Road Warrior: So far so good for Sooners

Road Warrior takes a look at the Big 12, OU's win over Houston and next week's matchup with Oregon.

After two weeks of college football, there are two things of which I am sure. First, the Sooners have looked, so far, better than any team in the country. Second, it's a good thing that the BCS removed the strength of schedule component from the ratings equation, because the Sooners' SOS would suffer greatly when they started playing Big XII teams.

Texas A&M started the embarrassment a week ago last Thursday when they were dominated by Utah on the road. Embarrassing, but hey, they're Aggies. What are they gonna do? After what we did to them last year, they're lucky to still be playing at all. So that one you could kind of shrug off.

But then came last Thursday night, and Missouri's trip to Troy University (formerly Troy State) in Alabama. Now, the first question about that one was why in the name of Dan Devine the Tigers would play a road game at Troy. I don't care about them being on TV. Even Missouri shouldn't stoop to something like that just to be on ESPN. Heck, the Sooners will only stoop as low as to go to Tulsa for an ESPN game, and that doesn't really count, because that's a virtual home game for us anyway. So the Tigers had everything to lose and nothing to gain. The Trojans were fired up for the biggest home game in school history, and after Mizzou jumped out 14-0 in the first quarter, they got dominated the rest of the way and lost to a Sun Belt Conference team. Ugh. Brad Smith for Heisman? Not.

Then KSU and Nebraska kicked off early on Saturday morning and promptly lowered the conference's stature even more. Quite frankly, I was rooting against both of them, although for different reasons. KSU just because I hate them, and Nebraska because I want them to suffer. I like the Nebraska people, no doubt about it, and it's against my nature to root against them. However, I remember the almost arrogant air about them when we were in our dark days, like the same thing couldn't happen to them. I remember 73-21 and 69-7. And yes, I want them to suffer as we suffered. Yeah, Bill Callahan took a team to the Super Bowl. He got waxed once he got there, though. The NU AD groveled at the feet of Houston Nutt before settling for Callahan, so you can see where he was in the pecking order. Good luck beating anyone with five turnovers and a QB who can't pass in the West Coast offense. Can't wait to see you in Norman later in the season.

And then there were the purple kitties. Heh. Driven by Pat Hill's Fresno State Bulldogs, and in Manhattan, to boot. The final was 45-21, and the game really wasn't as close as the score indicated. Do you think the Sooners will be as forgiving in Manhattan as the Bulldogs were? I doubt it. Darren Sproles for Heisman? Not. They might as well shut his website down right now.

On a side note, I think Fresno may be one of my favorite teams to watch, just because I love the attitude that Hill creates in his squad. When they came to Norman last year, we got way out ahead, but they never quit, and put some points on the board in the second half to make it look more respectable. Those guys will play anyone, anywhere, and they expect to win. Nice to see them doing well, especially when it also includes embarrassing K-State.

So the supposed upper tier of the North Division have, in week two, three losses under their belts, two of them at home, one of them a blowout, to teams from the WAC, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt Conference. Way to make the rest of us proud, guys.

But enough about everyone else – let's go to the Sooners and Houston. A memo to the aforementioned Huskers – take a look at the tape of the OU-Houston game for some pointers on what should happen when a team from Conference USA comes calling. The TD the Cougars scored on the opening drive of the game seemed only to make the Sooners angry. OU would drop 63 before UH found the scoreboard again, and it could have been as much as they wanted, really.

The Sooner defense still has some work to do to get where they need to be, but they were definitely better than last week. The Sooner offense, well, I'm not sure how much better they can get. This was a bit of a weird rout, in that we dropped 63 on them, and all the points were scored by the offense, save Antonio Perkins' punt return. No cheap TDs off turnovers or anything like that. On top of that, Jason White only played one series in the second half, and Tommy Grady was 8-9 in his first college action after that. Adrian Peterson spelled Kejuan Jones for the entire second half and rolled up over 100 yards again. All in all, a very satisfying performance.

There were some ceremonies and such related to the 9/11 anniversary, all done with class. Before the game, there was a flyby of four T-38 jets at the end of the national anthem, and that's always cool. What wasn't cool was the fireworks that went off from the top of the north scoreboard just as the flight passed over. It looked like we were trying to shoot them down or something. However, I didn't see any of the planes take evasive action, so . . .

At the half, the Houston band took the field with the Pride for a moving joint medley of Taps, Amazing Grace, and America the Beautiful in honor of the 9/11 victims and military personnel killed since then. The performance closed out with a short but intense low-altitude fireworks display fired from the practice field west of the south end zone stands. Very nice.

And in tailgate news, I arrived for tailgate setup at 8:30 a.m. for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff. Why? Well, my dad bought this huge roasting box and decided to break it in by cooking a whole pig for this week's tailgate. That meant we had to have the pig cooking by 10:00 a.m. to eat by 2:30 or so. The pig was good stuff. Highly recommended. And believe it or not, the University had parking attendants out manning the lots when I showed up. That's gotta suck, sitting out there nine and a half hours before kickoff taking money for parking.

Next week, it's the Oregon Ducks, who stunk up their home field with a 30-23 loss to lowly Indiana on Saturday. The Quack Attack was downright offensive, with seven (yes, seven) turnovers against the Hoosiers. I watched a little of the replay of this game, and other than the stunningly poor play of the Ducks, I was struck by how thoroughly Indiana had copied our uniforms. I mean, I knew they had knocked them off, but other than "Hoosiers" instead of "Sooners" on the chest and the interlocking "IU" on the helmet instead of the interlocking "OU", they were identical. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess.

See you at the Duck Roast on Saturday.

The Road Warrior is your typical OU fan in the stands, with one notable exception. He's been in the stands for every Sooner football game, home and away, for 156 consecutive games, dating back to October 12, 1991. His views appear in each issue of Sooners Illustrated.

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