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ORANGE BOWL BULLETPOINTS -- 12/30/15

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"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra, who left us on September 22nd of this year.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Happy Wednesday, Sooners fans!  Got your favorite sweatshirt laundered?
  • The end of the calendar year is a time for reflection.  "The unexamined life is not worth living," said Socrates.  (As a historical footnote, he allegedly said this at the trial for which he was later put to death, so caveat emptor on the Socratic wisdom.)  I am on record as having said, "I think the Sooners will lose two or three games during the regular season in 2015."  For those of you who thought we would be playing tomorrow in the semifinal round of the playoffs, you are smarter than me -- I welcome your spitballs.
  • We're in the playoffs!  I'm sorry, I know this sentiment has been well-captured for some time now by every writer under the sun, but allow me a moment's reflection here.  New Year, after all.  It seems like round about a year ago -- you remember, 2014? -- there were a slew of voices saying Big Bob was done.  Couldn't hack it any more.  Game had passed him by.  "Thanks for being the winningest coach in Oklahoma (Oklahoma!) history, but you're a Model T in a Corvette universe.  Let's be like Texas and hire a big name."  So while I can admit to deserving some spitballs, I can throw a few back.
  • The Bedlam Bloodletting of a few weeks past has faded into memory for most of us, but my absolute favorite part of it?  Dede Westbrook putting himself into Oscar consideration. You remember that first Samaje Perine touchdown...?
  • (If you click the link above, you won't regret it.)
  • But okie dokie, my Okies, here we are.  Clemson.  Again.  Because it was so much fun the last time.  They just went and kicked the holy living pod-waddin' out of us around this time last year.  I was listening on the radio, and I had to turn it off.  I'd be a liar if I tried to put a good face on last year's game -- if you're a Sooners fan, it was the kind of butt-whuppin' we've put on other squads many a time over the course of the Stoops era, and being on the receiving end of those things hurts.
  • Sports journalism does a pretty good job of telling you statistics.  Oklahoma is a statistically better team in its 2015 incarnation than in last year's.  Striker's numbers and Shepard's numbers be as they may, though, the statistics for both teams are liars.  I've visited the Clemson blog, and seen their statistics; I've visited various Oklahoma blogs and seen our statistics; statistically, depending upon what numbers you look at, both teams have arguments to show that they should blow the other school out of the water.
  • Bollocks that.  I hate statistics.
  • I haven't been to the state of South Carolina since I was eleven.  I'm sure that Clemson is a fine educational institution.  Man, I want to beat these guys badly.  They wear orange.
  • Cool Thing About Clemson #1: The $2 bill tradition. Since roundabout 1977, Clemson fans going out of state for games have taken to paying for things with $2 bills.  You can get them at the bank if you ask for them.  It was designed to show the impact that intercollegiate athletics have on interstate economy, and the bills are often stamped with tiger paws.  I'm not gonna lie, that's pretty fantastic, and I wish we'd thought of it.
  • But speaking of 1977, two things.  First of all, a Star Wars movie is doing pretty well at the box office.  Secondly, an Oklahoma quarterback, facing fourth-and-short, ran a naked bootleg.  For a bunch of yards.  What year is it again?
  • Statistically, Eric Striker had a quiet game against the Cowboys.  Three tackles (1/2 for a loss) and two pass breakups.  If you watched that game, you don't need me to tell you about statistics.
  • Cool thing about Clemson #2: Howard's Rock. I'm a sucker for a good story.
  • Another weird thing about the Bedlam game was how gosh-awful bad Zack Sanchez really was.  Seriously, we know this guy is a risk/reward kind of guy, but he wasn't even risking, he was just falling down.  I'd be hard-pressed to think of a worse performance by an Oklahoma DB in one game than that one.  But as flukily bad as Zack was, every other Sooners DB was playing the game of his career.  Steven Parker will be a leader on this team next year, no question.  Ahmad Thomas is my vote for most-improved Sooner hands-down.  (I called you out more than once last year, and you've answered the call.)  Jordan Thomas will kill you in your sleep without a second thought.
  • Our defense has been top-to-bottom better than last year's.  I'm also on record as saying this is the best linebacking unit we've had since I can remember.  Ask any Clemson fan, they'll tell you how good DeShaun Watson is at escaping the pass rush.  And I don't doubt it, kid's a hell of an athlete.
  • Cool Thing About Clemson #3: They're a darned fine ballclub, one we know well, and the one Oklahoma will beat en route to the national championship game. What, you came here for unbiased journalism?  BOOMER!
  • Peace and love, Sooners fans!  I may never have met any of you, but I've enjoyed spending 2015 with you.  2016 is full of possibilities, and I'm all about the possible.