A fifteen year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Norman Oklahoma

Big weekend in the Big 12 – Chasing 4 top 15 teams in a single day at OU & TCU……

Pouring over the calendar in early October for our annual college football trip, my best friend Tyler had procrastinated once again. After last years showdown in Columbia for the South Carolina vs Florida game, he had his sights firmly set on another November matchup in the hard hitting SEC. But as the months went buy, hotels filled up and flights sold out, making any trip to the heart of Dixie prohibitively expensive. As such, we were forced to look elsewhere, and the allure of Norman, Oklahoma quickly beckoned as the storied Sooners were hosting the prolific Baylor Bears, a clash that would surely have implications on the college football playoff picture. With a few mouse clicks, flights were finally locked down for Tyler and his coworker Thibs, and a trip to Bricktown was settled.

As the calendar towards game day approached, however, a few things had shifted in the Big 12. The mighty Sooners no longer stood atop the standings, and upstarts like TCU and Kansas State had dared to leapfrog the perennial contending Crimson and Creme in the rankings. The good folks in the scheduling department at ABC Network had responded in kind, moving the #15 Oklahoma vs #12 Baylor matchup to a dreaded 11am start time, while they shifted the #6 TCU vs #7 Kansas State tilt to a 7pm kick down in Fort Worth. While I typically balk at the move to a morning kickoff, this presented us with an interesting option – catch an impromptu doubleheader! Faced with the prospect of seeing four top 15 teams in a single day (a feat I’d never accomplished in six years), Tyler and Thibs quickly agreed, and a full slate of big time college football was on the calendar.

After a night out in Oklahoma City the night before, morning starts early on Saturday. Between the 11am kickoff and a three hour drive between games, tailgating would be a futile effort in our little SUV rental. Making the short drive into Norman from Oklahoma City, we fuel up on a few breakfast tacos at Rudy’s, the long, serpentine line flooded with crimson shirts all looking to do the same. We find free parking in the quaint residential neighborhood surrounding the OU campus along Brooks street, hoofing it a mile over to the stadium on a perfect fall afternoon. I had already secured tickets the night before, answering an ad on craigslist that scored us three tickets for face value, in the 3rd row, on the 50 yard line – an intentional departure from my usual street haggling, as I hate trying to find blocks of tickets.

IMG_2383 IMG_2387

We tour the OU campus for only a few minutes, the early kick doesn’t leave much time for sightseeing, before heading into the bowels of Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium. Shortly after the Sooner Schooner completes its semicircle around the field, the crowd rises to it’s feet for kickoff exchanging chants of “boomer”….”sooner” back and forth across the gridiron. Seated only a few rows behind the Oklahoma bench, our view is incredible, and a great window into some of those sideline nuances that you’d never get in the grandstands. Things start out well for the Sooners, their up tempo offense moves the ball efficiently as quarterback Trevor Knight zips passes to standout freshman receiver Miciah Quick. They score a pair of touchdowns in the first frame, and jump out to a 14-3 lead after the first quarter while the Sooner faithful bellow confidently in the excitement of their home field advantage.

IMG_2390 IMG_2392 IMG_2395 IMG_2396 IMG_2397 IMG_2406

But that would be the last we’d hear from the crimson crowd all afternoon, and the Sooners would never score another point all day. Baylor explodes in the second quarter, erupting for three touchdowns as their gunslinger Bryce Petty tosses the ball all over the turf with impunity. Baylor head coach Art Briles spread offense is a marvel to watch, as they gnash apart the defense, reeling off chunks of yards at a time. Midway through the third quarter, the OU defense all but taps out, as Baylor piles on to lead 38-14. From our vantage point steps away from the OU squad, the players are visibly gassed, gulping for air while they slump on the bench, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops (brother of head coach Bob Stoops) berating them for yet another breakdown. Baylor would go on to a full 48-14 blowout, their first win over a ranked opponent in 37 tries, dating back to 1991. The roar of 85,048 people reduced to the silence of a Sunday church service, we hustle out towards the car. It’s a three hour ride down to Fort Worth, and football is only half done for the day….

IMG_2401 IMG_2402 IMG_2410

Some would say there isn’t much to see on the stretch of I-35 South from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, but I for one enjoy the vastness of it all. At the crest of each hill the rolling plains stretch out to the horizon, a few oil derricks bob in the distance, and the sun lowers in the sky turning the grassy expanse into magnificent hues of gold and rust.

