OU Finalizes 2009 Football Slate

From SoonerSports.com:

Oklahoma and Miami, whose original football date in 2009 was lost to a facility conflict at Dolphin Stadium, have rescheduled the game to Oct. 3 and the Sooner program has completed its schedule for next season.

The Alumni Association had previously said “this spring” to set a date for Homecoming/Reunion, but given the schedule as listed here, it’s likely to be either vs. Baylor on October 10 or vs. Kansas State on Halloween. If you’re thinking, “Ooh, Baylor, we want a team we can beat,” remember the last time we played Baylor for homecoming—four years ago, in the Bomar era—and that it went into double-overtime before the Sooners pulled it out.

As the Athletic Department points out:

The three Football Bowl Subdivision teams on the non-conference slate were a combined 28-12 last season and all three played in bowl games. Including the Big 12 schedule, OU’s 2009 slate will include eight bowl teams from the previous season.

Which is a way of saying “Yes, we realize Idaho State is a I-AA team, now called ‘Football Championship Subdivision,’ but did you read how hard it was just to get the previously scheduled Miami date to work out? And they’ve kind of gone downhill since we set the home-and-home series, but we’re hoping they pull it back out.” Four of the eight bowl teams won their bowls after the 2008 season.

As you would expect, our Events calendar is updated with the dates and locations (the home team is listed first, but I don’t know who the home team is for the Jerry Jones Invitational on September 5 yet), so if you subscribe to it in iCal or Google Calendar or Vista Calendar, you should already have the dates on your schedule. Yay!

Breaking news!

Mack Brown demands that the Philadelphia Eagles be voted into the Super Bowl anyway since they’re clearly the better team.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist)

The actual news isn’t as funny but is more important: the OU Foundation has worked with us to provide secure online forms for donations directly to our scholarship funds. Rather than wait for a newsletter, or mail a check, or bring one to homecoming, you can put a few bucks into your favorite scholarship fund any time you’re browsing the Web.

These scholarship funds become even more important in slower times, because even a modest scholarship can make the difference between a student who wins a place in The Pride of Oklahoma and can accept it, and one who cannot because he or she can’t make time for both work and performance.

Since the OU Alumni Club matches our scholarships with an equal amount of tuition waivers (up to $1000), a little can go a long way. And your employer may match your gift, so it could be doubled in value going into the funds and doubled in value coming out as well!

We’ve posted a new page with all of the information on donating: how the scholarship funds work, how the money is used (with links to the Foundation’s guidelines for using funds), the payout rate, and more. Our other new page for making donations has links to all nine of our scholarship fund (eight named funds and one general scholarship fund), plus Foundation links for both OUBAA and University Band non-scholarship funds, and a link for sending non-scholarship money to OUBAA via PayPal (not tax-deductible).

The donation page has all the details. It’s easy to find because it’s right there in the left side of the page from now on, right underneath our logo. The URLs for both the donation page and the reasons for donating page are stable and easy to remember, too, so feel free to send them to anyone you know who might want to throw in a few bucks for future generations of Pride.

Even small donations add up quickly, and now anyone can make small donations anytime they want. I hope we’ll see those funds grow like never before so the most talented musicians, in Oklahoma and elsewhere, will know they can get assistance if they can earn a spot in The Pride of Oklahoma!

Pride takes a break in Tallahassee [video]

The modern connected world takes a bit of getting used to. We had heard from current Pride members and staff that they were looking at the videos we posted of their bowl game performances at a rest stop before heading on to dinner in Tallahassee at about 8PM CST on Friday night.

Five hours later, video of that dinner stop was online at The Norman Transcript, courtesy of the Tallahassee Democrat.
We were going to embed the video here, but we can’t do so without it automatically starting (with audio) before you started reading this, so you’ll need to click the link above to view the short video. Still, pretty cool!

By the time most of you read this, the 2008 Prie of Oklahoma will have returned to Norman and officially finished its performances. Our thanks again to all of this year’s members for a hard-fought season and their fantastic work moving our tradition forward!

