Postscripts is my weekly wrap of the week that was on the road and in college football. Look for my travel news and notes here each Thursday, along with some of my opinions about what’s happening in the college game we all love. – Matthew Postins
I’m amazed at the free parking you can find at major college football games. Add Oklahoma to the list of venues where I’ve parked for free for a big game. When I went up to Norman, Oklahoma, last weekend I parked at the Lloyd Noble Center, the home of OU basketball, for free. If you’re coming from the south this is a great location because you don’t have to fuss with the game traffic closer to the stadium and there’s a free shuttle that can get you to and from the stadium. However, if you’re in a walking mood, go for it. The walk was about 10-15 minutes for me and I wasn’t even going full stride.
My adventures in media. A quick look at the weird stuff that happened to me as I covered my game this week:
I must hand it to the Oklahoma Sooners media staff. It was a great experience. I knew where everything was going to be at press will call, the gameday staff knew where to direct me, the photo room was perfectly sized for the media on hand and the staff on the field was friendly and understanding of the large amount of media and the small amount of space on the sideline (it’s literally no more than six paces from the sideline to the wall, which is great for fans but not so great for the media). But the fan experience is what matters. Kudos all around. One of the best media experiences I’ve had all year.
My post-trip quick note. We have plenty of content coming at College Football America and RoadTripSports.com from our Week 12 travels. But for me, here are my quick notes on the stadium I visited last week:
Oklahoma: I’ve been to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium before, but never for a game. So I hadn’t really taken the time to tour the entire stadium. If you go start on the visitor’s side (Jenkins Avenue) and check out the line of statues of OU greats, from Barry Switzer to Billy Sims. You’ll also find most of the great tailgating in this area. As mentioned, there is great free parking at the Lloyd Noble Center. Make sure you walk around the entire stadium before going in. There’s a large analog clock and a memorial to fallen Sooner veterans near Brooks Street and the players arrive for the Sooner Walk on the opposite side where Jenkins meets Lindsey Street. Inside the Sooners have done a great job of building onto the shell of a stadium that is decades old, but it doesn’t look its age. The home side features the program’s myriad accomplishments along the press box, while the south end zone features a large club seating project that is now complete and offers a great in-game experience (think wait staff and private tablets). With the Sooner Schooner, the Ruf-Necks and the entertaining Sooner Band, gameday at Oklahoma is something you have got to try.
Meanwhile, check out the galleries from some of the stadiums I’ve visited this season (more are coming):
Stadium counts. According to our handy FBS Stadiums We’ve Visited list at RoadTripSports.com, I am now up to 52 FBS stadiums visited with the visit to OU.
My photos. My gallery from my last game covered is below. Plus, to see all of our game and stadium galleries, click here to go to our Facebook page.
Heisman candidate of the week. We’re reaching that point where the Heisman candidates to highlight are dwindling because there are so few legitimate candidates. West Virginia quarterback Will Grier doesn’t have a shot of winning the award this year, but assuming he chooses to stay for his senior year in Morgantown he is a name worth filing away. Grier, in his first season at WVU, has the third-most passing yards in the nation (3,440 yards), along with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. With the impending departures of Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph to the NFL, Grier stands to be the top quarterback in the Big 12 and the country next season. West Virginia’s offense fits him like a glove.
Previous Heisman Candidates of the Week profiled: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (Week 1); Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Week 2); Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph (Week 3); Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (Week 4); Stanford RB Bryce Love (Week 5); San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny (Week 6); Arizona QB Khalil Tate (Week 7); Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor (Week 8); Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (Week 9); Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Week 10).
Hot seat coach of the week. Kent State’s Paul Haynes has the hottest seat in the MAC. In fact, the fifth-year Kent State head coach has been on my hot seat list for a few years now. The reason? The Golden Flashes are 14-44 under Haynes with Year 5 nearly complete. That should be enough to get Haynes a pink slip, even in the MAC. One thing to keep in mind. Haynes missed the first few weeks of the season fighting prostate cancer. Does that merit consideration in the final decision-making process?
Previous hot seat coaches profiled: Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M (Week 1); Bret Bielema, Arkansas (Week 2); Mike Riley, Nebraska (Week 3); Steve Addazio, Boston College (Week 4); Ed Orgeron, LSU (Week 5); Brad Lambert, Charlotte (Week 6); Matt Wells, Utah State (Week 7); Kalani Sitake, BYU (Week 8); Butch Jones, Tennessee (Week 9); Bob Davie, New Mexico (Week 10).
Hot coaching name of the week. Let’s talk about what SMU head coach Chad Morris has done on The Hilltop. In his third season he has the Mustangs bowl eligible, two years after SMU won just two games. That’s a minor miracle. Morris was the offensive coordinator at Clemson before taking over at SMU and has Texas roots, as he got his start as a high school coach in East Texas before making the jump to offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010 under Todd Graham. Morris was the head coach at Austin (Texas) Lake Travis the two years prior, an offensive powerhouse where he mentored quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Morris interviewed at Texas Tech the year Kliff Kingsbury was hired, and last year Baylor was interested before SMU offered him an extension. If the Texas A&M job becomes open it is assumed Morris will be a target. But because he has great relationships with Texas high school coaches and Texas has some of the best recruits in the country, that makes Morris a potential target for any Power 5 program trying to tap that well. Expect to hear his name in the coming weeks.
Previous hot name coaches profiled: Mike London, Howard (Week 1); Tim Rebowe, Nicholls State (Week 2); Frank Wilson, UTSA (Week 3); Dave Clawson, Wake Forest (Week 4); Neal Brown, Troy (Week 5); Scott Frost, UCF (Week 6); Mike Houston, James Madison (Week 7); Al Bagnoli, Columbia (Week 8); Matt Campbell, Iowa State (Week 9); Blake Anderson, Arkansas State (Week 10).
A special thanks. Each week College Football America Yearbook is on the road covering college football games, and we couldn’t do it without the cooperation of the sports information directors that work for those schools. We just want to thank the following SID departments for their graciousness and help in doing what we do — Oklahoma (Matthew Postins), Texas (Chuck Cox), and Cumberland (TN) (Kendall Webb).
Our work on other sites. The great thing about what we do with College Football America is that it enables us to support other partners that we work with, such as the American Football Coaches Association, CowboysHQ.com and HeartlandCollegeSports.com. Our photos are used in AFCA newsletter and publications on a regular basis. I cover the Cowboys for CowboysHQ and am putting together scouting pieces on potential 2018 draft picks. I also cover the Big 12 for HCS. Below you’ll find links to some of our work with those entities in the past week.
When it comes to the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff: It’s the Sooners… and the Sooners https://t.co/dz5hKV2q1P
— HCS (@Heartland_CS) November 13, 2017
Understanding & coaching run progression is fundamental to the success of your DL
— AFCA (@WeAreAFCA) November 9, 2017
#CollegeFootballAmerica shot the Kansas #Jayhawks game last weekend vs. Texas and put together these shots #KUFBall #RockChalk #EarnIt #JayCrew18 #TeamCole #Big12FB and a great photo gallery https://t.co/V8kV3nYFp2 pic.twitter.com/Ado3Y57c4t
— RoadTripSports (@RoadTripSports) November 15, 2017
Where I’ll be this week. It’s playoff time in the lower divisions, so I’m driving to Belton, Texas, to see Chapman face Mary Hardin-Baylor in the first round of the Division III playoffs.
We’ll see you down the road.
Matthew Postins is the editor-in-chief of the College Football America Yearbook. Catch up with him on Twitter at @PostinsPostcard.
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