Fiesta or Cotton Bowl for OU

The Cotton Bowl said today that it intends to extend an invitation to the loser of the Big 12 Championship game between Nebraska and OU on Saturday, so it looks like the Sooners are headed either to Glendale or to Dallas for a January 1 bowl game!

The only other outcome is the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville – the Gator Bowl can pick ahead of the Cotton Bowl once in the next four years if choosing a Big 12 team, and I can’t find any evidence that they’ve definitely decided not to exercise that option. They could take the runner-up in the Big 12 title game – but SoonerSports.com, the arm of the OU Athletic Department, pretty clearly believes the choices for both OU and Nebraska are the Fiesta Bowl or the Cotton Bowl. BOOMER SOONER!

Oklahoma: Big 12 South Champs!

See, that’s why they play the games. :-):

It went down to the last play of the regular season, but with OU going undefeated since Texas, and that team’s spectacular meltdown in its final two games, the Sooners are the undisputed, unshared champs of the Big 12 South division. That sends them to beautiful (it really is lovely) Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Saturday night to play Nebraska for the 2006 Big 12 Championship! BOOMER SOONER!

The Pride members voted to perform the 2006 Movie Show at Stillwater, and the entire troupe came back to Norman on Friday night for a full rehearsal, followed by another rehearsal on Saturday morning at 7 A.M. (happy thanksgiving) and the full-day trip to Payne County. They also spent time working on the “next” show, and now we know that’s coming up Saturday night, not just at the bowl game! Check out the entire day in images via the Pride’s photo album of this 12th and final 2006 regular season game.

For the Big 12 Championship, The Pride will perform the Salute to Queen and the classic Sing, Sing, Sing. The plan had been for a longer show, but the Big 12 has not alloted enough time for a full three-song show.

The bowl options for the Sooners seem to have narrowed: the Fiesta Bowl (almost certainly vs. Boise State) if they win on Saturday, and either the Gator Bowl (probably vs. Clemson) or the Cotton Bowl (probably vs. Auburn) if Nebraska wins. Those three teams are probably going to those three bowl games in some distribution. All are played on January 1, 2007, so carve out some TV time on New Year’s Day if you can’t make it to {Glendale | Jacksonville | Dallas}!

The Huskers clinched the Big 12 North weeks ago and finished 9-3, the same as Texas – in fact, Oklahoma leads the entire Big 12 at 10-2 (or, more accurately, 10-1-Oregon). They’ll play a tough game in a cold environment – the temperature at Arrowhead that day is supposed to be between 38°F and 24°F, probably below freezing at kickoff. The game will be televised nationally in high definition by ABCSports ESPN on ABC at 7 PM CST Saturday night – tune in!

We’re still wondering if someone wants to do basketball and basketball band posting like this for the just started season – contact the Webmaster if you’re interested!

Symphonic winds in concert!

Winds-2006-11-20 Small: Thumbnail for 2006-11-20 concert poster Got the Thanksgiving week blahs? Can’t stand even one more hour of Deal Or No Deal? Want to support the students in The Pride and the rest of the OU School of Music?

Come to the band concert tonight (Monday, November 20) at Catlett Music Center!

This final concert of the fall semester includes both of the band department’s symphonic wind ensembles. The Wind Symphony, directed by Dr. William K. Wakefield and with guest conductors John Pasquale and Eric Eaks, will perform Strauss’ Serenade in E-flat, Opus 7, a brand new transcription (not the old warhorse Carl Fischer one) of the overture to Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, the full Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Weber, and the premiere of a brand new march by OCU composition professor Ray Luke, The Oklahoman, commissioned by and named for the newspaper of the same name. (Don’t laugh – if you were in Wind Ensemble in 1986, you probably remember that Sousa’s famous The Washington Post march was an entry in a contest by that newspaper. It won a prize of something like $5!)

Brian Britt and Jeff Jahnke conduct the Symphony Band in some great 20th-century classics for winds: Norman Dello Joio’s Scenes from “The Louvre”, John Barnes Chance’s Elegy, the overture to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, as well as Sousa’s The Gallant Seventh March. It’s enough top-notch music to carry you right through the holiday sale ads on TV that started six weeks ago.

The concert begins at 8:00 PM in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall at Catlett Music Center, at 500 W. Boyd (the corner of Boyd and Elm) in Norman. Tickets to this Sutton Series concert are $8 for adults, and $5 for students, seniors, and OU faculty and staff. We hope to see you there! Click on the poster image to download your own 11 X 17 PDF poster to print and hand out today, too!