Pride videos from the bowl game

If you didn’t get to see The Pride of Oklahoma during Thursday night’s bowl game, you can purchase the entire game from FOX on iTunes for $4.99 if you want. An abbreviated version will also replay on most of the regional Fox Sports Network channels for much of the next 3000 years, especially Fox Sports Southeast (and Southwest, which is based in Texas).

If you just want to see the band, we’ve got you covered! First up is the segment of Oklahoma! that FOX aired during pregame:

And, of course, the segment of halftime that aired, to the delight of Barry Switzer. This features part of Roland Barrett’s arrangement of Pinball Wizard from this year’s The Who show.

If you saw the skycam streaming video of halftime and wanted to know how The Pride of the Sunshine Fightin’ Gator Marching Band looked on the broadcast, here that is too:

Finally, if you read on the mailing list that FOX’s live streaming Web video showed all of halftime from the cable-operated skycam that floats about 15 feet above the field, we have that as well. The good news is that it shows all of both halftime shows, with audio (although choppy at the end of each show). The bad news is that it’s only from the overhead camera (although it moves around all the time), and since it was streaming Web video, it wasn’t super high-quality to begin with. Nonetheless, it’s the only place you’ll see all of both halftime shows unless you were in the stadium, and here it is:

Thanks to FOX for the great video, and remember to go buy the game in iTunes if you want to own it.

2008 Sooners: 12-2, Big 12 Champions

Any Sooner loss is disappointing to Sooner fans, particularly in a big big game. Speaking only for myself, I’m not as disappointed as I might have thought. After the 2003, 2004, and 2007 seasons, I was really crushed by the bowl losses, because the team I saw playing the bowl game was not the Oklahoma Sooners team I saw play much more strongly throughout the rest of those seasons.

The Sooners who played the Gators tonight were the Sooners I’d seen all season long.

Their only two losses were to top-five teams (and guess which of the two was the lower-ranked team), by ten points, after leading or being tied at halftime. In Dallas, the Sooners lost a key defensive player in the third quarter and couldn’t compensate.

In Miami, the Gators just made some tremendous plays. While it is apparently in FOX’s BCS contract that they announcers must not go ten seconds without complimenting Tim Tebow, to me, the real play of the game was that final Florida interception, where the defender literally took the ball out of the Sooners’ hands. Had that drive completed, the Sooners would have gone ahead, and even Tim Tebow tends to get flustered when he’s behind. (Did you see him run for 12 yards in the third quarter and react as if he deserved a trophy? That was…odd.)

(The more disappointing aspect of the evening was the aforementioned FOX booth team. I realize that Tebow’s speech after Florida’s loss to Ole Miss took the cynical sports media by surprise, but it was not the Sermon on the Mount.)

On the way to tonight’s game, however, the Oklahoma Sooners picked up their sixth Big 12 South division title over the screaming objections of the guys who didn’t beat Texas Tech, as well as their 42nd conference championship, and played in what is at least their 12th bowl game to decide the national championship. Bob Stoops got his 100th win as head coach, making Oklahoma the first and only program in major college football to have had four head coaches with at least 100 wins each (the other three are Barry Switzer, Bud Wilkinson, and Benny Owen). They set the record for the most number of weeks ranked #1 all-time in the AP poll, and extended their all-time lead for number weeks ranked #1 in the BCS.

And this quiet kid from Putnam City North won the Heisman Trophy, and made Kirk Herbstreit die just a little bit inside. :-):

So you can see why I’m still proud of that team, and of the 2008 edition of the organization we have in common. The Pride of Oklahoma earned their name the entire way—as you could see for yourselves, because FOX had them on streaming webcam live throughout the entire game. Even now, well after the game is over, I’m still watching the drumline live in the stands at Dolphin Stadium during the BCS trophy presentation. (It just cut off at 11:00 PM CST.)

They did the uniform and Sooner Spirit proud, and we’re honored to welcome the outgoing seniors into our membership.

You can now view the broadcast video of pregame and halftime, the broadcast video of the Florida band’s halftime show (“Big Noise from Winnetka!” No kidding!), and the streaming webcam live footage from the overhead cable cam that showed all of both bands’ halftime shows right here on our site. Just click here.

