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Spanning The Decades Of Sooner Football: 1950’s

The decade of the 1940’s was a launching pad for the Oklahoma football machine and in the `50’s we’d see it grow into a full fledged monster. Under the direction of Bud Wilkinson the Sooners dominated the decade with a 93-10-2 record, 10 conference championships and 3 national championships.


·        Sooners complete a 10-0 regular season.

·        Oklahoma becomes the #1 team in the nation after beating Missouri 41-7 to improve their record to 8-0.

·        Oklahoma wins their 5th consecutive conference championship.

·        Despite losing to 13-7 to Kentucky in the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma claims its first national championship.

Other Happenings In The World

·        Communist China provides additional military forces to Communist North Korea

·        North Korea invades South Korea capturing Seoul

·        President Truman approved U.S. construction of the hydrogen bomb

·        US leads UN in Korean War

·        12 nations agree to the creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization / NATO for the defense of the United States and Europe

·        President Harry Truman sends United States military personnel to Vietnam to aid French forces

·        James Dean gets his break when he appears in a Pepsi Commerial

·        Sunset Blvd. is the popular movie

Jay Leno, Tom Petty and Stevie Wonder are born


·        After defeating William & Mary 49-7, OU loses back-to-back games to Texas A&M and Texas.

·        Following the defeats the Sooners reel off 7 consecutive wins to capture their 6th consecutive conference championship.

Other Happenings In The World

·        Libya Gains Independence from Italy

·        22nd Amendment is ratified which limits US presidential term of office to 8 yrs ( 2 terms )

·        China Marches Into Tibet taking control of the Dalai Lama's Realm forcing him to live in India

·        President Harry S Truman fires General Douglas MacArthur as commander of United Nations Forces

·        United Nations forces recapture Seoul during the Korean War

·        The term Rock N Roll is coined by Cleveland Disc Jockey Alan Freed

·        The Dennis the Menace comic strip appears in newspapers across the U.S. for the first time.

·        A Street Car Named Desire is the popular movie

·        Sting and Phil Collins are born


·        Oklahoma starts the season with a 21-21 tie against Colorado

·        Sooners rout Pitt (49-20), Texas (49-20), Kansas (42-20), Kansas State (49-6) and Iowa State (41-0) before dropping their only loss of the season, a 27-21 loss at Notre Dame.

·        Oklahoma finishes the season 8-1-1 to win their 7th consecutive conference championship.

·        With 1,072 rushing yards, 165 receiving yards and 18 combined touchdowns, Billy Vessels becomes Oklahoma’s first Heisman Trophy winner

Other Happenings In The World

·        Albert Einstein refuses Presidency of Israel

·        South African Police Arrest Nelson Mandella

·        Rocky Marciano becomes world heavyweight champion after knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott

·        Vice Presidential Candidate Richard M. Nixon defends himself on Television over allegations of secret cash fund

·        Mother Teresa opens the home for dying and destitute in Calcutta

·        Puerto Rico becomes a Self Governing Commonwealth Of the United States

·        KFC Fried Chicken Franchise Opens

·        MAD Magazine first issue

·        The African Queen is the popular movie

·        Sharon Osbourne, Christopher Reeve and David Hasselhoff are born


·        Oklahoma starts the season with a 28-21 loss to Notre Dame and 7-7 tie with Pittsburgh.

·        Beginning with a 19-14 victory over Texas the Sooners win 8 games in a row to capture their 8th consecutive conference championship.

·        Oklahoma defeats #1 Maryland, and former Head Coach Jim Tatum, 7-0 in the Orange Bowl to finish with a 9-1-1 record.

Other Happenings In The World  

·        Stalin dies

·        Dweight D. Eisenhower becomes President of the United States

·        Dr. Jonas E. Salk, announced a vaccine had been used safely and successfully used in preliminary trials on 90 children and adults as a polio vaccine

·        Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale in the United Kingdom

·        New York Yankees win fifth world series in a row

·        The War of the Worlds is the popular movie

·        Bill Gates, Tim Allen, Pierce Brosnan and John Edwards are born.


·        After opening the season with a 27-13 win over #12 California Oklahoma moved up from #2 to #1 in the polls

·        After beating Kansas State 21-0 in week 5 the Sooners dropped back to #2

·        After beating a 5-1 Colorado team in Boulder, 13-6, Oklahoma dropped to #3 in the polls

·        Oklahoma finished the season 10-0 to capture their 9th consecutive conference championship and despite wins over three Top 25 teams the Sooners would only finish as #3 team in the country

·        Oklahoma’s winning streak is at 19 games.

Other Happenings In The World

·        Roger Bannister runs the first sub four minute mile

·        First Sports Illustrated magazine is published

·        Brown v Board of Education makes segregation in US Public Schools Unconstitutional

·        Rosa Parks arrest in Montgomery Alabama sets the American Civil Rights Movement in Motion

·        The Indo-China war ends when France gives up North Vietnam to the Communists

·        The words "under God" are added to the United States Pledge of Allegiance

·        Marilyn Monroe marries Joe DeMaggio

·        Elvis Presley begins his music career

·        20,000 Leagues Under The Sea is the popular movie

·        J.R.R. Tolkien releases The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers

·        Ian Fleming releases the second James Bond novel, Live and Let Live

·        Condoleezza Rice, Jackie Chan and John Travolta are born


·        Oklahoma starts the season ranked #3 and after their season opening 13-6 victory over unranked North Carolina the Sooners drop to #5.

·        After beating 12th ranked Pittsburgh, 26-14, in week 2 the Sooners moved back to #3.

