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!