Update: If you absolutely can’t get to Sharp Hall tonight, the concert will be streamed over the Web starting at 7:55 PM. Click here to watch, but make sure you have QuickTime installed. (If you’re using any Mac released since 1991 or any PC that has iTunes, you have QuickTime installed; if not, you can get it for free here.)

OU 36, Baylor 10

[Update (24 Nov): With Texas losing to A&M 12-7 this afternoon, our Sooners control their own destiny for the first time since the Red River Rivalry. If OU defeats OSU Saturday afternoon, OU wins the Big 12 South with a 7-1 conference record, ahead of Texas at 6-2. If Texas wins, Texas and OU are co-champs of hte south division, but Texas gets the Big 12 championship berth because they win the tie-breaker by having won the OU-Texas game.

OSU still has a lot to play for – right now, the Big 12 has nine bowl-eligible teams, but there are only eight Big 12 bowls. Unless the BCS takes a second Big 12 team as an at-large bid, one of the two eligible teams with the worst records will not get a bowl invitation. That’s either Kansas or OSU. Both are 6-5 right now, both play tomorrow, and if one goes 7-4 and one goes 6-5, the latter is the one that won’t get a bowl invitation. OSU can’t guarantee a bowl invitation with a win, but they vastly increase the chances of staying home with a loss. It’s going to be bedlam.]

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Although there’s no taking anyone in the Big 12 for granted this year, the Sooners were expected to defeat the Baylor Bears, and they lived up to those expectations. Saturday’s victory pushes Oklahoma to 9-2 (6-1 in conference play), and a clear second-place in the Big 12 South division.

The Pride took a pep band to Waco to support the Sooners during this penultimate game, and if you saw it on FSN, you saw them several times. I did see the Baylor Band a few times, but since the TV networks tend to show the bands after their teams make big plays, well…

The final game of the season will indeed be bedlam (and not, as FSN’s on-screen graphics spelled it, “bedlem”). The Sooners and the entire Pride of Oklahoma travel to Stillwater next Saturday for the in-state showdown that finishes the season for both teams. The Cowboys lost to Texas Tech on Saturday in Stillwater, 24-30, putting them at 6-5 overall and 3-4 in conference play. While OSU is already bowl-eligible with six wins, so is Kansas, and there may not be enough bowl games for both the Cowboys and the Jayhawks. OSU really needs to finish 7-5 to be certain of a bowl game – and the only way they can accomplish that now is to win the bedlam game.

The Sooners, of course, may be playing for the Big 12 South championship itself – as almost everyone now knows, if Texas A&M beats Texas on Friday, then an OU victory in Stillwater means the Sooners play Nebraska on December 2 for the Big 12 Championship and a Fiesta Bowl berth. Both teams have a lot to win, on top of the already insane OU-OSU rivalry, so hang on to your plumes!

By vote of the members of the Pride of Oklahoma, the band will perform this year’s movie show at halftime, including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Mask of Zorro, and The Chronicles of Narnia (although it might be shorter if there are time restrictions – I have no information on that just yet).

The game will be telecast nationally by FSN, in high-definition where available, at 1:30 PM on November 25. The Texas A&M @ Texas game kicks off at 2:30 PM on the previous day on ABC, so Gig ‘Em Ags!

What’s your favorite OU-OSU memory as a member of the Pride of Oklahoma? Post your response in the comments!

One remarkable Veterans Day

Don’t ever let people tell you that probability means inevitability.

OU was a 7.5-point favorite over Texas Tech for the season’s last home game, so the Sooners probably wouldn’t have much trouble with the Red Raiders, they said. Instead, that scrappy Texas Tech team that literally redefined “moving the goal line” last year in Lubbock led at the end of every quarter – except the fourth quarter. The Sooners came alive in the last half of the fourth quarter to go 8-2 (or 9-1 if Oregon had been corrected).

Paul Thompson, who came to OU to be a quarterback but lost the job to three consecutive Heisman Trophy candidates or nominees, stayed at the school to play wide receiver, even though that probably wasn’t his best option. When OU found itself with no quarterbacks instead of three just one month before the season started, Thompson stepped back in – and led the Sooners to that 8-2 (9-1) mark. That wasn’t supposed to happen – and he got standing ovations before the game as the recipient of this year’s Don Key Award, and when leaving the field after his final home game as a Sooner.

