I received a weird direct message on Twitter from a friend yesterday.
“Getting a tad nervous for the Sooners game yet? Gonna be awesome,” it read.
The message itself wasn’t strange; the way I found myself responding was.
“Eh, not really. Feel like this is house $.”
I’ve rooted for Oklahoma for nearly 37 years now. I first saw the Sooners play for a national championship when I was six. I’ve watched them play for five more since then. Win tomorrow, and they’re gunning for their third national title since I’ve been alive.
In college football terms, that’s actually a whole hell of a lot. So the happy-to-be-there vibe is catching me off-guard. I don’t recall it ever going down that way in the past.
Maybe I should take that as a sign of personal growth or some other type of self-delusion. More likely, this season has been such a dramatic improvement from the last one that I’m having a hard time getting worked up over how it ends.
At this time last year, I can’t think of a single OU fan I know who didn’t harbor serious doubts about the direction of the team. The program looked like the last piece of bread in the bag, about three days past the expiration date. Bob Stoops was starting to sound like Mack Brown. A heaping helping of coaching changes were coming, which are generally the sign of a regime on the way out.
The 2015 campaign completely flipped the script. You could actually see the squad improving as the year wore on, instead of wallowing in a spiral of growing disappointment. The fact that expectations for the team were so low only made it more enjoyable.
Win or lose against Clemson, OU will enter 2016 carrying the favorite’s burden: Success won’t be measured in winning, but in not failing. For at least one more day, though, we get to live it up with this team.