Oklahoma is the nation's top college football program of the modern era. With 560 wins since 1945 (.757%) the Sooners are on top of the college football world. In total, OU boasts 7 national championships, 42 conference championships, 43 bowl appearances, 150 All-Americans and 5 Heisman Trophy winners. Is that what makes the Oklahoma football program so great or is it something else?
A conversation last night got my mind going down this path. Do we as Sooner fans like the program because of their resume or is there something else that draws us to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium? For me, its the team itself that I'm drawn to. Its Paul Thompson switching from receiver back to quarterback just a couple of weeks away from the start of the season and leading the team to a Big 12 Championship. Its Roy Williams flying over the Texas offensive line to knock the ball out of Chris Sims hand. Its coming back from being down 14-0 against Nebraska to win 31-14 while marching towards the national championship. That's what makes Sooner football great to me.
Well, that and tradition. Not the kind of tradition that you're think of though. I'm talking about the tradition of The Pride of Oklahoma taking the field before each home game in the exact same way. The tradition of greeting the visiting teams with a video on Sooner vision welcoming them to the home of champions. The tradition of holding your finger up and saying, "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO U!" at each kick off. The tradition of the Boomer Sooner chant on the road. Its fun at home but its great on the road. The tradition of taking my son to Taco Bell after each home game (OK that one is personal).
Championships, bowl games, All-Americans and Heisman Trophies are all byproducts of being a fan of a great program but they're not the reason we should be fans. If they are, then seasons like1996-1998, 2005 and 2009 would drive us insane and cause us to jump off the wagon. Let those things be feathers in your cap to show off to a Texas fan when they start yapping, (Then you can respond with, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over all of our championships.") but don't let them be the foundation that your fan-hood is built upon.
So how about you? What makes Sooner football great to you?