Valero Alamo Bowl Oklahoma vs Oregon
Oklahoma has an all-time record of six and one against Oregon. At the same time, it seems the Sooner faithful are more focused on the one loss than the six wins. The Ducks defeated Oklahoma in the last meeting in Eugene 34-33 in 2006. In light of two blatant officiating blunders, most Sooner fans still hold a grudge against the Ducks. There are a number of interesting side notes associated with the renewal of this edition of the Valero Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma vs Oregon.
The Sooners have been through a multitude of program changes in the last month. Oklahoma has lost a head coach and hired a head coach. The Sooner faithful have gone through the gambit of emotions in the last few weeks.
Shortly after the exit of former Sooner headman Lincoln Riley, several Oklahoma players and recruits either transferred, entered the portal, or decommited. By all accounts, the sky was falling in Norman.
Just when things seemed bleakest, enter a couple of Sooner heroes. The very day Riley notified the University that he was leaving, former Oklahoma head Coach Bob Stoops volunteered to take over for as long as he was needed. Stoops insisted on coaching until no longer needed without pay. Clearly, Stoops is passionate and dedicated to the University of Oklahoma.
It was apparent from the beginning of the coaching search that one man stood out as the fan and administration favorite. Certainly, the right man for the job was Brent Venables.
Venables and his staff hit the ground running on the recruiting trail. The staff turned a rapidly sinking recruiting class into a top 10 class in a week’s time.
There is still one massive recruiting task left for Venables. That is of course, what freshman quarterback Caleb Williams is going to do moving forward and, in the days, following the bowl game.
The general opinion by most is that he is going to remain with Oklahoma, but nobody knows for sure.
With the short-term influence of Stoops and the incoming staff, the Sooners will now possess what was missing under Riley. The Sooners will be hyper-focused on discipline, physicality, passion, and effort.
Oregon is in a not so dissimilar situation as Oklahoma. The Ducks lost their head coach Mario Cristobal. Oregon has subsequently hired a very well thought of Dan Lanning, the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia.
Interim head coach Bryan McClendon will coach the Ducks in the Alamo bowl. Oregon will have opt-outs, just as Oklahoma has.
Oregon will be handicapped on the defensive side of the ball. Kayvon Thibodeaux, All America defensive lineman and possibly the number one selection in the upcoming NFL draft has opted out of the bowl game. The Ducks may have other players out as well that have not been announced as of yet.
The Final Word
In the final analysis, as is the case with most bowl games it boils down to which team actually cares about playing the game.
All indications appear that Oklahoma is focused and interested in this game. The driving force behind the Sooners motivation is undoubtedly Coach Stoops. The Sooners younger players are looking at this as an opportunity to showcase their talent and abilities.
While Venables and some of the members of the new staff will only be observing, be assured they have asserted an influence on this team.