Toward late summer, I always end up missing college football. Without sports in 2020, that feeling has gone a little extra this year. With that in mind, I’ve decided to count down all 55 OU football games from my undergraduate years, ranked in order of how much I enjoyed them. I think this will be a cool little series that will help me remember all of the fun I had on fall Saturdays as an undergrad.
Today’s installment is a little bit uninspiring. As my least favorite games, it should not be a surprise that this post contains 7 of the 8 losses OU suffered from 2016 – 2019. What can I say? I like wins.
55. Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 (2018 Rose Bowl)
This was one of the most painful sporting moments of my life. I truly believed that the 2017 team was en route to a national title to cap off Baker Mayfield’s college career. So this one would have been extra painful regardless, but it just gets worse.
First of all, I wasn’t able to afford a trip to the Rose Bowl (a bucket list event for all my life) at the time. Elizabeth went with her family, and I was insanely envious while she attended the Rose Parade, etc. But, notwithstanding that, my parents took me to Peppino’s in Kentwood to watch the game. And OU jumped out in front early, and looked like they were going to dominate the game! Then, right before halftime the Sooners did that stupid squib kick to give Georgia 3 points into the half, and for some reason I let my parents talk me into going home at the half.
Things obviously unravelled in the second half. I watched it in the basement with my dad, right on through the final overtime gut punch. Not much was said between us after the game. I remember sitting on the floor in the basement for a long time, wanting to cry but no tears coming out. I just felt… empty.
Alright, I’ve written enough about that.
54. Kansas State 48, Oklahoma 41 (2019)
Whereas the Rose Bowl was gut-wrenching, this game was simply irritating. It was played on October 26, 2019, which was not only Elizabeth and my 3rd anniversary together, but also the date of the National Weather Festival. Thanks to our senior status, positions in student leadership, and some other student volunteers turning out to be flaky, somehow it fell on us to coordinate the dozens of student volunteers for NWF. (Ok, I wasn’t officially involved, but you know I was involved.) It turns out that managing volunteers isn’t easy because they generally don’t want to be spending their Saturday working for hours without pay. And, to add to the stress, it was our job to run the official OU instagram account that day to document the Weather Festival. No pressure.
To make matters worse, OU played Kansas State during the festival. So of course the predominantly male volunteers kept trying to watch the game. I felt like I was herding cats trying to get people to focus on their tasks. And then, of course, OU fell behind and they fell behind bad. This did not improve my cat-herding situation and really just put everyone in a worse temper.
The game was broadcasted on the Weather Wall within the NWC, and with the NWF winding down and a few minutes left in the game I relented and watched the ending. OU, of course, scored late to pull within a touchdown and then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but were ruled to have touched the ball too soon. There are some conflicting interpretations of that ruling, but what’s not in dispute: OU had lost, and my temper was even worse than before.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. After the NWF, Elizabeth and I spent the evening celebrating our anniversary at the Cheesecake Factory (my first ever visit!). We made it home just in time for me to lay down in bed and watch Michigan lay the lumber down on Notre Dame. A good cure for my irritation.
53. Ohio State 45, Oklahoma 24 (2016)
This one goes way back to early in my freshman year. Mostly, it ranks so low because of how much I hate Ohio State. Otherwise, it would have actually been a pretty fun game. Tickets were in high demand, so I woke up at 4:30 the morning excess student tickets went on sale to wait in line with Max, who didn’t have student tickets. We definitely were like 2-3 hours early, but there were a few other groups camped out for tickets by the time we got there. I didn’t need one myself, so I made myself a hero the early groups by grabbing a dozen donuts from Hurts for them. I also got an entire physics lab done that morning.
Taylor came down from Michigan to attend the game with me, and learned from the Adams Tower Cane’s that one can, indeed, produce a bad chicken tender (this is why she’s vegetarian now). We got into the stadium in plenty of time to see the game, before #okwx struck.
Good thing lightning didn’t hit the stadium. As it was, Taylor and I ended up soaked. Somehow, I managed to convince a stadium security guard to let me exit and re-enter to get her a sweatshirt. By the time I got back, the sun was out and everyone was drying off for an unanticipated evening game
Then Ohio State proceeded to murder Oklahoma and we left midway through the 4th quarter.
52. Houston 33, Oklahoma 23 – 2016
I have to reach way back into my memory to remember this game, because it was my very first as a Sooner. We had a group of people that were all watching the game on one of the TVs in the Adams Tower basement (a very popular place for my friends when we were freshmen, apparently). I don’t remember everyone who was there, but I have this photo as a memory:
OU struggled. Then they stopped struggling, and started losing. Pretty quickly, I realized that my freshman year was not going to be spent watching a playoff team (poor me, right?). I remember OU giving up a kick six that seemed to break the team’s back, but I honestly don’t remember much else about the game. I do remember that everyone wanted to forget it afterwards, so we all wandered over to the soccer field nearby (note: I couldn’t remember exactly where the field was, just that it was somewhere by the swim complex. I looked on Google satellite, and realized that this field used to be where the Timberdell Parking Garage is now. I didn’t realize it was gone!) and played some pickup soccer.
51. LSU 63, Oklahoma 28 – 2019
I don’t have much to say about this game. I knew OU was going to get slaughtered, and they did. LSU was a historically good team. Whatever. I was reading a book in my room by the 3rd quarter.
50. Iowa State 38, Oklahoma 31 – 2017
This was a bit of a weird game. An 11:00 kick during that time of fall when the shade is cool but you get burnt in the sun, Elizabeth and I got pretty toasted. Also, her wild roommate Cheyenne was tagging along with us for the day for reasons I don’t remember but almost certainly weren’t good. OU jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t hold it as Iowa State’s big receivers began bullying the Sooners. The game marked the 3rd of 4th week in a row that OU had played an underwhelming game following their win over Ohio State; I honestly thought their playoff hopes were shot. Obviously I was wrong, but I also wasn’t as bothered as I was by other losses on this list. I had fun with Elizabeth, who spent the whole afternoon sleeping off a bad sunburn.
49. Alabama 45, Oklahoma 34 – 2018 Orange Bowl
A loss where I was encouraged by how the team played! In all honesty, I knew that the 2018 Sooners were flawed and not going to win the title. I knew that the 2018 Crimson Tide were absolutely stacked. The fact that this game was kept to a two-score margin (OU covered the spread!) was a major moral victory to me. Plus, Clemson got revenge for the Sooners the next week in the national title game, and I was on a cruise when that happened. So who’s the real loser?