2007 Big 12 South champions!

Forget what you read from sportswriters: the Sooners had clinched the Big 12 South division title Friday afternoon with Texas’s loss to Texas A&M, a victory that was not enough to save Dennis Franchione’s job.

The rules for breaking a Big 12 divisional tie are ambiguous at best (leave it to the Big 12 to write confusing rules intended to clarify a situation), but presuming the first tie-breaking step, “The records of the three teams will be compared against each other,” means that they’ll compare the overall records of all tied teams, that would have immediately dropped OSU from consideration (had the Aggies Cowboys won yesterday, they would still have been 7-5, while both OU and Texas would be 9-3). By rule, that drops OSU from consideration, leaving a two-way tie between OU and Texas, which OU would win because OU won the Red River Rivalry in October.

If the rule really means that they’d compare the three teams’ records in playing each other, that would remain a tie (OU beat Texas, Texas beat OSU, and OSU would have theoretically beat OU or we wouldn’t be doing this exercise). It would then stay tied through the fourth tie-breaking rule, “The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of finish – 4, 5 and 6.” The fourth-place Big 12 South team (had OSU won yesterday) would have been Texas Tech. Texas and OSU both beat Texas Tech, but OU did not. By the same rule cited above, OU would then fall out of consideration, and Texas would win the tie-breaker with OSU. It would not have gotten as far as BCS rankings, the fifth tie-breaker, and no one who reads the tie-breaking procedure can possibly think it would have.

Fortunately, it didn’t matter: the Sooners defeated the Cowboys 49-17, returning to the form that had previously kept them in BCS National Championship consideration. The Pride was hot on a cold day as well, providing the home debut of the new bright red uniform coats as seen in the Macy’s Parade, and ending halftime by sharing the field with the Cowboy Marching Band in a Centennial-inspired rendition of Dr. Roland Barrett’s arrangement of the state song from 1989 (for OU’s centennial), You’re Doin’ Fine. (The OSU band also, wittingly or not, paid a little tribute to The Pride by opening with Roland’s 2000 arrangement of Luck Be A Lady, written and performed during Coach’s final season.)

NBC really did love feature twirler Meredith Sigler—we learned this weekend that the network’s TV coverage people moved her to the position in front of the drumline, which was not the position in which she practiced, so they could feature her more prominently. There’s really no question why, either: during the concert feature of Mambo from West Side Story, Meredith wowed the crowd from the north end zone by flawlessly twirling three batons that were each on fire at both ends. FSN may yet regret not showing halftime performances. :-): Meredith repeated the feat during the post-game concert. It’s easy to see why she’s going for her third world twirling championship in 2008—good luck, Meredith!

The Sooners now travel to San Antonio for next week’s Big 12 Championship, kicking off at 7:10 PM from the Alamo Dome on ABC-TV in high definition. This will likely be the toughest game the Sooners have faced in years: their opponent, the Big 12 North champion Missouri Tigers, already played OU hard this year in Norman and came up short. Many of you will remember this, since it was Homecoming 2007.

OU is Missouri’s only loss this year, and with the victory over previously undefeated Kansas and LSU’s second loss on Friday, Missouri will be at least #2 in this week’s BCS rankings, and may be #1 (West Virginia will hold the slot that Missouri does not). Plus, for better or worse, the Sooners have not done well on the road this season.

If OU wins the Big 12 championship, the Sooners are in a BCS bowl—most likely the Fiesta Bowl, where the Big 12 Champion goes by default, but other bowls are possible, especially if Ohio State somehow makes it into the championship game. If the Sooners lose, the team may fall out of BCS at-large consideration. On the other hand, if Missouri wins their first-ever Big 12 championship, they will play for the National Championship. By the media’s rules, even though the Sooners are playing for a BCS berth, OU will be cast as the “spoiler” to Missouri’s national championship hopes.

There may be an opportunity to support The Pride at a public rehearsal in San Antonio on Saturday, December 1; we’ll update our Events calendar if such information becomes available. We’ve made the Macy’s Parade coverage into its own page so you can find the video more easily, too. The post-season destination is on the line Saturday night, and The Pride will do its best to boost the Sooners into the BCS. Cheer like a champion!

