TV this season, especially NFL games, most of which have had nobody at all there, I have been thrown off by the piped-in ambient crowd noise. It just seems so odd when you hear it in a shot where you can see the stands and see that there is not a soul there.
It’s even weirder in person.

At Tech, they had crowd noise coming in over the PA when we were on offense that, at least initially, was as loud as that place normally is when it's full of people. It took a couple of possessions before I realized it was coming out of the scoreboard. It was seriously one of the most annoying things I have ever experienced at a game.

This may be hard to believe after the way the season started, but by the time you read this, Oklahoma may well hold its destiny in its own hands for a sixth straight Big 12 championship. All it would take is one more Kansas State loss -- which happened at Iowa State last Saturday -- and the Sooners winning out to play for the title.

It has usually been these kinds of scenarios every year to get to the College Football Playoff, not the Big 12 Championship Game. And, in this weirdest of years, one would suppose that anything -- like a two-loss Power 5 champion getting into the Playoff -- is possible.

But leaving that rather unlikely possibility aside, what we have to realistically play for is yet another conference title and a New Year's Six bowl game.

But before we can do that, we've got to beat West Virginia and Baylor.

By the time you read this, you already know that OU beat OSU 41-13. GameDay was in Norman for that one, a little bit of a downer when nobody can come to the show. I quit going to GameDay live when they were at our games years ago, but it is still cool.

I still remember the first time they came to Norman -- the 1995 OU-Colorado game. GameDay was the best part of that day, to be honest.

As I finish this up, I am watching the Cal-UCLA game live on TV. Standard stuff, except that it's Sunday morning. And the game is at the Rose Bowl, where it is 9:20 a.m. Cal was scheduled to play Arizona State this week and UCLA was scheduled to play Utah, but the Sun Devils and Utes couldn't play due to COVID protocols, so the PAC 12 matched up their scheduled opponents instead.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Kinda makes you wonder why we have schedules set through 2035 or whatever silliness that is. If nothing else, this season may open up the idea that schedules can be more flexible.

We have been lucky (knock on wood) not to have lost any games to the virus this season beyond what happened to everyone with the non-conference games getting cancelled. Hopefully that continues.

And in the weirdest of seasons, we have a shot at a relatively pleasing outcome. I mean, if we can't go to the Playoff, who wouldn't want to win the conference again by beating Iowa State? And then maybe playing, say, Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl at the end of next month?

I could live with that.

(This story appears in the November Basketball Preview Issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe, call 405-364-4515)