Saturday, September 11th 2021, 10:08 pm
Sometimes, you feel a little low. You locked your keys in the car. You have no energy left after finishing up a double shift. Maybe you forgot to call your mom on her birthday, or perhaps just as worse, you forgot to call her on Mother’s Day.
When you’re feeling down, how do you Treat Yo Self? You might indulge in one of your favorite comfort foods or activities.
For the Oklahoma Sooners, they demolished the Western Carolina Catamounts 76-0 in their first-ever meeting Saturday night in Norman. This is how they practiced self-care.
There is a good chance you did not find the game on normal TV due to the hefty $54.99 pay-per-view cost through OU's athletic department.
If you watched the game, then you know what happened. If you didn’t, here’s a too-long, didn’t-read visual that summed everything up rather nicely.
Image Provided By: SoonerSports screencap
First Takeaway: Who Are You? I Really Wanna Know
Indeed, Saturday was the first time Oklahoma and Western Carolina met on a football field. I believe it to be appropriate to educate the Sooner football reading public a bit on who the Catamounts are exactly.
Ironically, Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina did not begin as an institution of higher learning. According to the university’s website, it was first named Cullowhee Academy, a secondary school consisting of one classroom with 18 students inside back in 1889. Two years later, Cullowhee Academy was renamed Cullowhee High School.
The “high school” part might explain some of their play on the football field Saturday night.
In fact, WCU football has long been an afterthought as a college football program. Through 87 seasons and two games into 2021 at various NCAA divisions and conferences, the Catamounts have lost 175 more games than they’ve won. WCU made just two playoff appearances and one bowl appearance during its previous 87 seasons of football.
None of those postseason appearances have happened during this century. It's a truly stunning record and commitment to futility.
Similar to their prior scheduling of original SEC member Tulane, perhaps the SEC-bound Sooners thought scheduling a Southern Conference opponent like Western Carolina – a long-time favorite nonconference opponent of SEC football programs of all kinds – would be lost on me.
They thought wrong. I know all and see all.
Second Takeaway: Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?
One week ago, the outcome of what could have been an epic and disastrous start for Oklahoma was made certain by the Sooners’ sure-footed redshirt junior.
Gabe Brkic knocked home three field goals from at least 50 yards out or more (including a 55-yard kick) against the Green Wave, tying an NCAA record. The Big 12 Conference named Brkic its Special Teams Player of the Week for his trouble.
Brkic was at it again against the Catamounts. This time, he tied a career-best with a 56-yarder on the Sooners’ second scoring drive of the game.
Through two games, Brkic’s four successful kicks of 50 yards or more ties his personal best of four 50+ yard kicks during the entire 2020 season.
While this is an incredible personal accomplishment for Brkic, I don’t want to willfully ignore what could be a future problem for head coach Lincoln Riley and his offense.
Having a super powerful kicker is a great insurance policy, but when you have a super powerful offense that can struggle to finish drives with touchdowns against teams who aren’t even in OU’s league, that should give Riley some level of pause because that Sooner offense better finish drives with six points against actual conference opponents.
Third Takeaway: The Big Whatever
While Oklahoma and Texas remain in a holding pattern between now and their leaving the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 announced the addition of four universities into the league Friday.
The conference will soon welcome Brigham Young, Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati into the league, but the welcome dates on those invitations will likely vary, as well.
The American Athletic Conference -- the current homes to Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati – won’t let schools leave immediately. The conference will only grant departing members permission to leave as long as they give them 27 months notice.
If you’re doing quick math, 27 months from Friday is approximately December 2023, though it may behoove UH, UCF and Cincinnati to start competition neatly with the 2024-2025 athletic season.
What does any of it mean at this point? Pretty much nothing.
One could assume there are some early exits being negotiated for those leaving and earlier entrances being negotiated for those joining the conference. The other potential wrinkle could be any ulterior motives of the remaining eight members who may or may not be fielding phone calls from other leagues and are waiting things out a bit until everyone involved decide the right time to strike.
If Oklahoma and Texas leaving didn’t signal that it’s every-program-for-itself in college athletics, perhaps any of the remaining eight could be working on a deal so they won't get left out in the cold.
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