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BITTERSWEET BULLETPOINTS -- 1/1/16

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"For Auld Lang Syne, my friends, for Auld Lang Syne."

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR, Sooners fans!  The calendar year and the Sooners' season are now in the books, and I've got to say, I was pretty pleased with both.  Just a few thoughts before I crawl down into my SaintSooner cave and hibernate for a few months....
  • I want to congratulate Dabo Swinney, Brent Venables, and the players and fans of the Clemson Tigers.  For the second year in a row, these guys were the better team, and I've got no problems losing to a better team.  Best of luck in the natty, y'all!
  • As for me, I'm as much a Sooners fan today as I was yesterday.  Heck, I even bleed crimson.  (If I ever stop bleeding crimson, remind me to visit a doctor.)  Back when I was a younger man, I used to take Oklahoma losses very seriously.  I was a royal brat to be around the night that OU lost to LSU in the Sugar Bowl.  After the U$C game -- I'm ashamed to admit this, but it's true -- I had to call into work because I was so hungover.  It is to be hoped for all of us that age and experience bring wisdom and perspective.  Whatever measure of both I may have acquired keep me from feeling too bad about this game.
  • Hofeld and Hazlewood and DeCray and Bishop have all written up such excellent post-mortems, I really don't have much of anything to add about our Orange Bowl game.  Instead, I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and write a quick note about Oklahoma's other twelve games this season.  Imagine, if you will, Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" playing in slow montage....
  • AKRON 41-3. The Zips came to Norman to collect their paycheck, and that handoff, at least, went smoothly for them.  They would go on to collect seven regular-season wins and emerge victorious against Utah State, 23-21, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  Curious Sooners fans didn't get to learn a whole lot about our new quarterback or offensive coordinator in this one, as the playbook we used was so short, it made an Archie comic book look like "War and Peace."
  • #23 TENNESSEE 31-24 (2OT). Doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that this is where things got interesting, as we began to recognize what Mayfield and Riley could do for us.  As OU trailed by seventeen late into the game, with upwards of 110,000 people screaming bloody murder, Mayfield's moxie shone through en route to one of the more improbable comeback wins in Stoops' tenure.  The Vols would end up up 8-5 on the regular season, with several other close-but-no-cigar losses (including to Alabama) on their resume.  They're squaring off against surprising Northwestern later today in the Outback Bowl.
  • TULSA 52-38. While giving up 38 points to the Golden Hurricane was a bit worrisome, the offense continued to show its ability to frighten.  Mayfield's Houdini act on a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews was a delight.  The kids up I-44 went on to go 6-6 (with losses to ranked Memphis and Navy) and narrowly lose 55-52 to Frank Beamer's last Va. Tech squad in the Camping World Independence Bowl.
  • #23 WEST VIRGINIA 44-24. Holgo's mountain boys were undefeated at the time, with an average score of 43-7 in their first three games.  They hadn't played anyone yet, and Oklahoma proved that.  Mr. Eric Striker had 13 tackles, including three sacks and two TFL, and a forced fumble.  Five turnovers proved the difference.  The 'Eers went 7-5, and play Arizona State tomorrow in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.
  • (A thing happened in Dallas.  Couldn't tell you what.  Whoever it happened against ain't playing a damned soul in the postseason and still think they're on third base ready to run for the plate.)
  • KANSAS STATE 55-0. I'm on record as saying that this year's Wildcats might be the best coaching job of Bill Snyder's storied career.  The injury bug hit hard, yet he still managed to coach six wins out of his squad.  Not to be against OU.  Mayfield threw all five of his touchdown passes in the first half, KSU couldn't tackle, and Snyder benched his starting QB to have a wide receiver taking snaps under center.  They're playing Arkansas tomorrow in the Autozone Liberty Bowl.
  • TEXAS TECH 63-27. Perine and Mixon combined for 335 rushing yards and six touchdowns.  In case you missed it, it has recently been announced that TTU quarterback Davis Webb has been granted a transfer from the program and will be eligible to play in 2016....  Even with a fantastically bad run defense, Koach Kliff somehow got seven wins.  They were Klobbered by LSU in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.
  • KANSAS 62-7. I have nothing to say about 0-12 Kansas.  I believe in politeness.
  • IOWA STATE 52-16. In what has become the final season for head coach Paul Rhoads, the Sooners could do no wrong.  In a game filled with big plays by Oklahoma, Mayfield, Perine, and Mixon had the game set on easy mode.  The Cyclones would finish 3-9 and look to go in a better direction with new head coach Matt Campbell.
  • #6 BAYLOR 44-34. (And here began OU's November to Dismember.)  The Bears were looking to become the first team to beat a Bob Stoops squad three games in a row.  They had blown us out of the water the previous two.  They owned the longest home winning streak in the nation.  Sooners were having none of it.  Samaje busted a 55-yarder and Mayfield had another Heisman-caliber game, especially on a 17 yard touchdown pass to Dimitri Flowers.  Bears went 9-3 and beat North Carolina 49-38 in the Russell Athletic Bowl, a game which I'm pretty sure even their mascot played quarterback for a series.
  • #18 TCU 30-29. I really don't like the phrase "bend-but-don't-break defense."  But after Baker Mayfield was ruled out for the second half with a concussion, Steven Parker's bat-down of a Horned Frog 2-point conversion had us feeling like OU was one of those teams that would just find a way to win.  Patterson's boys went 10-2 and play #15 Oregon tomorrow in the Valero Alamo Bowl.  (Also, just my opinion, but football players shouldn't get drunk and punch cops.  Really, that rule is good for anyone.)
  • #11 OKLAHOMA STATE 58-23. In what would be the least Bedlamical Bedlam in years, the Sooners played their most complete football game of the season.  The Four Horsemen (Mayfield, Perine, Shepard, and Mixon) starred in one uncanny display after another, Jordan Thomas snared two INT's, and the game wasn't even as close as the lopsided score would indicate.  OU won the Big XII Conference again and balance was restored to the universe.  The Pokes went 10-2 and play #12 Ole Miss tonight in a game that should be fun to watch.  Also, "Bedlamical" is totally a real word, I promise.
  • (Okay, I'll say one quick word about the Clemson game here -- the words "Personal foul, fifteen yard penalty, automatic first down" are ones I could stand to hear less often in 2016 than I did in 2015.)
  • Peace and love, Sooners fans!  We've had a heckuva ride, and it's been fun sitting in the back seat with y'all.  As I've said before, this year's upcoming schedule is a doozy, and I, for one, can hardly wait!  Anyone want to meet up for the Red and White game...?