Tyler mans the wheel, careening through southern Oklahoma at a comfortable 75mph while I navigate and Thibs takes a snooze in the back seat. We stop only once, for a quick drive through mission at Whataburger, the venerable Texas burger chain. Grease soaks through the flimsy yellow wrapping paper as the hefty burgers are doled out, and Tyler deftly keeps the little SUV between the lines while gripping a fistful of cheeseburger. We listen intently as the radio bellows out the afternoon Notre Dame vs Arizona State contest, a sound thrashing for the flailing Irish.

After a few hours, traffic thickens as the skyscrapers of downtown Fort Worth appear in the distance, puncturing the faint orange sky of dusk. Approaching Amon G. Carter stadium, the streets grow thick with game day traffic and, with kickoff only twenty minutes away, parking options are severely limited. We’re forced to pull into a driveway in one of the residential neighborhoods surrounding TCU and fork over thirty bucks to park, which I negotiate down from forty on principle alone. Probably the first time this guy has been haggled for parking on his front lawn…

Hustling over to the beckoning tower lights, parking lots are already emptying into the stadium as fans guzzle a final beer before producing their tickets for scanning. With ticket options and time at a premium, locating three contiguous seats off the streets would be nearly impossible at this point. So we split, buying a pair of tickets for Tyler and Thibs, and then a single for myself – each for fifty bucks a a pop. We agree to meet up after the first quarter of the game, once a few seats become available. Hustling through the turnstiles, I make it onto the newly renovated concourse just in time to catch the final few minutes of pre game ceremonies. The Horned Frogs streak out of the tunnel sporting special black uniforms for the occasion, their iridescent purple helmets reflecting the brilliant showers of fireworks cascading overhead.


IMG_2420 IMG_2422

The Horned Frogs jump out to an early lead, mounting a pair of touchdown drives in the first frame that put the Wildcats on their heels. Dual threat quarterback Trevone Boykin slices through the KSU defense, running for 123 yards on the night while passing for another 216 on top of that. While Kansas State would keep the score close for most of three quarters, TCU exerts firm control for the entire contest. Finally, in the fourth quarter as the fickle Horned Frog crowd is ready to head for the exits, they finally break the game open and run away with a 41-20 signature victory. With only a single blemish on their record for the year, the big win keeps the four team playoff hopes alive for TCU, and the Big 12 newcomers have firmly established themselves as conference contenders.

IMG_2446IMG_2424 IMG_2425 IMG_2426   IMG_2448 IMG_2449 IMG_2451 IMG_2453IMG_2439

After the game we retreat to the Fort Worth Stockyards for some liquid refreshment at the historic White Elephant Saloon. It’s not everyday you catch four top 15 teams in a single afternoon, in fact, it’s downright rare – and that calls for a few Shiners to celebrate…

IMG_2456 IMG_2454

Thanks for Thibs for making the journey down to Oklahoma and Texas and jumping at the opportunity to hit an intense doubleheader.  Can’t wait to hit another one with you next year!

Thanks to Tyler for a lifelong habit of procrastination on key decisions, for once it actually worked out to our benefit.  We fell into one hell of a weekend, and look forward to another one in 2015!

Full Clickable gallery below:

Drugs are sumptuous, and definite humanity cannot get the medicaments they need. Certain drugs are as a rule used to treat varied types of infection caused by certain types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. If you’re concerned about sexual problem, you probably know about http://isviagraoverthecounter.com/Male-Enhancement-Pills.html. What are side effects of Cialis? There are different drugs for male impotence cure. Very likely Male Enhancement Pills Over the Counter is a very complicated topic. More information about Cialis available at best male enhancement pills over the counter. While the generic is credited with improving nausea, it may also kill the mood in bedroom. All kinds of medications, from those that are elaborate ‘all natural’ to those that are chemically produced in a laboratory, may cause some kind of aftereffects.

Share this post:

Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame – Catholics vs. Conestoga’s…

Sitting in a plywood shack in Elbert, Texas my index finger gently caresses the cold trigger of a matte black AR15.  Thirty rounds of screaming hot lead wait to be hurled towards my prey hiding in the mesquite and oak scrub beyond.  I flash the infared light intermittently at the feeder, illuminating the target in a red glow as I peer through the laser dot on the scope.  Hog vision can’t detect light at this spectrum.  My father and I chat away in the shanty while we wait, a rare opportunity to spend time hunting together.  An hour before, I’d stalked within fifty yards of a herd of twelve white tailed deer, an easy kill shot for any marksman.  They carelessly munched on tufts of grass, taunting me, almost as if they knew deer season wasn’t open for another week.  The hogs prove more elusive this evening, and, after a couple of unproductive hours, Dad and I call it quits as darkness sets in over the Texas sky.

