Originally Published: Sep 20, 2010 12:31 AM CDT
Great time last night at the reunion of our 1974 and 1975 national championship teams. Bunch of classy guys, successful men and terrific football players. Around one hundred former players and a half dozen of their coaches attended. Barry Switzer, Little Joe Washington and Joe Castiglione ram-rodded things.
It was the idea of new coach Bob Stoops to have this group of players get together. So in 2000, Stoops attended a much smaller eventaround 30 former players showed up.
But the idea had begun and through the next ten years OU’s A.D. made it a priority to honor teams and individuals who have been the backbone of the program that has won more football games than any team in college football in the modern era. There is a tremendous sense of pride within the people who made it happen. There is also a great sense of appreciation from those being honored that someone took the time and effort to show such appreciation.
Stoops, Castiglione, and Little Joe deserve much of the credit. For this particular event, Coach Switzer played a major role.
There was a remarkable amount of talent in the room last nightLee Roy and Dewey Selmon, All-American safety Randy Hughes, QB Steve Davis, WR Tinker Owens, RB Elvis Peacock traveled in from Miami, and the late Daryl Hunt’s youngest daughter even drove up from Houston to take part.
Coach Switzer arranged for four successful coaches who played a role in the success of this era to phone in and speak to the players: Mike Shanahan, Larry Lacewell, Galen Hall and Donnie Duncan.
Seventeen players were drafted off these teams. The teams won back-to-back national titles and five consecutive conference titles. Players in that room won at an astounding rate: 1971, 11-1: 1972, 11-1: 1973, 10-0-1; 1974, 10-0; 1975, 11-1 (53-3-1 if you are counting so far with Big 8 titles in all five seasons.) 1976, 9-2-1; 1977, 10-2; 1978, 11-1;1979-11-1. That covers the years that players on the ’74-’75 teams were a part of an incredible run of 93 wins, 9 losses and two ties. Nine straight Big 8 championships (the 1980 conference title extended it to 10 straight).
As for today--We often begin reports in our business with “it’s a big game,” and sometimes it is. The problem I sense OU might have is that fans, players and coaches knew last week’s game with Florida State was a “big game.” And in typical fashionat least at homethe Sooners of Bob Stoops responded with a resounding blowout of No. 17 Florida State.
Today’s game is of course in Norman as well. But the biggest concern is that everyone feels too good about last week and will not bring enough energy to the field (and yes, the stands.) Knowing what I know now, I’d take Air Force over FSU if the two played on a neutral field. At least the men from the AFA will not quitsomething that can’t be said of the Seminoles.
Enjoy. OU wins but not in an runaway. Air Force is underrated and too disciplined to be routed.