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December 8, 2013
OU has never needed a Bama matchup more
Believe it or not, I’m not always viewed as the most lovable person. Some might even call me a curmudgeon.
Is it something I want? No. Is it something that happens? Sure.
Take Saturday’s Bedlam game for instance. I went out on a limb. I picked Oklahoma to upset Oklahoma State. I think I was the only person on the Sports Animal who wasn’t a former player (P.J. Mills) or a self-professed OU fan (Spinozi) to do so.
I said OSU had been treated with kid gloves this season. They lost to West Virginia and people treated it like an aberration. Had OU lost to West Virginia, people would have said it was proof of bigger issues.
SCOOP HD: MIKE STOOPS, JOSH HEUPEL TALK BIG BEDLAM WIN
OU is the big brother who doesn’t get a pass when he screws up.
OSU is the younger sibling who is babied by his mom.
I picked Kansas State to beat OU two weeks ago and OU proved me wrong. Trevor Knight proved me wrong. OU’s offensive line and running backs proved me wrong. Jalen Saunders and Jed Barnett proved me wrong. Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell proved me wrong.
I paid attention to that. I was hard on Oklahoma. I saw 8-4 as a strong possibility heading into Kansas State. Yet I came away from Manhattan a believer.
The Sooners finished 10-2. I believed they could do it after K-State. A full commitment to the zone read and the execution under Knight made me a believer.
When you try and see things as they are, when you try and remain objective you sometimes get labeled as a negative person by those who just want you to be a feel-good writer.
That’s how defensive coordinator Mike Stoops sees me. After OU’s big win in Bedlam, I asked what he said to Blake Bell after the game, reminding him that he helped save his defense after OSU needed just 2:41 of game clock to travel 89 yards in just 7 plays to take a 24-20 lead with 1:46 remaining in the game.
“We made a lot of good stops on third down to keep ourselves in the game so i don't look at it that way,” barked Stoops. “We made a big interception and what were they? Two for sixteen on third down?”
Then he threw down.]
“Mr. Optimistic over there, Carey,” said Stoops. “C'mon dude.”
Mike, you c’mon dude. I picked you to win this game.
Why does all this matter? What’s my point? My point is everyone around this program has gotten so defensive, so paranoid and so shell-shocked over games such as LSU, USC, Boise State, West Virginia and Texas A&M, no one can just take a deep breath and relax.
When I told Mike Stoops we’re just writing stories after the “c’mon dude” comment, he told me what story he wanted me to write.
“You're looking for a story? Alright,” said Stoops. “Write Big Game Bob, Sooner Magic's back. How's that? That work?”
Mike, I’d love to write that story. That’s the story everyone wants to write around these parts. But that story has to be genuine. You can’t fake the return of Big Game Bob.
Side note: Don’t think that Big Game Bob moniker is something that is just dismissed around the coach’s offices. That’s a burr in the saddle for sure.
We’d love for every fan to be genuinely fired up about Oklahoma football. We’d love to have the sunshine pumpers and the doom and gloomers be one big, happy family again. But you can’t fake success. You can’t fake being an elite program. You can go 10-2 and still be exposed in a bowl game.
That happened last year.
Fans can see through that..
Recruits can see through that too. Lately they have.
You want genuine praise and adoration Mike? You want top recruits beating down your door instead of Kevin Sumlin’s? Go beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Hell, just go play a hell of a game and prove you can play side-by-side with the gold standard. You don’t even have to win.
Just go in and stand toe-to-toe with the program your most passionate fans see as the team they most want to be. Hell, I know some of your former players that look at the Alabama program with lust in their eyes right now.
Just pay attention to all the Sooner fans who are scared of playing Alabama when it's announced officially later tonight. The fanbase has lost faith. It wasn't just me before the Kansas State game.
It’s all you have to do Mike. You don’t have to rely on me to manufacture excitement.
Do that and then you guys can go back to blaming the adoring media for the reason your team was overconfident after a crushing loss.
C'mon dude, you knew that was coming.