I’m in town with my father for the Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma game up in Norman.  Visiting close friends Bryce and Kate in Fort Worth, we’d all circled this game on the calendar years ago.  While trips for Notre Dame to Oklahoma are exceedingly rare, the Irish have enjoyed an 8-1 all time record against the Sooners and have never lost in Norman.  As if two historic juggernauts colliding weren’t enough, the surprise undefeated Irish enter the contest with an unblemished 8-0 record and lofty #5 ranking.  Squaring off against an 8th ranked Oklahoma team, this clash is certain to have BCS implications.  ESPN further adds to the hooplah, as their ESPN Gameday crew showed up for the 7pm primetime showdown on the plains.

We’d spent that Friday morning at Pecan Lodge in Dallas, getting an appropriate fix of Texas Barbecue before heading out for the afternoon hunt.  Touting an elusive five star rating from the head honcho at Full Custom Gospel BBQ, waiting lines at the tiny storefront inside the Dallas Farmers Market have swelled to prolific proportion.  Patrons wait up to two hours for a few velvet morsels of their black barked brisket.  Smoked over mesquite wood, it’s Pecan Lodge’s unique departure from traditional central Texas barbecue, which exclusively espouses post oak smoke.  We descend on a heaping platter of the “holy trinity” of Texas barbecue: pork ribs, sausage, and brisket.  As if the protein fortress weren’t enough, I add a few Jurassic sized beef ribs to our burgeoning tray, giant bones of silky beef enveloped with a pristine red smoke ring.  This is, quite simply, the best barbecue Dallas has to offer.  Second place isn’t even close.

(Read the full review of Pecan Lodge here)

Saturday morning we pile into Bryce’s truck with a payload of provisions, heading due north up I-35 from Fort Worth, over the scarred, rocky, treeless hills of southern Oklahoma.  We stop only once, pulling off the interstate in Marietta, Oklahoma at Robertson’s Hams.  Chugging out smoke since 1946, the storefront features a wide selection of house smoked hams, jerky and sausages.  We sling a few of their country ham sandwiches stacked on rye bread into the cooler and speed off.  Pulling into Norman, the place is thick with game day traffic.  Grills spew columns of blue smoke into the sky while crimson OU flags wave in the gentle prairie breeze.  We find free parking in an empty grass lot a mile south of the stadium, poised alongside the grassy shoulder of Jenkins Avenue for a quick getaway later.  With a brilliant clear sky overhead and 7pm kickoff, it’s a perfect lazy afternoon for tailgating.

Before cracking my first beer, I trot to the stadium to upgrade our student tickets at Memorial Stadium Gate 7.  With prices for the historic matchup fetching $300 and up on Stubhub, I’d unearthed a set of 4 student tickets on Craigslist for $150 apiece and had them FedExed to Fort Worth.  For $50 bucks more I upgrade them at the stadium to general admission seats as the woman carefully places a “Student Guest” sticker onto each ticket. With the open seating policy in the student section, the four of us will now be able to sit together.  Not an ideal option to be standing 4 quarters amidst a sea of hammered drunk 20 year old OU students, but assuming I get equally marinated, it should at least be tolerable.

Returning back to the tailgate, a few empty cans already rattle around the pickup bed. Bryce, Kate and my father have jumped out to an early head start.  The cooler is brimming with a cross section of regional microbrews from around the country.  Ommegang from Cooperstown, New York, Clown Shoes from Massachusetts, and some rocket fuel from the Scottish brewery Brew Dog Brewing Company dubbed “Tokyo”, which tips the scale at nearly 20% alcohol and tastes like straight kerosene. My personal favorite is “Nitro” from Left Hand Brewing Company, a jet black Stout that pours like used motor oil.  In between beers, my father and Bryce swap pulls of Crown Royal, while Texas country songs from Randy Rogers Band howl out the open rear window of the truck.  It’s a fine afternoon.