BTW, we sent both the streaming webcam news and the halftime video link to everyone on the OUBAA Mailing List before or during the game, so those of you on the list got the news faster and may have seen more. If you’re not a member of our list, click here to join today and stay in touch with your fellow former Pride members.

With the end of the football season, news here slows down until we start planning for Homecoming 2009, sometime after we actually learn when it will be. (So far, we know it will be during a home game in the fall of 2009. Other than that, it’s a bit up in the air.) We’d welcome Sooner Showmen or WBB alumni who wanted to keep the home page updated for basketball season, so if you’re interested, drop me a line.

Also, very soon we’ll have ways to donate securely, online, to the OU Band Alumni’s accounts at the OU Foundation, so you can help future members of The Pride in their academic and musical careers. Donations to these accounts are tax-deductible and will be made securely, online, through the Foundation’s Web site but directed to our specific scholarship accounts. There will even be a link on the page to click to see if your company will match your gift, doubling the scholarhip potential of your donation. We’ll have more about that when it’s ready, but I wanted to give a heads-up about how easy it’s going to be.

Until we meet again, it has been a privilege bringing you news this year, and —hmm, do I hear a concert A♭?

Our chant rolls on and on!
Thousands strong
Join heart and song
In alma mater’s praise
Of campus beautiful by day and night
Of colors proudly gleaming Red and White
’Neath a western sky
OU’s chant will never die.
Live on University!

Meet The Pride of Oklahoma

A two-minute video from FOX Sports, taken at Monday morning’s rehearsal with The Pride in Miami. Featuring small interviews with Brian Britt, drum major Jason Marshall, and flute section members Lauren Brockman and Heidi Fioretti.

(Probably for copyright reasons, the background music is a repeating recording of Boomer, not sound from the actual rehearsal. Still, worth a watch!)

A brief bit of statistics

There have been five major post-season football games at Cardinal University of Phoenix Stadium since it opened. Two Fiesta Bowls, one BCS National Championship, Super Bowl XLII, and yesterday’s NFC Wild Card game.

In all five games, one team was heavily favored (and we know which one it was for the two Fiesta Bowls), and that favored team lost all four games. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl (OU vs. Boise State) was close, and the two NFL games were somewhat close, but the other two were blowouts for the underdog team.

The 2009 Fiesta Bowl is to be played in that stadium tomorrow night. The Texas Longhorns are heavily favored over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I’m just sayin’.

The Oklahoman notes the Pride’s trip

It’s not quite like last year, when KWTV’s launch of news9.com (separating from The Oklahoman at the time) led them to send a crew with The Pride on the Fiesta Bowl trip and publish blogs from no fewer than six Pride members during the trip (as chronicled here), but it’s a nice standard short piece about the trip, with quotes from Brian Britt and drum major Jason Marshall, whom many of you met at Homecoming 2008.

We continue to bring you today’s news yesterday! We posted details of public performances on Friday. What’s more, the “More Info” box with the list of public Pride performances looks (to my eye, but I’m jaded) a bit more like the slightly reworded version on our Events calendar than the itinerary sent to Pride members, so maybe they came here for info! If so, welcome to Oklahoman reporters and staff—click on the name of any member who posted a message to send them E-mail if you want to ask them questions! :-):

There are some interesting comments to the article, including someone wondering if the band members hate Boomer Sooner! Feel free to sign up at http://www.newsok.com/ and post your own comments! And keep wishing our men and women in crimson and cream a fun, productive, relaxing, and trophy-producing trip starting tomorrow! Several dozen of them are about to join our ranks, and we welcome them all!

Happy New Year!

The Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl were played yesterday; the Cotton Bowl and Fiesta Bowl are played today, and the Sugar Bowl follows on Monday night (so as not to get trampled by first-round NFL playoffs on Saturday and Sunday).

