I’m going to drop the royal “we” schtick for the first part of this week’s Report, as there is something serious (read, not football or anything else that doesn’t really matter) to discuss. Last weekend, we lost a great Sooner and a kind man, Bob Barry, Sr. I only met him once, and it wasn’t in the best of circumstances for me, but my encounter with him matched perfectly with everything else being said about him in the wake of his passing.
Many of you will recall (and more of you, thankfully, won’t) that yours truly inadvertently precipitated the first internet recruiting blowup, way back in 1996, when the internet was new and a prior version of this site (The Roadhouse, for those of you who go that far back – I still own the rdhouse.com domain, in fact) was one of the first couple of OU web sites. I got some information about some recruits running into Barry Switzer on a recruiting visit from a colleague whose secretary’s son was one of the recruits. Being always enthusiastic about all things Switzer, I wrote a little blurb about it on the website and, without really thinking about how it would be read, made it look like it was something that was done on purpose, which would of course not be within NCAA recruiting rules. In truth, Switzer just happened to be there and run into them by total chance.
A hack “journalist” from Austin got wind of the post (Suzanne Halliburton is still on my permanent **** list) and the next thing you know, there’s an AP story out of Austin based on this three-sentence blurb on my website, nobody’s talked to me, but I’m getting hounded out of my office by press tracking me down and scared to death I’m going to lose my real life job over all of it. Switzer is getting asked questions about it at Super Bowl press conferences.
I spoke to someone from the Oklahoman, who treated me pretty well in his story, and tried to avoid everyone else. Bob Barry wanted to interview me about it, though, and I couldn’t turn him down. He came to my office and I was floored at how truly nice he was. I was in a difficult spot, sitting in the conference room at my law firm, with my boss in attendance, doing this interview. Bob was understanding of where I was coming from, he was kind to me, and he presented the whole thing on TV, ultimately, as honestly as he could have. He was doing his job, but he was being himself, and he impressed the heck out of me.
Yes, he got a little confused in his later years while doing football, and yes, we all made fun of him for it. But that was age taking its toll and nothing else. Bob Barry, Sr. was a great journalist and a kind man, and if any of us can be remembered as kind people after we’re gone, we’ve done something pretty special. We’ll miss you, Bob. The Sooner squad upstairs got a great play-by-play man this weekend. Unfortunately, that squad has been getting way too many new members lately.
On to lesser things, namely, football. We said here last week that we expected a comfortable win in Manhattan, and so it came to pass. Perhaps it was even more comfortable than we expected, which was all for the better. There’s nothing more fun than watching the home crowd at a Sooner road game hit the exits early, as the purple faithful did in Manhattan last weekend. The end of the third quarter brought a flood of purple to the exits, and the stadium was practically deserted not too long after that.
We were more than a little distressed, however, late in the first quarter and early in the second, when KSU’s one-dimensional 1950s offense started gashing us on play after play and scoring quickly. We would never have thought that KSU would be able to do that at all. As it happened, other than a few series there, the Sooner defense ended up with KSU on lockdown from their last score with over 12 minutes left in the second quarter, but it was a little disconcerting there for a while.
The offense was on pretty much all day, and other than a pick on an arm punt and another that was really a receiver’s fault, Landry Jones had a spectacular day. Awful to see Dom Whaley go out for the season on the first play of the game, but it is what it is. Other than Whaley’s injury, things couldn’t have gone better in Manhattan.
It said here last week that the Sooners were not out of the national title picture, having dropped only to ninth in the BCS after the Tech debacle. Lo and behold, we were the highest rated one-loss team at sixth a week later, and a hair’s breadth of a triple overtime win by Stanford away from being fifth. As it is, with Oregon behind us and a game against OSU, sitting at #3 (probably #2 after this week) in front of us. Win out and beat Aggy (who sits first in the computer rankings) and we’ll get a huge boost in the rankings.
Stanford still has to play Oregon and LSU and Bama play this weekend. Frankly, if we take care of our business, we’ve got a real shot to still make the title game at this point. Stanford needs to lose, and Oregon needs to not jump us if they’re the ones to beat Stanford. We believe that an undefeated Boise State will still be left out at the end unless they are the only undefeated team left, and maybe even not then. The other hangup may be if the LSU/Bama loser doesn’t fall behind us, which could happen.
But, of course, we have to take care of our business, or none of it matters anyway. Next up is A&M’s last visit to Norman. Aggy have figured out a way to collapse numerous times, but they’ve been in every game and could easily be undefeated. This will not be easy, despite the long history of A&M rolling over in Norman. We hope to be proven wrong on this and to be celebrating a rout of A&M, sending their little dog home disappointed once again. A day game at home is a rarity this season, with this one being the first, last, and only one. See you there.