The Pride in the Macy’s® Thanksgiving Day Parade! [video]

The Pride of Oklahoma debuted the new red uniform coats in New York City on Thanksgiving Day in the Macy’s® Thanksgiving Day Parade. The previous red coats were retired after Coach’s last season in 2000, and this is the first time in seven years that The Pride has appeared in public all in red. The new coats feature an interlocking “OU” logo on the front in white parquet, with “OKLAHOMA” on the sleeves in white embroidery on a black background with gray piping. They sure did look sharp on two national television broadcasts!

First up was the coverage from CBS, called the “CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade” because NBC has the rights to the name “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and to the performances in Herald Square. The Pride appeared on CBS approximately one hour and 55 minutes after the coverage started, and showed the band playing Fight for OKU in Times Square. Here’s the video from the CBS broadcast—you can hear The Pride behind an interview long before you can see them. Be sure to listen to Dave Price and Hannah Storm after the commercial break as they’re unable to distinguish between Oklahoma and another Big 12 (heck, Big 8) school.

CBS’s position was about 20 minutes ahead of NBC’s Herald Square performance platform at the end of the parade. The Pride appeared on NBC approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes into the parade coverage, and while they definitely looked good in high-definition in those new red coats, we do wish NBC had shown more of the band members actually marching. It would have been nice to actually see those shiny new matching trombones!

Congratulations to all Pride members and staff, who should all be back in Norman by now preparing for rehearsals for Bedlam just 36 hours from when we post this. This is certainly a week they’ll be talking about for many years—the members traveled over 3600 miles in the past week representing OU and Oklahoma, and those who performed in the Texas Tech band have logged an astonishing 4400 miles in just one week for The Pride. We couldn’t be more proud of the way they’ve carried on our tradition!

Gameday #7: BEDLAM, baby!

(updated from previous kickoff-time only post)

My inner hunch that I’d have more fun in Austin than Lubbock grows stronger every other year.

Barring a set of circumstances that can most charitably be described as “mammothly improbable,” the Sooners’ loss to Texas Tech last night knocks them out of contention for the BCS National Championship. But in a sense, that just makes this Saturday’s game hosting Oklahoma A&M State even more important.

The Sooners clinch the Big 12 South division title with either a Texas loss to Texas A&M on Friday, or an OU victory over OSU on Saturday. Texas is currently a strong favorite over A&M, but everyone remembers last year: Texas lost QB Colt McCoy to injury in the next-to-last game, and lost that game and their last game at home to their hated in-state rival. That double loss turned Texas’s “sure-thing” division championship into an OU division title, with the Sooners going on to beat Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship to earn a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

With Sam Bradford injured in last night’s loss, OSU is without doubt looking to repeat that pattern north of the Red River. OSU can’t win the Big 12 title, but at 6-5, the Aggies Cowboys are barely bowl-eligible, and would improve their chances of a good post-season trip with an upset of the Sooners. If OU wins, they’ll face the winner of Saturday night’s Kansas-Missouri game for the Big 12 title in San Antonio on December 1.

If Kansas wins that game and the Big 12 championship, they’ll play for the national title. If Missouri or OU wins the Big 12 championship, they’ll go to the Fiesta Bowl. Interestingly enough, as of this weekend, Jerry Palm of CollegeBCS.com is predicting that OU will win the conference title, and that Kansas will be a BCS at-large team—and that the two will meet in the Fiesta Bowl. I can’t tell if he believes Kansas or Missouri will win the Big 12 North title, but I think he think it’d be Kansas, because the Jayhawks wouldn’t be an attractive BCS at-large team with two losses. (Palm currently believes OSU will be invited to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio with a loss to the Sooners on Saturday.)

There’s a lot at stake in this final home game, made all the more serious for our men and women of The Pride of Oklahoma because they leave tomorrow for New York City and the Macy’s® Thanksgiving Day Parade. Keep them in your thoughts on Thursday, as they get the wake-up call for the parade at 1:30 AM on Thanksgiving morning, just the start of a very long day that doesn’t end until very late Thursday or early Friday when they arrive back in Norman.

