ROAD WARRIOR: Stoops stays perfect in September

An fans' perspective on the Sooners' 31-7 win over Oregon.

OK, OK, so maybe I was thinking in stereotypes. You see, I knew there would be a ton of Oregon fans at the game on Saturday, and I had this vision of hordes of tree-hugging granola hippie-types cruising in driving their earth-tone Toyota Prius gas/electric hybrid cars or their 1968 VW Microbuses, with surfboard racks on the roof, bike racks on the back, bumpers covered with stickers for PETA, Ralph Nader, Greenpeace, and NORML, with billows of aromatic herb smoke wafting out the windows. Never mind that it's somewhere around a 2,050-mile drive from Eugene to Norman, and that most of the Oregon fans would logically have flown. This is what I was thinking.

Well, while stereotypes exist because they're largely true, apparently the Duck fans left their hippie duds back in the Pacific Northwest, because they were mostly dressed in their team colors like any other group of visiting fans. I first encountered them walking down the sidewalk across Jenkins from the stadium on Friday afternoon. My first reaction was "AAAAAAAGH!! MY EYES, MY EYES!" as my retinas were seared into oblivion by the atrocious neon yellow jersey one of these guys was wearing. Fortunately, due to the heat, the Oregon team didn't wear their nuclear yellow uniforms during the game, else there would likely have been a class-action lawsuit for the ophthalmologist bills for all 84,000 people in the stadium. Even without that, a substantial number of the Duck fans were decked out (or as one t-shirt said, "All DUCKed out") in that neon yellow color.

I didn't see any Microbuses, but I did see a gold PT Cruiser with Oregon plates and a big green "O" on the back parked on Campus Corner. I also saw somebody cruising down Jenkins with Oregon plates, but an OU plate frame. The guy driving the boat around town wasn't to be seen, though.

The Oregon people were unfailingly polite and generally seemed to be good sorts. A number of them had yellow duck calls around their necks that they would blow at various times. Not really very intimidating. More amusing than anything. Not quite like 500 people yelling "Tiger bait" in your face over and over again.

Which reminds me that LSU lost Saturday. Heh. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of folks. Live by the missed extra point, die by the missed extra point, I guess.

Back to the Oregon fans. We had a couple at our tailgate, and I saw a number of them that had been invited to partake of Sooner foodstuffs all around the stadium. I heard one Oregon guy in the bathroom commenting on the heat, saying "We're used to 60 and raining." I bet. I wouldn't have minded 60 and raining after the first quarter, myself. A few clouds and a decent breeze from time to time made it better than I expected it to be, but it was still steamy hot. Not UTEP hot (105 in the shade), but hot enough. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we're having the middle of the summer in the middle of September, since we had October in August and all.

I'm really liking the new equipment for the TV timeout guy. They used to call those guys redhats because, well, they wore red hats so the refs could see them better. For a long time, however, they have been dressed pretty much like a regular ref, except for the headset connecting them to the TV truck. This season, however, the TV timeout guy (at least on Saturday) wears a giant orange oven mitt that goes halfway up his arm. Not coincidentally, this is the same arm he waves to signal play to resume, etc. Giant orange oven mitt. Heh.

Although the game was on ABC, interestingly enough, Oregon had their own separate broadcast going on. I caught it on tape delay late Saturday night on the dish. It was quite strange – they definitely had their own separate cameras, announcers, and everything. They were the same guys that called the Oregon-Indiana game last week, which I also caught on tape delay on the dish. Maybe that's what they do instead of playback shows.

The big news before the game was the dismissal of Dusty Dvoracek from the team. I was as upset as anyone about his situation, but I was upset at him for putting himself in the position that got him tossed. He let down his teammates and the fans by his actions, not to mention the pain caused to the several people (in several incidents) that he allegedly physically injured. I can only hope that the victim of the latest incident makes a full recovery and that Dusty gets whatever help he needs to solve whatever problems he has that led to this sad situation.

So now the non-conference slate is behind us, and once again, the Sooners have gone undefeated in September. In fact, Bob Stoops has never lost a game in September. Now all that remains is the conference schedule, kicking off in two weeks with Texas Tech. Kind of nice not to be playing these guys the last game of the season again, like we seem to so often do.

See you in Norman after the off week. Maybe we eventually find out when they're actually going to play the Tech game. Personally, I think it has 6:00 on TBS written all over it. Tech can't stop anybody, and they still throw the ball all over the place. Should be entertaining for TV. Of course, the Sooners have owned Tech for years, and it doesn't figure to change this year. When Tech puts up 70 on TCU and only wins by 35, they are in SERIOUS trouble in Norman.

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 157 consecutive games, dating back to October 12, 1991. His views appear in each issue of Sooners Illustrated.

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