The Sooners, however, play in the BCS National Championship game next Thursday. Since the bowl trip is usually about a week long with the bowl itself 2-3 days before the trip ends, that means The Pride of Oklahoma has not even left for the bowl yet. The team only left today. This is only the third year of the “Plus One” BCS championship, and the first time the Sooners have played in it, so it’s the first bowl game I can remember that takes place after the 3rd or 4th of January.

I don’t know about you folks, but no matter how much I think about it, this still blows my mind a little bit. The Sooners are playing for their eighth national championshp, and The Pride got to spend both Christmas and New Year’s Day at home with their families. Can anyone remember a bowl trip later in the season than this one—or, for that matter, any trip involving the full Pride that took place this long after the fall semester ended? It’s wild!

Our Events calendar has been updated with The Pride‘s public schedule for the trip, including rehearsals and pep events. Keep a few things in mind if you’re making the trip to South Beach:

  • Like most modern computer calendars, our event calendar is aware of time zones. If you subscribe to the calendar in iCal or Windows Vista calendar (or even Google Calendar), then be sure to change the time zone on your computer when you get to Miami. (If it’s Google Calendar, you’ll also have to tell Google about your new time zone.)

    All of the events are correctly listed in Eastern Standard Time, so when your computer is set to EST, they’ll show up at the right time. If you’re in Oklahoma now and your computer is set to Central Time, then the events show up in Central Time. (For example, kickoff for the game shows up at 7:15 PM CST, which is correct, but it’s 8:15 PM EST.) Make sure you set your computer time zone correctly or you’ll be an hour early for everything.

    If you use the online version of the calendar, then go to this page on your computer and set the time zone to “America/New York” or “EST”. That sets the calendar preference for that computer. Until you do that, all the online stuff shows up in the server’s time zone, and the server is right here in the OKC Metro area, so it’s all in Central Time.

    If you rarely use this stuff, I’m sorry if this seems like a pain. If you subscribe to the calendar in Mac OS X or Windows Vista, though, and live outside the Central time zone, then all of the game times and other events have shown up in your correct time all along. It’s only a bit annoying when you change time zones, like on a national championship trip! Woohoo!

  • Practices are at two separate facilities. We’ve tried to be sure that every event’s details have either an address or a link to a page with a map or more details. If you use iCal, the details are in the event. For the online calendar, click on the name of the event in the calendar and you’ll get a little pop-up window with more details and any hyperlinks to more information.

    Performance times for pep events (and even for pregame) are approximate, because we all know how these things go. The OU Touchdown Club party and the Boomer Bash require tickets, but the links in those events tell you how to get them. The bowl-sponsored events appear to be free, but I can’t swear to that, so be aware.

This has certainly been a crazy season. I can’t remember a clearer distinction than this year between Sooner fans (at least the ones I hang around) and Longhorn fans (at least the ones I hear from): when OU lost to a high-ranked Texas team in early October, we thought that meant we’d never get to the BCS title game. When Texas lost to a high-ranked Texas Tech team in late October, they saw absolutely no reason why that loss should be held against them. If you’d told me it’d go down this way in August, I would have laughed at you, probably with some pointing and mockery.

And yet the Sooners’ workmanlike demolition of the Red Raiders, the Cowboys, and the Tigers in three all-but-playoff games have gotten them to the third attempt for the eighth national championship, in the same city (and same bowl committee) where the Sooners secured or won the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh national championships.

Third time the charm? If you watched lots of college football this holiday season, it was pretty obvious that the pundits think Florida’s going to win, but after the Sooners’ late-season comeback and Sam Bradford’s Heisman Trophy, they keep trying to hedge their bets—a lot moreso than they did in 2000, where their pre-bowl discussion was all about whether Miami should be declared national champions “when” Florida State beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. You may remember that game’s final score of Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2, with those two points coming on a fourth-quarter bad punt snap that OU knocked out of the end zone. The heavily-favored Seminoles scored no offensive points.

I don’t predict these things, but I know that the Sooners can win this game and bring that eighth national championship home to Norman. Whether you’re in Dolphin Stadium or just planted in front of a good TV tuned to FOX on Thursday night, put on your reds and whites and get ready to cheer. BOOMER SOONER!