IT’S TEXAS WEEK!!! (updated)

Hmm. Well. OK, that didn’t go the way we wanted. That was painful. And depressing. And it made me want Prozac.

And it was yesterday. It’s old news. No time to wallow—it’s Texas week!

The Sooners are now #9 in the Harris (BCS) poll and #10 in the USA Today (Coaches) poll, behind only Florida in one-loss teams in both surveys. Texas is now #17 in the Harris poll and #16 in the Coaches poll. Both teams lost to a Big 12 North opponent yesterday, but both teams are expected to win most of the rest of their conference games.

That means the Red River Rivalry puts the winner in the driver’s seat for the Big XII South and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl—and, if there are no undefeated teams in December, in contention for the national championship. The loser is probably looking at a post-season list that would be lucky to top out with the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, but probably starts with the Gator or Alamo Bowl.

(For those who don’t know: After the BCS chooses its representatives, including no more than two Big 12 teams, the bowls pick in the following order and are not required to respect conference finishing order: Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Gator Bowl*, Alamo Bowl, Sun Bowl*, Insight Bowl, Independence Bowl, Texas Bowl.

The Gator Bowl and Sun Bowl split their spots with the Big East conference. Jerry Palm explains this at his CollegeBCS.com site, well worth the annual $15 fee if you’re hooked on college football (go sign up now!):

Beginning with 2006, the Gator and Sun Bowls are sharing a spot with the Big 12 and Big East. Each year, the Gator will choose first between the Big East #2 or the Big 12 #4. If the Gator picks a Big East team or ND [Notre Dame], the Sun will get the #5 choice in the Big 12. If the Gator takes a Big 12 team, the Sun gets the Big East #2. The Gator also has a one time option over the next four years to choose second from the Big 12 instead of fourth. The Gator is required to split the four years evenly between the Big 12 and the Big East/ND. In 2006, the Gator took a Big East team (WV).

This increases the chances that the Gator Bowl will pick a Big 12 team this year, and if they don’t, they must do so in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.)

So, despite talk about the “luster” coming off the game, it’s a very important conference match indeed. Plus, it’s Texas, as if it needed to be any more important than that. Texas has won the last two games in the series and one national championship, following a five-game OU domination streak that included one national championship and two more attempts. Both teams have something to prove, and a national high-def TV audience watching them attempt to prove it. It’s time to look forward.

Texas Weekend begins Friday, as usual, with The Pride‘s trip to Dallas, starting with a public rehearsal Friday morning at Pauls Valley High School. The Pride performs Friday night at the Lewsville vs. Carrollton Newman Smith football game at Standridge Stadium, plus usual appearances at the OU Club of Dallas’s “Beat Texas” dance. All of the public performances are now listed on our Events calendar, complete with addresses and links to Google Maps where available. (Note that some events are private, invitation-only, sold out, or all of the above.)

If you’re in Dallas or going there for the game, come see the Pride in other places if you can and support our kids. And start practicing those rah-rahs, because Homecoming 2007 is less than two weeks away, with a schedule coming very soon. BOOMER SOONER!

In which we answer your questions

When people visit our little site from a search engine like Yahoo or Google, their question is usually provided when they click the link from the search engine. Unsurprisingly, we get a lot of people searching for common terms like “Sooners” and “OU Homecoming” and “Oklahoma Band,” but some of the questions are topical, and we thought we’d take a minute and try to answer a few of them.

How many people are in the OU Band?

I believe that the 2007 Pride of Oklahoma has 310 members, let’s say ±2%. This has been a typical size for the band in the past several years. Every member auditions every year (even section leaders, who audition in the spring semester as part of the leadership determination process).

Where does the OU band sit at the Texas game?