With kickoff approaching an hour away, we stuff our pockets with a few walking beers and begin the trek to the stadium.  While certainly outnumbered by crimson OU shirts, the Notre Dame contingent is well represented in Norman, handfuls of folks yell hearty cheers of “Go Irish!” as we pass by.  Entering the stadium, portals to the grandstands are mobbed, backed up with a serpentine line of students.  It’s a mad house, people clambering over one another like lines of red ants.  We shuffle skyward up the steps, climbing to row 62 before I finally locate four open spots.  Surrounded on all sides by OU students, we’re smack in the middle of the beating heart of OU fandom.   I’ve been to Oklahoma a few times before, but never as a visitor, and I don’t know how these inebriated red shirts are going to respond to a group of infiltrators.    The crowd erupts on all sides of us when the Sooners take the field, exploding in a deafening roar as fireworks shower across the dusky orange sky.  Tear gas couldn’t quell this blustering melee right now.   My father shoots a nervous glance my way with that “are you sure you know what the F you’re doing?” look.  Kate gives me the same.

The game kicks off ominously at first, as Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones slings the ball down field in their high tempo, no huddle offense.  The crowd bursts with each completion, exchanging high fives and feeding off the initial onslaught.  They feel a rout on their hands.  But the stout Notre Dame defense stiffens up in the red zone, holding the Sooners to a field goal and surviving the initial wave of momentum.  As the Irish offense takes the field once again, Sooner fans reach their zenith, roaring loudly in support of their defense.  Two plays later, the crowd hushes to an eerie silence.  Notre Dame tailback Cierre Wood streaks 62 yards for a touchdown.  86,000 Sooners are stunned.  With one play, the roiling stadium turns to a church.

It stays that way for nearly three quarters, as the impenetrable Irish defense baffles the Sooner attack.  Their high powered, gun slinging offense is stymied. Squeaking out a few field goals, they enter the 4th quarter with exactly 0 yards rushing.  The crowd comes to life briefly, when, midway through the 4th frame Oklahoma grinds in a touchdown to knot the score at 13 apiece.  But the gutsy Irish respond immediately, once again, when quarterback Everett Golson connects for a 50 yard completion deep into Sooner territory.  The crowd is hushed once more.  Being bullied in Memorial Stadium is a foreign concept for Sooner fans, and they stand gape jawed and silent in the dry night air.

An interception and a few touchdowns later, the Irish assume a comfortable 30-13 lead as the fourth quarter draws to a close.  With a minute left and contest decided, the aluminum bleachers begin to empty as crimson clad students cascade towards the exits.  We stay behind, savoring every remaining second of the improbable win.  Irish victories in Norman don’t come around often, the last one occurring in 1966.  Remaining Sooner fans are gracious in defeat, helping us capture the moment in a handful of photos, exchanging handshakes and well wishes for the rest of the season.  To a man, they’ve been polite hosts.

I can only hope we show them the same courtesy next year in South Bend.  Courteously escorting the Sooners to the exits of Rocks House amidst their flowing tears of anguish and defeat…

Thank you to my Sooner friend Heather for the gameday guidance, and hopefully we can connect next time I make it down to Norman.

Special thanks to Bryce and Kate.  As always, great to catch a game with you guys, and look forward to a few adventures next fall!

Thanks again to Dad for joining my tour again this fall, and glad we could finally get you a taste of some proper Texas Barbecue.  I’ll make an Irish fan of you yet…


Drugs are sumptuous, and certain humanity cannot get the medicaments they need. Certain drugs are as a rule used to treat varied types of infection caused by certain types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. If you’re concerned about sexual problem, you probably know about http://isviagraoverthecounter.com/Male-Enhancement-Pills.html. What are side effects of Cialis? There are different drugs for male impotence cure. Very likely Male Enhancement Pills Over the Counter is a very complicated topic. More information about Cialis available at best male enhancement pills over the counter. While the generic is credited with improving nausea, it may also kill the mood in bedroom. All kinds of medications, from those that are mature ‘all natural’ to those that are chemically produced in a laboratory, may cause some kind of aftereffects.

Share this post:

Bedlam! Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State

The last regular season game on our schedule was a return to the stretching plains of the OklahomaTerritory.We were in Norman to witness yet another one of the most storied programs in the history of College Football; the Oklahoma Sooners.Home to seven national championships, 149 consensus All Americans, five Heisman Trophy winners, and of course, Brian Bosworth.