We’ve got the Events calendar updated with Saturday’s tentative schedule. There do not appear to be any public rehearsal or spirit opportunities in NYC before the parade itself (sorry, East coast alumni :-(: ), but if any present themselves, we’ll update the calendar. The Bedlam game kicks off at 2:30 PM CST and will be televised regionally by FSN on cable and satellite—that’s channel 37 for Cox OKC customers, channel 416 on Dish Network, and channel 643 on DirecTV, though some customers can get HD versions on other channels if the game is broadcast in HD).

It’s also Senior Day, and The Pride‘s halftime show not only salutes our seniors, but ends in a spirit of Centennial cooperation that should be a sight to see. We hope to see you at the concert and the game, and if not, we hope you cheering for the Sooners in front of the TV. It’s the last and most important game of the regular season! BOOMER SOONER!

Want a sneak peek at the new red coats?

Check out this KWTV “News 9″ report from Tuesday night showing the new uniforms coming out of the boxes from Fruehuaf, along with interviews with Brian Britt and members Laura Ramsey (uniform manager), Cameron Robinson, and Samantha Coppedge. There’s even a little impromptu Thriller dance, if you can handle Gan Matthews’ singing. :-):

It also gives a hint of the crazy schedule, which you can also see on our Events calendar.

The Oklahoman profiles Meredith Sigler

In case you missed the Oklahoman’s recent article on The Pride‘s three-year feature twirler, Meredith Sigler, it’s now available online.

The article doesn’t mention Meredith’s scholastic achievement, though. Here’s some description from the OU Club of Dallas from four years ago, when she won one of the organization’s scholarships:

Meredith graduated from Lakeview Centenial High School in Garland, and will major in Microbiology. Her SAT Total was 1040, her ACT total was 22, her GPA was 3.86/4.0, and her rank was 19th in her class of 442. Her mother Judy and father Frank are Teachers.

Of course, Meredith is just one of the latest in a long line of Pride members who received scholarships or help from the OU Club of Dallas, but has distinguished herself in so many ways both in and out of the Pride, including membership in ΤΒΣ—and is going for her third world championship next year. Congratulations and good luck, Meredith!

Ten down, two to go! [Updated]

Last night’s 52-21 victory over Baylor puts our Sooners at 9-1 and, with Ohio State’s loss, at #4 in the BCS ratings, behind LSU, Oregon, and (yes, I know, but it’s true) Kansas. There’s a lot yet to be determined as the Sooners travel to Texas Tech on Saturday night, and host the Oklahoma A&M Aggies OSU Cowboys a week later.

The Pride is so busy during that same period that we may have to start a Red Bull Scholarship (“Red and White Bull?”). The entire Pride will be in Guthrie on Friday for the Centennial Statehood Day Parade on, appropriately enough, the 100th anniversay of Oklahoma Statehood. Then a pep band takes off for Lubbock in preparation for the game, which was set this week for a 7:00 PM kickoff and primetime coverage on ABC-TV.

And then it’s off to the Big Apple to represent Oklahoma in the Macy’s® Thanksgiving Day Parade! Although the parade will be televised on both NBC and CBS television networks, NBC has paid for the rights to the parade, so only NBC can show the performances in Herald Square, where The Pride will perform its show.

The bad news is that, because NBC time-shifts Today to air from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM in all time zones, the network is doing the same for the parade. It starts at 9:00 AM EST (8:00 AM CST), but airs at 9:00 PM in all time zones. That means it’s delayed by one hour here in Oklahoma. The CBS broadcast is live in the Central time zone (at least here in the OKC area), but as noted above, will not include The Pride‘s prepared performance. (We should also note that since most local TV stations around the country still lack the ability to record and rebroadcast HDTV signals, NBC’s coverage will be in standard definition, not high definition. CBS’s coverage is SD as well.)

The Pride then rushes back to Norman to prepare for Bedlam two days later. Kickoff time is not set yet, but we hope it will be set by Monday—hopefully before we see you all at the Wind Symphony and Symphony Band concert tomorrow night! Our Events calendar is current as of tonight, and we’ll update it with more Pride appearances as we know about them.

