By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Check the picture of Texas A&M’s fans going crazy over Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman Trophy in the Dec. 10 edition of the Enid News & Eagle.
It’s a reminder of the joy sports bring to us and how it can be a positive release from the stresses of life.
Who wins the Heart of Dallas or Cotton Bowls may not be that important in the world view, but an Oklahoma State or Oklahoma win would certainly brighten up the lives of Oklahomans and Cowboy and Sooner fans.
Of course, a loss would be a downer.
This week, too, is kind of a downer.
It’s the last OU and OSU games of the season. It will be another nine months before we can go to Stillwater or Norman to cheer on the Cowboys and Sooners.
Of course, there’s spring practice (I remember Texas SID Jones Ramsey once saying there’s only two sports in the Lone Star state : football and spring football).
There will be more people at OU’s spring game than a Northern Illinois home game. Maybe OSU’s too, now that the Cowboys are moving up in the football world.
There’s always national signing day in February, where fans can fantasize about how many of those new Sooners and Cowboys will be All-Americans and future No. 1 draft choices.
Of course, a few of those blue chippers may never step on the field, either.
And we can argue about who’s going to be the starting quarterback for the Sooners and Cowboys.
Another downer: New Year’s Day football isn’t what it used to be.
New Year’s Day used to be kind of a playoff day, even though we didn’t have a system where No. 1 played No. 2 for the national championship.
Remember when Notre Dame jumped up from No. 5 to No. 1 after beating No. 1 Texas in the 1978 Cotton Bowl? OU did its part to help the Irish by being upset by Arkansas 31-6 in the Orange Bowl.
The Sooners might have been national champions with a win over the Razorbacks, who had three key players suspended for the game.
But Sooner fans can remember 1975 (actually Jan. 1, 1976) when OU vaulted into the national championship after No. 1 Ohio State was upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
OU quarterback Steve Davis’ pregame prayer was interrupted by fans screaming after learning the Buckeyes had lost.
Or how about 1985 (actually Jan. 1, 1986), when the Sooners beat No. 1 Penn State 25-10 on the running of Enid fullback Lydell Carr? The No. 3 Sooners took the national championship after No. 2-ranked Miami, Fla., was upset by Tennessee.
It’s hard to believe, but until the mid-1960s, the national champion already was determined before the bowls.
That helped and hurt OU.
The Sooners were crowned national champions in 1950 after extending their winning streak to 31 games with a 10-0 record. However, the Sooners lost to Bear Bryant’s Kentucky team 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl.
Three years later, the Sooners knocked off Maryland’s national champions, 7-0. It was a sweet victory for the Sooners, since the Terps were coached by Jim Tatum, who left OU after the 1946 season for Maryland.
Hard to believe, but the AP No. 1 didn’t play No. 2 in a bowl game until the 1963 Rose Bowl, when USC outlasted Wisconsin 42-37.
Remember, Notre Dame had played in only one bowl game until going to the 1971 Cotton Bowl against Texas.
But this week, let’s enjoy college football and remember the joy and fun it gives us.
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.