(Editor’s note: Best of Week rolls on as BH columnist JJ recounts his favorite trips to OU games. Follow JJ on Twitter: @JJ_Worthington.)
Since receiving my admissions letter to the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 2003, I have been hooked on one thing: Sooner football. I have been fortunate enough to witness many incredible athletic spectacles over the years, and thus Sooner games have almost become a religious experience to me, each one of them unique and memorable for their own reasons.
Since then, I have been fortunate to have attended 46 home, away and neutral site Oklahoma football games (four years as a student and three as an alumnus). Each venue has their own unique mystique, sights and sounds that truly sets college football apart as the most personalized experience in America.
Below is the list of my favorite in-person games in order. Keep in mind I have ranked them by:
- Personal memories
- Surrounding circumstance (trip with friends etc…)
1. 2006 Big 12 Championship – Nebraska (Kansas City)
This was by far my favorite team since I’ve been a fan. They didn’t have the most talent, but they sure had heart to bounce back from a 3-2 start to a Big 12 championship. Also, the inspiration for the best Oklahoma-themed rap came through the win (sorry @tonyjefferson1, freestyling with the pads still on is cooler).
2. 2004 – Nebraska
Those who weren’t in attendance may not understand, but those who braved the rain know why this was magical (a clear No. 2 behind the ’08 Tech game in terms of atmosphere, but still awesome). The feeling of being right on the edge of playing for a championship plus the “O” and “U” foam things being tossed around made this one a lot of fun.
3. 2007 – Texas
My senior year saw the Sooners break a two-game losing streak to Texas in Sam Bradford’s first start in the rivalry. Malcolm Kelly had a hell of a game and we got to see a Jason Aldean concert afterwards. Glorious day in the “Beer Gardens.” (If you have to ask where it is, you can’t come).
4. 2004 – Texas A&M
It always seems that OU is in for a fight when traveling to College Station, and this game was no exception. Trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Jason White brought the Sooners back with a surgical strike to Mark Bradley. Some Aggie sat in my seat the whole game and told me I wasn’t allowed to be in the A&M student section, then tried to fight me afterwards.
5. 2007 Big 12 Championship – Missouri (San Antonio)
Personally, this was one of the more satisfying games because of my personal distaste for Chase Daniel. The guy ran his mouth about how Oklahoma shouldn’t have won the previous game in Norman (41-31), then got smacked around for a full 60 minutes in Mizzou’s only game in school history ranked No. 1. Chanting M-I-Z- We – Beat – You on the Riverwalk was a great end to the evening.
6. 2010 – Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium)
This game was the big coming out party for Kenny Stills and the only time I got to see the 2010 Sooners in person. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be around good Sooner people after an extended period of time. Cool venue, exciting (read: closer than it should have been) game and great Sooner roll out in Ohio.
7. 2007 – Miami
In retrospect, this was a blowout game of a mediocre Miami team. But the buildup the whole week made this one fun as OU absolutely destroyed the ‘Canes. Student section was full as soon as the gates were opened, and the opposing team was viciously heckled the moment they stepped on the field. Omelets and Bloody Mary’s at 7 a.m. were great; the Hurricanes, not so much.
8. 2006 – Texas A&M
Another close win in College Station. This one was even more excellent because of the way it finished. The 12th Man was not only present, he was on the field and gave the game away with 30 seconds left. This also was an excellent pregame trash-talking game with ESPN College GameDay in town. Lunch was on a few unsuspecting Aggies who underestimated our group’s flip-cup skills.
9. 2009 – Florida (in Miami)
This was a loss, and we don’t need to go into the details here, but it was my first time at a BCS Championship Game. Unbelievable atmosphere and the pre-game tailgate was outstanding. I still contend Percy Harvin was the single best player on the field, and if we could have stopped a 3rd and long to save our lives, we could have come back in the fourth quarter. Still, that night on South Beach will live in infamy.
10. 2005 – UCLA (Rose Bowl)
My first and so far only trip to historic Rose Bowl stadium ended with a loss to UCLA. OU played awful, but the chance to see a game in the venue was worth the trip. The historic setting with the palm trees and sprawling grounds was like visiting holy ground.
I’m sure you have your own Sooner game-day memories both in Norman and around the country. Feel free to leave the very best below!