It was a little less than nine months ago when Oklahoma, as a football team and university, was at one of its lowest points in recent memory.
A racial chant went viral from a former OU fraternity that could have divided the university. OU lost its top-ranked recruit for the 2016 class because of the video. The football program was coming off an underwhelming 8-5 season.
So much can change so fast. Norman, OU, and the Sooners are once again the spot to be right now. The university, sparked by its leadership, took swift and decisive action to respond to the chant. OU just completed an 11-1 season and earned two commitments Saturday.
A major disappointment one year has led to a major surprise this one, and OU not just being relevant on the national stage but making a little noise, too.
“Feels pretty good. I mean, the work we put in week-to-week, now it’s finally accomplished,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “That was our first goal, the Big 12 championship, and we’re in a pretty good spot right now.”
OU punctuated its turnaround season with a dominating 58-23 win at No. 11 Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam showdown. The Sooners were ranked No. 3 entering the weekend, and it would take something incredibly drastic for OU to miss out on the four-team playoff.
OU won the Big 12 championship on the road Saturday night and then celebrated with its fans Sunday afternoon at halftime of the OU men’s basketball game.
With the Big 12 championship in hand, the Sooners and head coach Bob Stoops thanked the fans for their support. The basketball team, for what it’s worth, did as the football team dominated Wisconsin in a crucial non-conference victory.
There are going to be a lot of good vibes all over Norman the next couple of weeks, and who could blame the team or the student body? And who could blame anybody wanting to be a part of that?
It started hours before Bedlam with Durham (N.C.) Hillside three-star running back Abdul Adams announcing his commitment to the Sooners.
A one-time East Carolina and Michigan State commit, Adams should mark the beginning of a furious close for the Sooners on the recruiting trail. He visited last week and had a great time and saw what he needed to see.
Joining him is the future in 2018 Moore (Okla.) Southmoore offensive tackle Brey Walker. A major OU target for several months, Walker certainly has his pick of schools. In the end, though, it was hard to see OU not locking this one up.
A frequent visitor to OU throughout the spring, summer and the season, the Bedlam win was enough of a catalyst to make his commitment official.
He’s the first commitment for the 2018 class, and he’s a big one. A four-star prospect from a school that is full of top-level talent.
The weekend was a 48-hour long celebration for Oklahoma. Between the commitments, Bedlam, the basketball game, it was a showcase of what’s happening right now.
With OU being ranked No. 3 in football and No. 7 in basketball (at the moment), only Michigan State can boast having a top-10 team in both sports. Sooners aren’t likely to drop from that perch in either sport anytime soon.
OU football is now going to play the waiting game. It’s championship week this time around, but the Sooners already have theirs. They’ve already earned Big 12 title No. 9 under Stoops.
They’ve earned the shot in the playoff, and the only question left is will it be Miami and the Orange Bowl or Arlington, Texas, and the Cotton Bowl? A lot of talent on this team, and the best could be yet to come.
“There’s a lot of good players on this team that maybe are yet to be drafted, and we’re still a young team,” Stoops said. “We don’t have really that many seniors. Again, I think we’ve got more to come.”
Get a glimpse of the more to come Dec. 31 in the playoff game where Norman and OU will once again be out in full force.