Texas was supposed to beat the stuffing out of Kansas State, but the Wildcats had something to prove at home, and Texas lost QB Colt McCoy while scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. At one point in the third quarter, Texas trailed by a full 21 points, but came back to close the margin to 45-42—and couldn’t close the deal, making that the final score.

Texas was supposed to be in the hunt to play the winner of Ohio State-Michigan for the BCS National Championship. Not only is that out of the picture now, but the Longhorns have to close their season in two weeks by hosting their second-biggest rivals: the Aggies of Texas A&M University, in what has become a must-win game. If the Aggies win the rivalry, as they can do in any given year, and if OU wins its final two games, then the Sooners go to Kansas City on December 2 to play for the Big 12 Championship and an automatic BCS berth.

It was supposed to be too cold and too windy, and our Pride of Oklahoma donned their snazzy uniform parkas just to be safe, but got to march halftime without them. It was supposed to be an unimpressive season after losses at Oregon and Texas, but the Sooners are still in BCS contention if the Aggies can take care of business and the Sooners do the same at Waco and Stillwater (not a given by any means – nothing in the Big 12 can be taken for granted this year!).

And a remarkable eight-year-old boy who was supposed to be too ill to see the OU Drumline that he absolutely loves was there for all of it, from pre-game rehearsal to his own special victory dance after it was all over.

Don’t let them tell you we know everything. The remarkable happens every day if you just look for it.

OU 17, Texas A&M 16

Before any A&M fans complain about bad calls:

  1. Getting the football >< that close to the goal line was a touchdown by the Big 12’s standard for OU @ Texas Tech in November 2005, and I didn’t hear any of you claiming OU got robbed then;

  2. The next A&M touchdown came after 30 yards in OU penalties that were technically correct but uncalled at least 99.9% of the time (including on A&M for the rest of this game); and

  3. You knew exactly what OU was going to do on that 4th down late in the game because our Sooners accidentally ran the play just before the time-out, and not only did you not stop the offense, you let Paul Thompson gain more yards than in the previous play, and you explained what “Home of the 12th Man” really means. Your defense had the best chance it could ask for to win the game and it didn’t. Sorry, but that means you don’t win.

Yes, I feel much better now. Thanks for asking. Photos of The Pride of Oklahoma‘s two-day trip to Houston and College Station are now online, if you want to check out how the tradition continues! Good luck to A&M in the rest of its schedule, too – hosting Nebraska at 2:30 PM on Saturday (on ABC), and at Austin on the day after Thanksgiving to play Texas at 11:30 AM (also on ABC).

Up next for our 7-2 Sooners: the final home game of the 2006 season, hosting Texas Tech this Saturday night at Owen Field. Kickoff is at 6 PM, as previously and almost presciently noted. The 6-4 Red Raiders are now 3-3 in the Big 12, and if the BCS went that far, would probably be ranked about #55 compared to our #17 Sooners.

Texas Tech is already bowl-eligible at 6-4, but with only two games remaining (@OU this weekend, hosting OSU on November 18), BCS expert Jerry Palm is predicting they won’t win both and will be invited to the Insight Bowl in Phoenix on December 29. (Palm currently predicts OU will be invited to the Cotton Bowl on January 1 to face – believe it or not – Auburn.)

As the final home game, it’s also Senior Day for the team and The Pride, as well as Dad’s Parents’ Day for the entire student body. Per tradition, the seniors on the team will be recognized individually before the game, and seniors in The Pride will be recognized en masse at the end of halftime, so be sure you’re there to applaud if you have tickets! The band’s gameday schedule will be available by mid-week if you want to come out and support the ones in uniform, and we hope you will.

The full band travels to Stillwater on November 25th for the OSU game that ends the regular season. Unless OU wins out and Texas loses both of its next two games (@ KSU, hosting A&M), the Sooners can’t play for the conference championship on December 2 in Kansas City. (It would be the first Big 12 championship game of the Stoops era at Arrowhead Stadium that didn’t include the Sooners, so who knows? That’s why they play the games.) If there is no conference championship in the cards this year, the OSU game will be followed only by the bowl game that invites the Sooners. If OU wins out, the Cotton Bowl seems likely; if not, the Holiday or Alamo Bowls are both eager to invite the Sooners.

If anyone’s interested in keeping up a column like this for OU basketball (men’s or women’s, tracking either or both basketball bands), let me know – we could use more year-round band talk on here! Boomer Sooner!