Good morning Oklahoma. Happy New Year's.
2009 is upon us. Out with the old and in with the new. Dump the old material. Time to come up with some new stuff.
But not Lee Corso. Bad start for the elder statesman of ESPN's Gameday. He was working from his same old scripts this morning at 6 am PCS. Up and at ‘em early this morning in Pasadena where the popular college football show originated before this afternoon's Rose Bowl. Predictably now, Corso continued espousing his oft-repeated theme of 2008.
With righteous indignation, the wily veteran pulled out his worn out script that Texas beat an OU team that "folded in the fourth quarter" and got the rawest of raw deals when the quitters were unfairly awarded the Big 12 tiebreaker after beating the Sooners by ten in October.
No reason wasting your time going through the litany of lines you've no doubt heard more often than you've heard Billy holler "Boomer!" Old material is easy to memorize. Occasionally, if he'd drop the burnt orange pom pons for a minute or two he might get more people to listen to his analysis/shtick.
However, mute buttons get a workout nationwide except Hill Country as soon as Corso's simpleton material hits auto pilot anytime OU or Texas or the national championship or mayonnaise or global warming is brought up.
Hey Lee, it's 2009. Agreed, that argument merited headline status a month ago. But enough of the Mel Tillis stutter, stutter, Pete and Repeat. Ask a lackey to find some new stats. Anything new.
Fast forward big fella. Beads and bell-bottoms are out. Fresh takes and objective analysis is in-I think. Take advantage of your SoCal visit and smell the roses.
Locals wonder if the guy is close to earning an Honorary Doctorate at UT. His value to the UT cause is quite moving. Frankly, the man is a very likeable guy who is hard not to like and a guy coaches see as a gimmick artist more than a football man. But he clearly has gone overboard with his obvious commitment to Texas on this BCS mess.
Makes some ponder who Texas recruited harder-5-star DT Jemarcus McFarland or Corso and other nationwide media. Clearly, after the defensive tackle from the Lone Star state not only chose OU but blasted Texas to the New York Times for alleged unscrupulous recruitment, it could be argued that the 24/7 PR campaign was more successful.
You'd be surprised all the emails, texts, calls and persuasion pursuits many in the media claim to have received. Hey, each to his own. Their valid point was well-received by a good number of Corsos and the Fourth Estate.
Corso's musings provided a well-choreographed setup for a piece of Gameday sound bites strung together on what else? Mack Brown and Texas players talking of a split national championship if they beat Ohio State in the Fiesta and Florida loses to the Sooners.
At some point people become you gotta think sports fans become weary-in Oklahoma they did a long time ago-of hearing this worn out rhetoric. For the record, and for the umpteenth time, I understand the anger from the Longhorns.
However, unlike what several of my Texas friends say who state with conviction that Stoops would do the exact same thing had he been in UT's shoes, I completely disagree. I guarantee you Stoops would not go on every TV and radio show imaginable and utilize surrogates to harp on the woe are we mission.
The Stoops brothers don't even vote in the coaches' poll. Don't think Bob doesn't know how important swing votes are? I know for a fact his instructions to the OU PR people to not play the PR game when the tiebreaker brouhaha heated up.
At the time I actually thought they went overboard in low-keying their viable position on that subject, and on not over-selling Sam Bradford's Heisman campaign. Can you imagine Stoops on college games, pre-post and halftimes of games, on radio shows from Bejing to Birmingham beating his drum and gums long and loud?
He'd be called the biggest whiner since Woody Allen. I've learned guys from Youngstown prefer fight than switch. Win arguments with fists, not lips. He sees other tactics as manipulative, unnecessary and irresponsible sales tactics. He would say what he diplomatically said a month ago. Everyone knew the rules going in. The game was not rigged. The game was not changed. It is what it is.
Think about it. If the shoe was on the other foot and Stoops opted to go full-bore PR instead of the route he chose, the media would not buy it. The same message would not be played over and over and over.
Can you envision Corso on New Year's morning repeating OU's case for the umpteenth time? Of course at this point, the bulls eye has successfully become drawn around the head of Stoops and his Sooners.
Anything shy of a solid win over Florida and an 8th national title will elicit condemnation from the ready-to-pounce Carso types. Pounding the podium, you can hear it now: "I told you those dogs didn't belong!" I've never seen a game where a three-point dog is picked to lose by seemingly everyone outside the state of Oklahoma. The thinking may be right, but it's the unanimity that is confounding.
Of course all this pregame hype plays right into the hands of the coach(es) who've successfully played the Chip on Shoulder card. I can just hear The Visor now.
"Boys. Here we go again. The media says you don't belong...are quitters...are front-runners...will fold in the fourth quarter...can't hang with the mighty SEC defense...have no chance to contain the 'best player in the history of college football.'" Etcetera.
At this moment, I wouldn't bet on OU. But hard to bet against them either. Stoops has his team focused; has a decent QB; and has Lee Corso types playing right into his hands.
If the Sooners pull off what many would have you believe would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports, there will be a lot of Dear Lee thank you notes sent to Bristol.
Hey, like I said he's likeable. Thank you notes from Norman. Honorary doctorate from Texas. .........................
Most devastating potential losses to the Sooners?
1. Bob Stoops to the NFL
2. Sam Bradford to the NFL early
3. Lee Corso not calling OU "folders"
4. Ten-point or more loss to Florida
5. Germaine Gresham to NFL early
6. Gerald McCoy to NFL early
7. Trent Williams to NFL early