In this week's episode of Going Deep, Matt Tait and Eric Sorrentino talk with Jake Trotter, Oklahoma beat writer for The Oklahoman. Trotter talks about the joys of covering one of the nation's top teams and, along with breaking down the matchup, offers the KU football team a little advice ...
The Oklahoma University football team's 2008 media guide is not overly flashy.
Unlike the Texas media guide, OU's does not feature complex holograms depicting the school's past standouts. And unlike the one put together at Texas A&M;, it does not come in a glossy, hardback edition.
Of course, when your program has these little facts and figures to throw around - seven national championships, 24 bowl championships, 41 conference championships, 144 All-Americans - you can get away with a more conservative design.
As Kansas University coach Mark Mangino said earlier this week, as his 16th-ranked Jayhawks prepare to take on No. 4 Oklahoma at 2:30 p.m. today in Norman, Okla., "We have to be well prepared as we go into Norman this weekend."
By all accounts, the Sooners are a team with few weaknesses. Their quarterback, sophomore Sam Bradford, is a favorite to become the school's fifth Heisman Trophy winner. Their offensive line, which didn't lose a starter from last season, might be the best in the country.
And had the media-relations folks in Norman wanted to, they also could have pointed out in their 2008 media guide that the Sooners have been ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for more weeks - 97 - than any other team in history, that they have a higher winning percentage - .762 - than any other team in the modern college football era and that they have won five of the past eight Big 12 championships.
"There's no question Oklahoma, to this point, is the most complete football team that we're going to play," said Mangino, who is 0-2 against the Sooners in his career.
Oklahoma hit its first significant road bump of the season last week, when, after spending the past two weeks atop the national rankings - a familiar perch over the years - the Sooners endured a disappointing 45-35 loss to rival Texas that dropped them to 5-1 overall and the No. 4 spot in the polls.
The loss certainly didn't help their hopes for a third consecutive Big 12 championships. Texas will have to lose at least twice more for Oklahoma to have a shot at winning the South Division, but members of the team aren't exactly calling it a season quite yet.
"Oh, yeah," Sooners defensive end Alan Davis said. "We're ready to go. We're over that."
Conventional sports knowledge tells us that, when a giant the size of Oklahoma goes down one week, its opponent the following week should watch out. Mangino, though, was quick to brush off the suggestion that the Texas loss would have any effect on the Sooners this week.
"I look for them to be ready to play and show no effects of coming off a loss," Mangino said, insisting the Sooners are ready to play every week, regardless of past events.
But some Kansas players aren't so sure.
"I know how it is when the coaches are on you that week after a loss, and you just want to forget the game and get back out on the field," Kansas cornerback Chris Harris said. "I don't know if it's an advantage, because you still got that game in the back of your mind.
"But you're just more eager to play."