Let’s keep this intro short and sweet for a change, I really don’t think there’s much more to be said. For this week’s Q&A, Jake Shields of the Crimson & Cream Machine was kind enough to answer a few our questions. Thanks so much your time, Jake - and away we go:
I bet we’re both wondering the same thing so let’s start with the easy one - how are Oklahoma fans feeling about renewing this rivalry?
It’s been an odd game week, to be sure. The dialogue surrounding the actual game has been sparse, as most people have spent their time reminiscing about past moments in this series. In spite of the loss, people in this state still remember the Game of the Century fondly and wear it as a badge of honor. There’s been a lot of reflection on how impactful this rivalry was in the college football landscape during the 70s and 80s. All of this has been giving people the warm fuzzies, and now that a football game is about to take place, people seem to be genuinely excited.
Any chance we can all just forget that maybe/maybe not someone on our side (who knows for sure who, I don’t) tried to weasel us out of this game for an easy win/home payday? (As far our side’s concerned…well, we want this game and are red-faced over the whole thing (chug shot, swallow))
Oh, don’t worry — the blame for that revolves solely around one person, and no one sees that as a reflection of Nebraska or its fan base. Honestly, I was pretty surprised when that all came out, but so much has happened on our end of things (I guess we’re officially Southerners now?) since then, and it’s old news in these parts.
We seem to be on the same script so far - underperform in Game 1 and then take care of business against outmatched opponents the week(s) after that. So who is the real Oklahoma - the one that gave up 35 to Tulane or the one who waxed Western Carolina? (Fun fact - Western Carolina is where my dad got his masters degree)
It’s kind of difficult to not call the Week 1 Oklahoma the “real” Oklahoma, because that Oklahoma has popped up a few too many times in recent years. I don’t know what it is specifically, but Lincoln Riley’s teams simply don’t know how to hang onto a lead. Is this team better than what it showed in Week 1? Absolutely. Is it capable of allowing this game to become interesting in the late stages? Also absolutely.
We here all know Spencer Rattler - 1) What would you put his chances at to add another Heisman to the recent OU QB pile and 2) who are the skill players who will give him the best chance to make that happen?
If OU runs the table, it might be his by default since all of the other “preseason contenders” seem to have taken themselves out of it. I’m sure someone else will emerge, but I still think this feels like his to lose.
However, his team will need to succeed in order for this to happen, and the key might be the emergence of guys like Jadon Haselwood and Mario Williams on the outside. Both are former five-star recruits. One (Haselwood) is a big target who can create mismatches in the red zone. The other (Williams) is an open-field magician who appears destined for stardom. If both become what people envision, Rattler will have arguably the best receiver group in the country at his disposal.
What are Sooner fans reactions to Oklahoma’s move to the SEC and likely the brutal SEC West? (Asking for a friend whose alma mater left their conference of decades for one with much longer travel distances where they never quite seem to fit in)
I think people are generally excited, but people are going to need to temper their expectations. People claim to be doing this, but let’s see what happens the first time OU finishes fifth or sixth in the SEC under a pod system (HINT: It will probably be Meltdown City, USA).
Without having to play ‘Bama every year, OU should be able to make some trips to Atlanta. I think the pod (if that ends up being the case) sets up nicely. OU should be better than Arkansas and Missouri year in and year out, and Texas isn’t exactly a model of consistency or stability.
Then there’s the recruiting bump, which should be nice. A&M has basically been using the SEC as its selling point against Texas and OU for 9 years, and with that advantage going away, recruiting efforts in that state should improve for OU (and Texas).
My last trip to Norman was the Josh Heupel/Eric Crouch matchup where OU dominated the 3rd quarter on their way to a victory followed by fans from outside being let in to storm the field and pepper spray flying in the ensuing celebration. Not the greatest day but definitely memorable. Is there a Huskers/Sooners game that sticks out in your mind?
Oh, that’s the one. I’ll never forget it. I was born in 1989 and had experienced virtually nothing but bad football up until the hiring of Bob Stoops. My dad explained that I had “never been to a wild football game before”, and boy oh boy did it live up to the billing on that front (and with an 11 a.m. kickoff, no less!).
I was wearing a #20 Rocky Calmus jersey that day. My dad and I were walking by a house with several exceedingly intoxicated students standing on the roof. One of them excitedly yells “Hey’ it’s Rocky Calmus!” I responded by flexing my “muscles”, and the reaction I received was at a level that cannot be described by words. I think they were floating mid-air at one point. Nebraska was doomed from that point on.
Prediction time - do the Huskers pull the upset in a close game or shock the world with a multi-touchdown beatd-
(Hahahahahahaha - sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face)
But seriously - what’s your pick for a final score?
Nebraska definitely covers. I’ll go with 38-20 in favor of the Sooners.
I’ll leave by saying that I’ve never been to Lincoln, and can’t wait to make the trip next fall. I’ll be needing plenty of food and drink recs from you and your readers!