I actually did not know this, because you probably saw all the news stories saying that, “starting in 2007,” OU and Texas would alternate end zones each year. But we asked, and after all of the press and confusion, this year the answer is—no change whatsoever. The Pride will sit in bleachers on the stadium surface in the corner of the “South” end zone at the Cotton Bowl, just to your right as you come out of the tunnel. The Show Band of the Southwest occupies similar seats on the same sideline but behind the other (“north”) end zone. In other words, it’s just like it has been for the past several years. (The seats in the Cotton Bowl stadium were removed this year and replaced with benches, but the bands don’t occupy any of them.)

What are the lyrics to O.K. Oklahoma?

The full lyrics to O.K. Oklahoma are found on this page, where you’ll also find the story of the song, and a recording of its first-even performance on the NBC Red Radio Network from December 1, 1939.

Where can I find the trumpet part to Boomer Sooner?

Members of OUBAA can find parts to Boomer on this page. We have parts to some of the spirit tunes available here to assist Alumni Band members who want to practice before homecoming. However, these arrangements belong to the University of Oklahoma, and they’re not licensed for other uses or performances. If your group is interested in recordings or sheet music of OU-specific spirit songs, contact the OU Band Department for details on what is available.

Where is The Pride performing in Dallas this year?

The full Texas trip schedule has not been announced, but we’re told that The Pride will rehearse Friday morning in Pauls Valley, and perform Friday Night at a high school football game in Carrolton, among other pep and OU alumni events. The best way to keep track of public Pride performances (at least, the ones we track) is to check out our Events calendar. You can subscribe to it in iCal (Mac OS X) or Windows (Vista) Calendar and get all the latest updates automatically. Instructions are on the page. We’ll update it with details of Texas performances as they’re made available.

I don’t like the ads.

That’s not a question. Either way, the answer is to log in, or join the site by registering (it’s free). Logged-in members do not see the ads, and can also comment, access the sheet music, and generally get more free things. Consider it a nudge.

Thanks for visiting the site, and keep your eye on the Homecoming 2007 News.

Away game #1: Sooners at Tulsa!

Last Saturday, in what we can only hope presages any contest between the Sooners and teams informally known as “Aggies,” OU defeated Utah State 54-3 in a bright afternoon game, with weather much more amenable to football than the dilapidated hurricane that blew through the previous week. The Sooners, now 3-0 (0-0 in conference play) are ranked #4 in both the AP and USA Today polls. The BCS computer rankings don’t treat OU as nicely, but many of them start at a “zero” point and level out only after six or seven games. That’s why official BCS rankings don’t start until October 14th, the day after Homecoming 2007.

Up next for the Sooners: the season’s first road trip, and it’s just up the Turner Turnpike! OU plays the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane tomorrow night (yes, Friday night) at “Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium,” with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 PM CDT. The game will be broadcast nationally in HDTV on ESPN2. For Cox Cable customers in OKC, regular (standard definition) ESPN2 is on channel 28, and ESPN2 HD for digital customers is on channel 721. For DISH Network subscribers, standard ESPN2 is channel 144, and ESPN2 HD is channel 9425. DIRECTV customers can find ESPN2 standard on channel 209, and ESPN2 HD on channel 73.

The Pride of Oklahoma is travelling to the game—yup, the entire band—but it’s a standard “away” game, so the Pride will perform only in the stands and during halftime (sorry, Tulsa-area fans and alums, no on-field pregame this year). Our Events calendar has details of a quick rehearsal in Norman on Friday morning and the times when The Pride will enter Chapman Stadium for those who want to turn out and support our members in red and white. The game is sold out, and Chapman Stadium has a capacity of just 35,542 seats (they actually reduced it in the 1990s by tearing down the North End Zone bleachers to build a new training complex), so ESPN2 may provide the best seats. The Pride will perform both drill and concert tunes at halftime.

Oh, and one week from tonight, the fall semester concert ensembles will perform at Catlett Music Center. We’ll have more on that for you this weekend, after the game. Boomer Sooner!