·        Beginning with a 20-0 win at Missouri in week seven, Oklahoma shutout four consecutive opponents winning by a combined score of 166-0.

·        After the Missouri win the Sooners became the #1 team in the country

·        Oklahoma finished the regular season 10-0 to win their 10th consecutive conference championship

·        In front of 76,561 fans in Miami Oklahoma defeated Maryland, and former Head Coach Jim Tatum, for the second time in three years at the Orange Bowl. Oklahoma’s 20-6 win over undefeated Maryland gave the Sooners their 2nd national championship

·        Oklahoma’s winning streak grows to 30 games

Other Happenings In The World

·        The first Commercial TV Station with advertisements starts in London, England

·        The Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies sign the Warsaw Pact giving integration of military, economic and cultural policy between the eight Communist nations

·        Disneyland opens in California

·        "In God We Trust" is added to all US paper currency

·        African American Rosa Parks is arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in Montgomery Alabama

·        George De Mestral invents velcro in Switzerland

·        James Dean killed in car accident near Cholame, California

·        "The Mickey Mouse Club" debuts on ABC

·        Oklahoma is the popular movie

·        Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Jobs are born


·        Oklahoma starts the season by shutting out 4 of their first 5 opponents

·        Former Sooner Head Coach Jim Tatum returned to Norman as the coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels. It was his third time to play the Sooners since his departure and the 36-0 decision marked his third loss to his former team. It would be the last time Tatum would play against the Sooners.

·        After their 34-12 win at Kansas in week four the Sooners dropped from #1 to #2

·        After their 40-0 win at Notre Dame in week five OU returned to #1

·        After winning 44-0 at Iowa State in week seven OU once again dropped to #2

·        After winning 67-14 against Missouri in week eight the Sooners moved back to #1 for good.

·        Oklahoma went 6-0 in conference play to win an 11th consecutive conference championship

·        Oklahoma’s 10-0 record earned them their first back-to-back national championships and their third overall national championship.

·        Oklahoma’s winning streak is at 40 games

Other Happenings In The World

·        Israel attacks Egypt during Suez Crisis and Britain and France Bomb Egypt

·        Alabama Bus segregation laws declared illegal by US Supreme Court

·        Elvis Presley releases his first hit

·        Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 signed into law on June 29th for the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways over a 20-year period

·        Eight Negro students refused entry to Sturgis High School in Sturgis Kentucky,

·        Rocky Marciano retires as the only undefeated Heavyweight Champion of the world with a perfect record

·        Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time

·        Around The World In 80 Days in the popular movie

·        David Copperfield, Martina Navratilova and Bo Derek are born


·        Ranked #1, Oklahoma starts the season with a 26-0 win at #8 Pittsburgh

·        Oklahoma loses #1 ranking after a 21-7 win against Texas in week 3

·        Sooners regain #1 ranking after their 47-0 win over Kansas in week 4

·        Sooners lose top ranking again the following week after a 13-0 win over Kansas State

·        In week 8 Oklahoma’s winning streak is snapped at 47 games with a 7-0 loss at Notre Dame

·        Oklahoma finishes the regular season at 9-1 and 6-0 in conference to win their 12th consecutive conference championship

·        Oklahoma defeats Duke 48-21 in the Orange Bowl to finish the season with a 10-1 record

Other Happenings In The World

·        South Vietnam attacked by Viet Cong Guerrillas

·        USSR launches Sputnik 1 on October 4th initiating the Space Age and the Space Race

·        Martin Luther King Jr heads nationwide resistance to racial segregation and discrimination in the US

·        Federal Troops sent to Arkansas to enforce anti segregation laws

·        Portable Radar Devices Used To Enforce Speed Limits

·        "American Bandstand" the teenagers chart music show makes its network debut on ABC

·        The Ten Commandments is the popular movie



·        Big 8 Conference is formed

·        Oklahoma regains the #1 ranking after a season opening 47-14 win over West Virginia

·        Sooners lose their top ranking after a 6-0 win over unranked Oregon

·        Oklahoma suffers their first and only loss of the season at the hands of Texas, 15-14

·        A 7-0 win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl give the Sooners a 7-0 conference record and their 13th consecutive conference championship

·        Ranked #5, the Sooners beat #9 Syracuse 21-6 in the Orange Bowl

Other Happenings In The World

·        NASA is formed

·        Nelson Rockefella Elected Governor of New York

·        Sir Edmund Hillary reaches the South Pole

·        Elvis Presley is inducted into the Army

·        US Nuclear Submarine " Nautilus " passes under Ice Cap at North Pole

·        The Wham-O company introduces the Hula Hoop; over 100 million are sold

·        The Bridge on the River Kwai is the popular movie

·        Jamie Lee Curtis is born


·        Oklahoma starts the season ranked #2 but is routed 45-13 at Northwestern

·        The Sooners suffer two more losses (19-12 against Texas and 25-21 at Nebraska) to finish the regular season 7-3. It was their worst record since 1945

·        Despite the loss to Nebraska, Oklahoma finished with a 6-1 conference record and their 14th consecutive conference championship.

Other Happenings In The World

·        Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba after Revolution with the first communist state in the west

·        Mattel's Barbie Doll is Launched

·        Alaska becomes the 49th State of the United States

·        Hawaii becomes the 50th State of the United States

·        NASA introduces America's first astronauts to the world including John H. Glenn Jr, and Alan Shepard Jr.

·        The first known human with HIV dies in Congo

·        The US Grammy Music Awards Started

·        Ben Hur is the popular movie

·        Bonanza premieres on NBC, the first weekly television series broadcast completely in color