The Deep Cut is a companion piece to the Opponent Preview, in which I take a closer look at something related to the opponent, with a humorous slant.
With our Week 2 opponent, the Oklahoma Sooners, I wanted to really get a good idea of the mindset of Sooners fans. So I went to the experts, and our good friends over at Burnt Orange Nation were more than happy to help. Thanks to William Schoff for his responses.
1. So, over the past the Cleveland Browns have taken Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) #1 overall in consecutive drafts. How screwed are the Browns for the foreseeable future?
Burnt Orange Nation: I’ll preface this answer by saying I am actually writing this email back to you in a UCLA long-sleeve tee. Straight ahead of me, about 500 yards away from the Cleveland Convention Center, sits Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium -- a large pit of failure that has doomed career after career of hated Texas rivals.
Everything Cleveland does is wrong. I have only spent about 48 hours of my life here and it makes no sense. It’s like the founders of Cleveland looked at Chicago and said “That looks fun. How can we do the opposite of that?”
There is a bit of schadenfreude every time a rival player gets drafted by Cleveland. The Browns have had the opportunity to tank the careers of two rival Heisman trophy winning and Texas-hating quarterbacks -- both from Central Texas. You never WISH that on someone, but yes -- it is very enjoyable to see these rivals end up in Cleveland.
Keep in mind though, it was Cleveland that almost tanked Colt McCoy’s career. We aren’t entirely immune from getting Browns-ed.
2. Speaking of Oklahoma quarterbacks, the presumptive starter Kyler Murray (formerly of Texas A&M again) got signed to an NCAA contract. Putting aside discussion of how stupid it is that the NCAA considers that ok but refuses to pay the players, what would you tell Murray to get him to skip the season and start his baseball career early?
Burnt Orange Nation: I am a Charlotte native and a die-hard Carolina Panthers fan. In Charlotte, there are two athletes that reign supreme: Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. Yet, do you know who has the richest professional athlete contract in Charlotte today? Nicolas Batum.
Football is the LAST sport to ever consider playing professionally. It pays the worst, your career is short and it will probably kill you. Why would you do that to your body (for free) when the alternative is leaving Norman for the Bay area and pocketing tens of millions over a nice career of 15-20 years as an All-Star second baseman for the Oakland A’s? I wouldn’t expect Kyler Murray to come back and play quarterback if he was on the Longhorns right now.
Hopefully he has a nice insurance policy. This move is long-term dumb.
3. Now, Texas has a sweet setup with Oklahoma, in that they never have to go to Norman for a football game. So maybe you’re the wrong person for this question, but what should I be doing while I’m in Oklahoma for this game?
Burnt Orange Nation: You’re paying to fly to Oklahoma? From California? In September? LMAO.
Dallas is only 200 miles away which is nice. Uh, we used to visit the Oklahoma reservation casinos because you can gamble at 18 (but you have to pay an ante on every hand). Choctaw is a good time.
I mean, there is literally nothing to do. I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe there is like a Dust Bowl museum or something.
4. UCLA and Texas are incredibly similar - prestigious academics, proud sporting tradition, public school - but unlike UCLA, your primary rivalry isn’t with the rich, snobby private school that loves to cover up sexual assault (unless Baylor is actually your primary rival). So, talk about what the Red River Rivalry is like.
Burnt Orange Nation: Baylor is not a rival. If it hadn’t been for Governor Ann Richards forcing Texas schools to invite the Bears along back in the mid-90s, Baylor wouldn’t be a Power Five program right now.
The Red River Rivalry is amazing. Played literally halfway between the two schools at the Texas State Fair in Dallas, the whole weekend is an absolute party. Getting to the fair and downing some fried Oreos and a Fletcher’s corn dog is an annual tradition.
The football game is the only game where Texas fans -- who have a country club reputation -- are rowdy as hell. It doesn’t matter if both teams are 6-0 or 0-6 -- the amount of vitriol and fury in the Cotton Bowl that early weekend in October is a sight to see.
I’m a multi-generational Longhorn. I’ve hated Oklahoma since I started watching football in the late 90s early 00s. When someone tells me they went to OU, I legitimately and involuntarily think less of them. It always baffles me when I meet someone who doesn’t hate Oklahoma. Everyone should hate Oklahoma.
They’ve had some solid years and great players over the last 20 years, and it’s made some RRRs very hard to watch. I’ll never forget the RRR in 2008 when Texas knocked off the top-ranked Sooners 45-35. Probably my favorite college football game of all-time, non-national championship category.
The RRR is special. And watching the Oklahoma half of the stadium empty out early as Texas fans shout ‘OU sucks’ legitimately warms my heart.
5. Now, the week after we play Oklahoma, you guys host USC. I don’t really have a question here, I just want you guys to kick their ass. That 2006 Rose Bowl was pretty cool, right?
Burnt Orange Nation: Holy shit was it cool. People have forgotten how much of a dynasty USC was back in the Pete Carroll years. Vince Young will never have to work a day in his life because of that game.
Also not really on topic but thanks for providing Longhorns fans with tons of laughs after our terrible loss to Maryland with that comeback on A&M last season. Really and truly, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for that.
6. Go ahead and give me your quick and dirty breakdown of this year’s Oklahoma team.
Burnt Orange Nation: Oklahoma - unfortunately - has a brilliant offensive mind as head coach. Kyler Murray will be good. This team is going to put up a lot of points. If UCLA in 2018 is anything like it was when the Bruins played Memphis last year, I’d be concerned.
Defensively, OU is not particularly strong. For that reason alone, I think Chip Kelly can find ways to match up with OU. I don’t know much about either team going into 2018, but I do know I’ll be putting my Sept. paycheck on the over in this game.
7. Who do you have winning this game? It’s ok if you don’t say us, we won’t hold it against you too much.
Burnt Orange Nation: I never pick Oklahoma. But if I’ve learned one thing about Oklahoma, it’s that they’ll probably look fantastic early in the season before faltering in an 11a game against an unranked conference foe later in the year.
I won’t pick against Chip Kelly either. Again, the only thing I’ll confidently say about this game is that the over will hit.
8. When we have roundtables, we always end with the Extra Point, which lets you talk about anything, so we might as well do that here also. Go ahead and say some mean things about anything.
Burnt Orange Nation: I can talk about anything huh? Let’s see: My favorite sleep shirt is a long-sleeve powder blue UCLA UA tee I bought at the on-campus bookstore in Los Angeles last year. I bought it because I was so disappointed after touring USC and it’s relatively lame campus (the Coliseum sucks, too) that I made it my mission the next day to go check out an actual cool campus in UCLA. It was gorgeous. I have no idea how UCLA doesn’t win every single recruiting battle. If UCLA had an on-campus stadium, it would be an unstoppable program.
Everyone told me I’d hate Los Angeles -- that it was like Houston but with worse traffic. I actually liked LA a lot more than I liked San Diego or San Francisco. I’m a big Los Angeles fan.
If Texas were to ever move conferences, the PAC 12 or the ACC makes sense to me. The one issue with the PAC 12 is that all the late start times will put Texas fans to bed. When I went up to Berkeley in 2016 -- the year Texas was embarrassed by the Bears -- the game was a 7p PST kick. Halftime almost put Texas fans to sleep. It was brutal. If we ever joined the PAC 12, we’d have to require no west coast kickoffs after 5:30.
Oh, and In-N-Out Burger has the worst fries of any fast food chain I’ve ever been to. (Editor’s note: we’re fighting now)
Again, thanks to William Schoff at Burnt Orange Nation for answering our very legitimate questions. Go give them a follow on Twitter at @BON_SBNation, and give Will a follow over at @willcurrys.