We as OU fans can be pretty negative at times. We at Crimson & Cream Machine have been guilty of the same thing on more than one occasion. But today is Thanksgiving, and it’s important to count our blessings. Here are three things we’re thankful for as OU fans:
The Duo of Baker & Dede
Is there a better quarterback-receiver duo in college football this season. Absolutely not! Dede Westbrook has had has 1,200 yards receiving and has caught 15 touchdowns over past eight games, and all but 26 yards and one touchdown have come on throws from fellow superstar Baker Mayfield. On ESPN’s Heisman Watch, Dede westbrook is currently second behind season-long frontrunner Lamar Jackson, while Mayfield is fifth. Mayfield also leads the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 194.7 and is fourth in the nation with 35 touchdown passes (good for a tie with Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes, ironically).
Where would the Sooners be without these two this season? After a year as a walk-on at Texas Tech, Baker came to Norman seemingly on a whim after Trevor Knight’s Sugar Bowl performance, and most of us thought the news of his arrival in Norman to be quite odd. Westbrook was a three-star recruit in high school who ended up taking the JuCo rout after committing to Texas State. Both of these guys took some interesting routs to Norman, and we should consider ourselves fortunate to have them.
In the mid to late 1990s, Oklahoma was coached by Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake. Schnellenberger was gone after one season in which his team went 5-5-1 (with a tie against Texas), and Blake led the Sooners to three of the worst seasons in school history. Crowds were sparse, and national prominence on the gridiron was a distant memory for most. I say most because I was too young to remember a good OU football team at that time. I was born in 1989, so I never saw a Barry Switzer-coached squad, and I was too young to remember Gary Gibbs’ halfway-decent teams. I was resigned to the fact that OU was simply a bad football program because I had never known anything else. My parents and other adults would tell me, “Just be patient. OU will be good again at football someday”, and I’d scoff while wearing my Ryan Minor basketball jersey. “They’ve been saying this my whole life”, I thought.
Then, in December of 1998, Bob Stoops was hired. A young, up-and-coming defensive coordinator from Florida would take the reins, bringing along his up-and-coming younger brother from Kansas State, an offensive mastermind from Kentucky, the son of a legendary coach, and a host of others to round out his staff. People were excited, and for good reason.
Stoops has won a national championship and nine conference championships since he took over in 1999, and that’s only scratching the surface of what he’s accomplished at Oklahoma. No matter what you may think of him as a coach right now, you should at least be thankful for his contributions.
We didn’t lose to Kansas
Could you imagine being a fan of a high-profile program and watching your team lose to a basketball school in front of a crowd numbering in the dozens? Yeah, neither can I. That would be so embarrassing! People would want to fire the coach, recruits would start to look elsewhere, and people would make hurtful memes. In fact, a fan of that school would probably want to stop being a fan altogether. Why would you want to root for a massive underachiever? OU underachieves in big games, but could you imagine if the Sooners started losing to teams like Kansas and Iowa State? People would be like, “Are you even trying over there? You have all of those high-profile recruits, and you can’t beat Kansas? Is Matthew McConaughey running the show over there or something? You should be ashamed of yourselves”. Yeah, OU lost in Lawrence in 1997, but at least that Kansas team won five games. Could you imagine of OU lost to this year’s Kansas team? Kansas’ best player this season is named Fish Smithson. FISH SMITHSON! You can’t lose to a team led by a guy named Fish Smithson! That sounds like the name of a turn-or-the-century baseball manager. That would just be sad. That coach should probably be fired on the spot for something like that. And you definitely wouldn’t make the coach face the media the following Monday without telling him anything certain about his future, would you? That would be cruel and classless. Luckily, that didn’t happen at OU this year, and we should all be thankful!