The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 26, 2013

Being No. 2 could be good for Sooners

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Fact and opinion while remembering what would have been my late father’s 101st birthday.

• Oklahoma being picked to finish second in a media poll behind archrival Oklahoma State should actually be good news for the Sooners.

OU, under coach Bob Stoops, has tended to play better when it has a chip on its shoulder. Remember, the Sooners were ranked No. 18 in the 2000 AP preseason poll, but wound up national champions.

OU still is capable of beating anyone on its schedule. Of course, the Sooners could be just as capable of going 8-4 or even 7-5.

• It will be interesting to see if OSU can handle the pressure of being the Big 12 favorite.

My guess is that they will — (1) they have won a championship before (2011), (2)  they return two quarterbacks (Enid’s Clint Chelf and J.B. Walsh) with starting experience and have two of the Big 12’s top defenders (tackle Calvin Barnett and Shaun Lewis).

The Cowboys arguably were in position to have won all four games they lost in the Big 12 a year ago.

But this year in the Big 12 almost anyone can beat anyone else.

• Request of Stoops and OSU coach Mike Gundy: End the suspense on your upcoming Media Days and announce your starting quarterbacks.

It’s a safe bet Chelf will be under center when the Cowboys open against Mississippi State Aug. 31, no matter if Gundy is saying he and Walsh will be getting equal reps. He’s earned the job.

It might be an even safer bet to say Blake Bell will be operating the Sooner offense when OU hosts Louisiana-Monroe the same day. Bell is the only quarterback with any playing experience and has come through in pressure situations (just watch the replay of his second effort touchdown against OSU which allowed the game to go into overtime).

It’s probably even a safer bet Stoops or Gundy will not name a starter next week.

• Hope covering games at the Enid Event Center is as enjoyable in the winter as it was Sunday at the Mid-America Youth Basketball Association tournament.

The EHS players will have to adjust to playing on a portable floor which can make for some depth perception problems (a la Chisholm Trail Expo Center Coliseum) with the location of the goals. With seven home games and some practices, that could give EHS a true home court advantage.

It will be a lot different from Mark Price Arena (a.k.a. Convention Hall) with the stands being on the floor instead of balcony seating. A packed house at Mark Price could be deafening. Retired Edmond Memorial coach Mike delaGarza said, after losing to Price’s Plainsmen in a 1982 regional finale before a packed house, the building was worth 10 points for Big Blue.

The Event Center seats more. How loud it will get probably will depend on the success of the EHS girls and boys. Mark Price was pretty quiet during the lean years of Big Blue basketball.

• Enjoyed the series on the history of OU football, which was replayed recently by FOX Sports Oklahoma.

It was a little emotional hearing the late Darrell Royal saying his hero was Indian Jack Jacobs, who starred for the Sooners in the late 1930s.

Growing up, my dad was always saying how good Jack Jacobs was as a runner, passer and a quarterback and how he could have been a star in the current era (the 1960s).

Thank you Mr. Royal and FOX Sports for bringing back some good memories. The best times I had with my dad were either watching or listening to OU football.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.ꆱ