It was rivalry week up in the SoonerState, and the Sooners themselves were hosting their hunter orange clad in state rivals from OklahomaState.“Bedlam” as the game is otherwise known, in parlance of this irritating modern trend of branding every rivalry contest.

Oddly enough, the roles were reversed this year.The perennial powerhouse Sooners were at the finale of a rather disappointing 6-5 season, largely driven by the delicate shoulder of injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford.The Norman natives were growing grumbly with long time head coach Bob Stoops.Proof that despite going to seven BCS Bowls (four championship games) and a career .801 winning percentage, your only as good as your last game in Sooner country.I for one would be more than happy to relieve them of the “visored one” for greener gridiron pastures in South Bend.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, came into the season with lofty expectations on the strength of their powerful returning offensive trio of Zac Robinson (QB), Kendall Hunter (RB) and Dez Bryant (WR).Unfortunately, Hunter went down with an injury, while Bryant managed to get himself suspended by the NCAA for the remainder of the season for talking to Deion Sanders (Proving once again that nothing good can come of conversing with Deion Sanders).Though their 9-2 record was impressive, a win over their heated in state rivals would be a nice little capstone to finish off the season, and vault them into a BCS payday.

That big payday would have to wait, however, because the Sooner defense absolutely stifled the Cowboys all day long, surprising considering Texas Tech had lit them up for 41 points the week before.In fact, smothering would be an understatement, as OSU could only manage 109 yards of total offense on the day, and didn’t convert a sole first down in the entire second half.Their punter may have needed a hip replacement after kicking the ball away a total of fourteen times.While Oklahoma’s offense wasn’t spectacular, Demarco Murray still scampered for two touchdowns and Freshman quarterback Landry Jones didn’t give the ball away.At the end of the day, Oklahoma strutted away with a dominant victory, blanking the ‘Pokes 27-0.

Despite the high caliber matchup on the field, this game was far and away the sloppiest we had seen all season.Although there were only four official turnovers in the game, in the first half alone the ball was fumbled five times.Even the officials bungled their duties, having to second review a handful of plays and dragging out an already glacially slow game.While these “official reviews” are a great time to grab a sandwich and beer at home, I wouldn’t advise it at The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.I grew concerned that Mindy had been abducted when she disappeared for over half a quarter braving one of the woefully understaffed and serpentine lines at the concession stand.By my count there were a grand total of three soda fountains open to serve the entire 85,606 person crowd of crimson and cream.

Prior to the game, we had a chance to check out the infamous “Sooner Schooner”. The schooner is a replica covered wagon that the Oklahoma “Ruf/Neks” (no that is not a typo) parade around the endzone after each Oklahoma score.The Schooner might be one of the more impressive touchdown celebrations in College Football, as the wagon and horse team (Boomer and Sooner) race out onto the field with a Ruf/Nek precariously hanging out the back of the wagon gripping a flapping OU flag.They gallop out in an arc that nearly reaches the fifty yard line. Up close and personal, however, it’s deceptively small.Comically, the Sooner Schooner is about the size of a covered Radio Flyer pulled by a band of pygmy ponies.I think Ralphie the Buffalo is safe as the largest livestock mascot in the Big 12.

Although Norman is a storied and quintessential little college town, our trip to Oklahoma would be a short one, as we returned home promptly after the game because Mindy had caught a rather nasty bug.So on the next go around, I will be sure to swing into Earl’s RibPalace to give you some first hand reporting on their storied swine.


Despite the abbreviated trip, it was a gorgeous sunny day for football, and one could do a lot worse than spending a late fall Saturday afternoon in Norman when the Sooners are playing.

Boomer Sooner!

Special thanks to our friend, Eric, for the hospitality in the game-day village and helping us find some tickets to the game.

Drugs are sumptuous, and certain folk cannot get the medicaments they need. Certain drugs are mostly used to treat varied types of contagion caused by definite types of bacteria, such as tonsillitis and infections of the throat. If you’re concerned about sexual problem, you probably know about http://isviagraoverthecounter.com/Male-Enhancement-Pills.html. What are side effects of Cialis? There are different drugs for male impotence cure. Very likely Male Enhancement Pills Over the Counter is a very complicated topic. More information about Cialis available at best male enhancement pills over the counter. While the generic is credited with improving nausea, it may also kill the mood in bedroom. All kinds of medications, from those that are considered ‘all natural’ to those that are chemically produced in a laboratory, may cause some kind of aftereffects.

Share this post:

© 2024 Pigskin Pursuit

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