FanPost

On Rose Bowl's Eve... Some passing thoughts

So… this is it, huh?

Months of waiting, worrying, reading depth charts, watching highlight reels, Toby’s scene setters, C&C comments; after hating (yes, hating) Miners, Buckeyes, a Green Wave, bears, Cyclones, horns (FOREVER POINT DOWN), Wildcats, Red Raiders, cowboys (FOREVER FIRING DUDS), Horned Frogs, Jayhawks, Mountaineers, and Horned Frogs again, here we are.

The first round of the College Football Playoff is here, and the Sooners are playing in the Rose Bowl for a chance to win the whole.danged.thing. It feels like it’s been a really wild ride, with moments of elation (plant.the.damn.flag all day long, every day), despair (c’mon JT7, dang dude), and every bit of frustration and joy possible in between. So, we’re here.

Now what?

Obviously, I’m not going to pontificate about the X’s and O’s – Jack’s bunch of writers, not to mention a host of other sports reporters and commentators have inundated our ears and eyes with strategies and narrative galore. You are all aware that the bulldogs will roll out a fast, disciplined defense that was among the best in the country this year. You know that they have one of the best rushing attacks in college football. You know that their coach served as an assistant to the most decorated coach still in the game. You know their QB is a freshman that hasn’t looked very fresh at all.

So now what?

Obviously I’m not going to offer meaningless predictions – for one, it’s super bad juju to call a game either way, but moreso, it’s an incalculable equation, because no variable is fixed. The unthinkable can happen, both in terms of bad luck or in terms of injuries; further, a cleat can slip, the ball can be tipped, a fumble can get away, a coach can call the exact play to break an offense, or the officials can make an inexplicable mistake, etcetcetc….. So, predictions are worthless – even if the teams were disparate in terms of talent or coaching, we don’t have enough information to verify it yet, so any prediction would be based on an estimation of each team that is based on observation, and when the ‘experts’ who have spent far more hours and years looking at these things than I still manage to be horribly wrong, and a lot, why would I waste my time? Back to the first point, though – it’s just really bad mojo to call a game. Don’t ever predict a score, don’t ever call a game before it’s actually over, and stay focused until 0:00 pops up on the clock. Trust me, your sports life will be immensely happier if you stay out of the prediction business. Just trust ol' Phil.

Hmm.

So, no predictions here. No strategy talk. No boasting. No arrogance. So why am I writing this?

Hope. I need a little hope to cling to, on this, the last eve of 2017.

See folks, I’ve been incredibly blessed as a sports fan. For those that don’t care to visit my profile, the three teams that get me through life are the St. Louis Cardinals (Tulsa used to have the farm club for the Redbirds, and my folks are from the Lou), the San Antonio Spurs (since loooong before the Thunder were here, so get off my back!), and the Oklahoma Sooners (born & bred). I’ve seen National league and World Series titles, five Larry O’Brien trophies, a multitude of conference titles, and a couple NCAA football Championships. An incredible wealth of sports joy.

I’ve also been snakebit. A lot.

I cringe every time I see a Boston Red Sox hat. 2004 hurt. Losses in 2005, 2012, 2013 hurt, too.

As for basketball? Well, OKC broke my heart in 2012, and Ray Allen broke it again in 2013, and OKC crushed me and ended Tim Duncan’s career for good in 2016.

And you know about these Sooners. You know that we had some dark times when Barry left. Losing seasons. But Bob happened, and Torrance, Quentin, and Josh beat the Noles and that crystal trophy was gorgeous. Is gorgeous. But heartbreak hurts. The loss to the Aggies hurt. Rayshaun-fricking-Woods hurt. Darren Sproles hurt. Nick Saban and LSU hurt. Reggie-he-cheated-Bush and Matt-Hottub-Leinart hurt. Rhett Bomar hurt, and Paul Thompson couldn’t get us past Boise State, and that hurt, too. Sammy losing to WVU hurt. Sammy and Joaquin and Jermaine losing to Tebow’s gators hurt a lot. Johnny Manziel hurt, too, but the pain was mitigated by lowered expectations. Tyreek Hill hurt, too, but maybe not as much as Bob’s decision to rekick the flipping ball. Clemson hurt. Twice. Houston and anOSU hurt.

Iowa State literally hurt.

I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of these Sooners getting close to the mountaintop, but not.quite.getting.over….

I’m tired of living off all of these great, great Sooner memories. I’m tired of the last title being at the beginning of Bob’s great career. I’m tired of being joked about, as though we’re not the envy of nearly every other college football program in the country. I’m tired of people preaching to us about how we aren’t as good as such and such or so and so. I’m tired of people mocking ‘Big Game Bob’ and the no-defense Big 12. I’m tired of people calling our quarterback, nay, My Quarterback names like ‘Manziel 2.0’ or ‘too-short’ or perhaps the worst one – ‘a system QB’. I’m tired of the doubters, and the haters, and all the crap we’ve had to hear for so absurdly long.

I don’t want another close call. I don’t want another loss in a big game. I don’t want an asterisk next to Baker’s Heisman campaign, like the Tebow-sized asterisk next to Sammy’s.

I need a little bit of hope tonight, a night created for hope, for new beginnings, for an end of eras.

Because I’m worried. I’m worried that the offense stalls, and the defense gets gashed, and we’ll have to hear all about how we couldn’t measure up to Georgia. I’m worried that the pain of almost getting there will come crushing down on us again, and I’m really sick of it.

But there’s a little bit of hope. Hope that Linc’s got something special cooking for the bad guys. Hope that Baker’s flu game will be The Flu Game that sports historians talk about in the future. Hope that Roquan gets flattened by a Flowers. Hope that Fromm falls to Ogbo and Caleb again and again and again. Hope that we hear "HOLLYWOOD!!!!!" over and over and over. Hope that Chubb and Michel and Swift can’t find daylight, but find Kelly and Murray and Parker and Ward and Gallimore instead. Hope that Parnell and Tre and Tre and Jordan and Robert and Steven and Will snatch enemy passes from the skies. Hope that Rodney sees green all day long. Hope that Ceedee is open on every single 3rd down.. Hope that Orlando lays waste to vaunted defensive linemen. Hope that we get to hear Toby scream "Preach" at least twice tomorrow. Hope that Bake plants a flag on field of roses. Hope that this magical season doesn’t end tomorrow.

May tonight mark the end of the Sooners getting close.

May a thousand bad losses come crashing down with two more Sooner wins.

May countless wrongs be made right with two more Sooner wins.

May the dark night of ‘almost’ come to a crashing conclusion this week, this new year.

May we find the mountaintop again.

May we hope anew.

Because I need a little hope tonight, folks, I need a little hope.



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