Gameday #3: Sooners vs. Utah State! (updated)

If you were in The Pride in 1973 or 1975, you may have previously experienced the joy of seeing the Sooners beat the Miami Hurricanes. For those of us who marched in the mid-1980s and saw three consecutive losses to the Hurricanes (one that ended Troy Aikman’s OU career, one that kept the Sooners from playing for the national championship, and one that was playing for the national championship), yesterday’s 51-13 victory felt really good. Even Jerry Palm, a Purdue band alum and propietor of the impressive CollegeBCS.com site, named OU QB Sam Bradford as “player of the week.”

As previously announced, The Pride followed the dedication of Jason White’s statue in Heisman Park with an Oklahoma Centennial halftime show featuring a fanfare from the centennial anthem Oklahoma Rising and a medley of tunes from the musical Oklahoma!. “The Rocketman” flew over the band as it exited the field to Boomer Sooner, and HOLY COW WAS THAT DISTRESSINGLY LOUD. We’d have warned you if we’d known.

Rain in the first quarter gave way to temperatures in the high 80s with intense sunlight, 2000% humidity, and no breeze. It took a heavy toll on our Pride members, who had not been been able to practice in such conditions, so we wish them all a restful weekend. Photos will be available here within a few days.

Up next for the Sooners: hosting the 0-2 Utah State Aggies at Gaylord Family/Oklahoma Memorial Stadium this Saturday, September 15, with kickoff at 2:30 PM. It’s Pride Parents’ Day 2007, and if you’re a parent who bought tickets, you’ll see it live. For everyone else, the game is available only via Fox Sports Net pay-per-view at a price of $29.95, although Fox Sports Southwest intends to rebroadcast the game on Monday, September 17, at 11AM CDT. Other Fox Sports regional networks may show it as well at varying times; check your local listings for details.

We’ve updated our Events calendar with times for Saturday’s festivities, and so far the weather is looking pretty good, with moderate temperatures and a 10% chance of showers. The Pride‘s show includes an alumni band favorite and other tunes to the East (student) side, too.

Check the Events calendar for the latest details, but note that Homecoming 2007 is only five games away!

Gameday #2: Sooners vs. Miami Hurricanes!

Saturday’s home debut was great for both the Sooners and the 2007 Pride of Oklahoma. In addition to a record-setting Sooner victory, halftime featured a tribute to Billy Sims and two fine marching bands.

Our musical visitors were the University of North Texas Green Brigade Marching Band, who presented energetic drill to a marching arrangement of Eric Whitacre’s Noisy Wheels of Joy, and the North Texas Dancers performing to what I believe was Nine Inch Nails’ The Hand that Feeds.

Then came The Pride‘s show, “Random Acts of Rock,” featured Dr. Roland Barrett’s arrangements of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction with new drill, and Chuck Berry’s Roll Over, Beethoven in concert with feature twirler Meredith Sigler. The Pride looked and sounded great!

Now onto the national stage as the Miami Hurricanes blow into town for the national game, in HDTV, on ABC Sports ESPN on ABC, Saturday morning at 11:00 AM CDT. It is the national game—no regional coverage, so it should be on every ABC affiliate in the continental United States.

Most of you know what an 11:00 AM CDT kickoff means for the Pride:

Marching in the dark!

With rehearsal at 6:00 AM on campus and the dedication of the fourth and final statue in Heisman Park (for Jason White) at 9:00 AM, it’s a busy busy morning. As of last week’s polls, the ‘Canes were ranked 31st in the writers’ poll and 28th in the coaches’ poll, but they’ll move up this week after their easy victory over Marshall, just as the 8th-ranked Sooners will move up after defeating North Texas (and especially after 4th-ranked Michigan had its unfortunate incident).

The Pride‘s show is part of the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration, with tunes that should bring smiles to the faces of spectators and band alumni alike. We’ve already updated the Events calendar with Saturday morning’s schedule, and feel free to use the discussion link to ask questions or talk about the season (but you have to log in first!). Boomer Sooner!