|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
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Monday, October 13, 2003
Posted 9:04 AM by WiN
2003 Sooners - All-Time Best College Team?
Some people surely are starting to think about the possibility, even though the season is only half-way over, after the Sooners put the smack-down on a talented and senior-laden Texas team in the Cotton Bowl Saturday. Ironically, what looked to be one of the two or three strongest teams on Oklahoma's schedule coming into the season - Alabama - may be the weakest team they'll play until a October 25 matchup with struggling Colorado. North Texas' 37-3 and 31-7 losses on the road to Oklahoma and Arkansas are looking more and more like pretty respectable performances, and a road loss to Air Force is certainly no disgrace. Fresno State has played some tough road opponents (Tennessee, Oklahoma, Hawaii) but may not lose again this year. UCLA, who lost an early heartbreaker at Colorado in their first game, should go undefeated in October and have only two tough road games at Washington State and USC standing between them and a 10-win season.
How good is this Oklahoma team? It's hard to judge from the stats, because with the exception of the 'Bama game the reserves have played significant 4th-quarter minutes, skewing especially the defensive numbers. Saturday against Texas, even the second-string offense could have easily had 6-14 more points had Stoops not called off the dogs and went to an ultra-vanilla playbook.
So what's left on the way to repeating 2000's perfect season? This week, the Sooners will have to get by a dangerous Missouri team that can attack their one weakness with super-athlete Brad Smith at QB (4th in the Big XII, 41st nationally in all-purpose YPG), last week's Big XII offensive player of the week. Then in two weeks, the Sooners host the surging Oklahoma State Cowboys, who as a Thanksgiving-weekend rival have been a thorn in their side under 3rd-year coach Les Miles. This year, the Sooners said "no deal" to moving the game from its' normal mid-season spot on the schedule, and will catch the Cowboys in the middle of a brutal stretch in their season consisting of Kansas State, Texas Tech, at Texas A&M, at OU and then Texas. I like the Sooners' chances in that scenario. The final game of the season sees Stoops' squad going into Lubbock to face Texas Tech's offensive juggernaut led by former Sooner offensive co-ordinator Mike Leach and runaway national offensive player B.J. Symons (492 YPG passing, 511 YPG total offense, 165.8 passing efficiency). This game could very well set a modern-era record for total offense in a game, as together the two teams are averaging almost 1,100 YPG (Tech and Mississippi combined for almost 1,300 yds September 27th in a 49-45 shootout). Then comes the Big XII title game, where the Sooners will almost certainly face Barry Switzer's old rival the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Who would the Sooners play in the Super Dome on January 4th? Smart money is on the winner of the huge November 1st Virginia Tech-Miami showdown in Blacksburg. Right now, I'd say it'll be the Sooners and the Hokies, unless the Pitt Panthers throw a monkey wrench into the Big East title race. In that case, the dark horse would have to be a familiar January foe to the Sooners, Bobby Bowden's Florida State Seminoles. Should the Sooners continue to play to the level they've been at the last four weeks, scoring 50 or more points in four straight games for the first time in their storied history and allowing only 44 total points while the game was still in question (37 by the defense), an 8th Mythical National Championship and a place alongside history's most dominant teams is assured.
FYI, Jerry Palm of CollegeBCS.com has the Sooners at less than a 1-point leader over #2 Miami in his BCS formula simulation. Should the two teams continue unbeaten, the BCS will have Miami number one and the Sooners number two, flip-flopping their respective positions in the "human" rankings.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.