For those who need catching up, ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd went off on a series of OU-related rants on his Wednesday show. It all started with a somewhat random line of questioning for analyst Lee Corso about the criticism Ohio State has received for its performances in the last two BCS championship games. Herd used the opportunity to argue that "Choklahoma" deserved more criticism for their recent BCS blowups than the Buckeyes, and he continued to bang on OU and head coach Bob Stoops vociferously after the interview with Corso was finished. The rants sparked predictable outrage on the OU message boards. (An online broadcast of the show can be found here.)
Homerism will admit to being a big fan of The Herd. Cowherd usually brings informed opinions to his show, and he loves to go the contrarian route. His unique perspective and approach to sports analysis is pretty refreshing when compared with most of the drivel out there. Agree with him or not, he knows what makes for compelling sports radio.
Like the rest of Sooner Nation, though, Homerism can't help but cringe a little--or a lot--whenever Herd turns his attention to the OU program and its fans. The show's usual listeners are well aware that Herd's takes on the subject usually haven't been kind. He loves to call Oklahomans "booger-eaters" and discuss their affinity for pro wrestling. He comes up with irritating nicknames for OU icons like "Sponge Bob Bowl Flop." He needles Sooner fans over disappointing losses. But, most of all, Herd loves to take OU fans to task for talking trash and being "obnoxious," especially when their team doesn't back them up.
Here's the part that really sucks: It's aggravating because it's true.
I'm not talking about the Hulk Hogan-loving, nose-picking shtick. I mean the part about obnoxious, trash-talking morons. Stoops' Troops has plenty of them. You know the ones I'm talking about: standing in the middle of Bourbon Street wearing a Jason White jersey and jean shorts, yelling "L-S-Whoooo?!" in the face of a Tiger fan. Or, maybe you know him as the guy who got in a fight with an OSU fan at a turnpike service station after a Bedlam game. Let's not forget the dude screaming wholly inappropriate comments about a USC male cheerleader's sexuality as the Trojan Spirit Squad made it's way into the Orange Bowl through the Pro Player Stadium parking lot. (That one was me.)
Having toured college football hot spots around the country, though, Homerism can safely say that you'll find an equally proportionate number of idiotic jackasses in places like Baton Rouge and Columbus and Austin (probably a higher number there). In fact, their individual identities sometimes even shift among the masses as their levels of intoxication vary. It's a phenomenon that does seem to be less prevalent on the West Coast. But let's not mistake college football apathy for non-douchery, lest you've never watched an episode of The Hills or Sunset Tan.
So, why does the Herd pick on OU? Well, it could be that he genuinely hates Oklahoma. Herd is an avowed West Coast homer who could be politely described as a "star-humper." He revels in the flashy celebrity power of a place like USC and its high-profile recruiting classes and rock star athletes. It's easy to see how a place like Oklahoma City could offend his sensibilities.
Maybe, though, he has figured out that OU is just the easiest mark at the moment. We're all aware of the Sooners' flameouts on the big stage lately. You don't get prime real estate on ESPN Radio without knowing how to leverage that kind of easy opportunity to draw listeners to your show. After all, there's no better way to get ratings than to get people worked up. And making fun of Oklahoma football is like telling Sarah Palin that Adam and Eve isn't science.
So if it bothers you that much as an OU fan, your only option is to grow some thicker skin. If you just ignore him, he'll get bored. Before you fire off a hastily written e-mail about how OU would "kill" Team X, stop. Count to 10. Remember, that's what the Herd wants you to do. And be thankful you're not a Tennessee or Notre Dame fan. At least OU is relevant.
(Or, you can be like me. Flood his inbox on January 9 with pictures of Bob Stoops holding that beautiful crystal ball and Pete Carroll crying like a little girl. Boomer Sooner!)