Update: This news story from last week says that ABC-TV has one “six-day option” left and is using it on the OU-OSU and KU-MU games on November 24. If ABC chooses to air KU-MU in primetime, OU-OSU will air on Fox Sports Net and kickoff at 2:30 PM CST. If ABC chooses to air the OU-OSU game, it will kickoff at 7:00 PM CST. But we won’t know until Sunday, November 18. Sorry. :-(:

Concert groups in final Fall appearance!

Does the writers’ strike have you down? Want to show some OU support during Centennial Week? Come see the concert performing ensembles from the OU Band Department in their final concert of the semester!

From the Band Department:

The Symphony Band and Wind Symphony present a concert of “Color and Light” on Monday, November 12, at 8:00 p.m., in Paul F. Sharp Hall. The Symphony Band performs Alfred Reed’s Ramparts of Courage, Anton Bruckner’s Christus Factus Est orchestrated by Norman resident Richard Thurston, Bob Margolis’ Color, and Kenneth Alford’s The Mad Major march.

The Wind Symphony program includes four movements from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Serenade No. 10, K.361 “Gran Partita”, Paul Hindemith’s Concert Music, Op. 41, Henry Purcell’s Funeral Music of Queen Mary, which is transcribed and elaborated on by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steven Stucky, and Carter Pann’s Four Factories.

But wait—there’s more!

The Wind Symphony presents an open rehearsal of Four Factories with prize-winning composer, Carter Pann, on Sunday evening from 8-10 p.m., in Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall. While visiting the University of Oklahoma, the composer will also present and discuss his ideas in a composer’s forum hosted by Dr. Marvin Lamb on Monday, November 12, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m., in Catlett Music Center, Room 014

Tickets for this Sutton Series concert are $8 for adults, and $5 for students, faculty, staff, and senior citizens. They’re available at the box office in Catlett Music Center shortly before the performance, or in advance through the F.A.C.T.S. Fine Arts Ticket Service at (405) 325-4101.

Click here or on the poster to download a PDF file with two poster designs, including the one seen on the OU Bands Web site. Print them out; hang them around your office; mail them to your friends; decorate the cars of people who need more music in their lives. See you at the concert!

That was a Thriller! [updated again with two video links]

The Sooners kept the Aggies in check all night, leading 21-0 at halftime and 35-0 in the third quarter, on the way to a final OU 42-14 victory in Norman last night in primetime. With two higher-ranked BCS teams (Boston College and Arizona State) posting losses yesterday, the Sooners’ BCS chances are definitely improved today—but a lot of things still have to break OU’s way for the Sooners to have a chance at a post-new-year’s trip to New Orleans, not the least of which is winning the next four games.

The Noble Men (and Women) of Kyle—The Pulse of the Spirit of Aggieland Nationally Famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Marching Band returned with one of their strongest performances at Owen Field in many years, and as usual, the home crowd showed great appreciation for their signature style and familiar marches.

There’s a book about The Noble Men (and Women) of Kyle—The Pulse of the Spirit of Aggieland Nationally Famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Marching Band, published by Texas A&M Press. Entitled The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the book’s description begins, “They always win the halftime.”

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper (which, by the way, has now figured out that Oklahoma defeated Texas this year) would agree, as one columnist wrote today:

The Aggies were the fourth-best group on the field Saturday, behind the Sooners, the A&M band, and the OU band, which provided a nice little dance rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

That’s neither the only nor the first column to rank the Texas A&M organizations in that order.

However, I’m reasonably certain that if I’d had an applause meter on the field last night, The Pride would have won in a squeaker. The Noble Men (and Women) of Kyle—The Pulse of the Spirit of Aggieland Nationally Famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Marching Band always gets a fantastic reception in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium during their biannual visits, but the 64-count Thriller dance in The Pride’s tribute to Halloween easily was one of the most loved performances ever.

If you’re lucky, you might get to see some of this Saturday, as the Sooners host the Baylor Bears in home game #6 of the 2007 season. The game, but probably not the dance, will be televised live on Fox Sports Network, with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 PM CST.

Update: Watch the Thriller dance performed during halftime from the view of The Pride seats here, or again during the post-game concert here.