This is my favorite time of year. Each August, as college football season approaches, I get a big burst of anticipation. It’s like some people looking forward to Christmas, or others looking forward to Spring Break. Me, I count down until college football is back.
And when I’m doing that countdown, it’s a perfect time to Remember Some Games. So let’s Remember Some Games.
20. Oklahoma 70, South Dakota 14 – 2019
There was maybe never a year where I looked forward to the return of college football more than 2019. I spent the whole summer in Slidell, Louisiana on an internship. It was great, but also it was very lonely with no one to talk to after work. So what did I do? I planned out my senior football season. The last one, the best one, the one to remember.
Week 1 was a worthy warm-up – an entire day of football that led into a Sunday date against Houston (I’ll blog about it in 2025 probably). Week 3 was maybe the best day of football watching I ever had. So how did we make Week 2 work?
By enjoying a beautiful evening tune-up against South Dakota, an okay-ish FCS team that couldn’t stop a progression of Jalen Hurts (now an NFC Champion), Tanner Mordecai (now a Wisconsin Badger in his billionth year via SMU), and Spencer Rattler (now a South Carolina Gamecock) from dropping 70 points on them in a 70-14 cakewalk. My group of friends, the best friends you could ever have to watch football with, all met up beforehand at James/Bradley/Moriah/Chandler’s apartment to watch me scream at the Michigan/Army game. Never schedule service academies.
The game was short thanks to its non-nationally-televised status and blowout status. Which was good, because in early September even evening games just get to be unpleasantly hot.
Senior fall is traditionally when the OU SOM welcomes exchange students from the University of Reading in England. Caught up by my infectious enthusiasm, the Brits decided to come to the game. They gamely spent several hours sweltering in the evening heat for a – ahem – less than exciting game, so I figured it was only the right thing to do to invite them to Campus Corner afterwards. And that’s how a few of them ended up inside Louie’s Too with bemused looks on their faces as Jason and I hooted and hollered through the ending of the ballyhooed LSU/Texas game (Joe Burrow’s legacy began here!) over our frozen Jack and Cokes. Every word of that last sentence just got better. College football is the best.
19. Oklahoma 56, West Virginia 28 – 2016
2016 had some truly epic road Oklahoma wins that featured one billion points scored from both teams. The scoreboard sort of makes this game look like one of those, but don’t be fooled. This game was a beatdown. My first Birthday Game at OU set the tone for many epic ones afterward by just being flat-out enjoyable.
Elizabeth and I watched with Max and a few others at Headington Hall, the last-ever game that I watched there. West Virginia had an outside chance of winning the Big 12 title with the win, while an OU win would set up a winner-take-all Bedlam in Norman the next week. With a light snow falling in Morgantown, it was a picturesque night for a bunch of sad West Virginia fans. The snow made Dede Westbrook’s 75 yard bubble screen TD, wherein he dragged defenders over 10 yards, even more serene to watch. OU jumped out to a 34-0 lead almost before I could finish my Qdoba. When Jordan Evans jumped a Skyler Howard pass early in the 3rd quarter and ran it back 80 yards to make the game 41-7, the game was as good as over. OU let their feet off the gas for a while and WVU closed the gap, but it was functionally over. And I was a happy birthday boy.
18. Oklahoma 35, Auburn 19 – 2016ish
A few weeks after that West Virginia game, the Sooners found themselves in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. I found myself in my parents’ basement in Kentwood, where I spent an entire four weeks of winter break recovering from mono by playing an unhealthy amount of Madden ’16. My dad joined me in the basement to watch the game, which honestly made the whole experience a little more special. I don’t get to watch very many football games with my dad anymore (which is probably exacerbated by my tendency to yell at the TV). But game, which happened to be legendary broadcaster Brent Musberger’s last college football with ABC/ESPN, was a perfect way to wrap up what had been a memorable freshman year of football. Much like they had for a lot of the year, the Sooners found themselves playing from behind early against an 8-4 Auburn team that had to be wondering how they snuck backwards into the New Year’s Six. Much like the rest of the year following non-conference play, once Oklahoma’s offense figured it out they were able to roll to victory in the second half. Samaje Perine set the all-time Oklahoma rushing record, previously held by Billy Sims himself. And somehow all the attention was still on Joe Mixon’s eligibility to play, in spite of Musberger calling him a “fine man”. Apart from that dark spot, the only Sooner bowl win of my undergrad years was very fun to watch and a memory I’m glad I got to share with my dad.