No Pulsa in Tulsa
DALLAS -- One of the best and worst things about this trip is the number of places we go. It's great, because now I have cocktail party conversation with almost anyone from anywhere in the country.
"Oh, you are from Grand Rapids, why that's a lovely and tremendously underrated city."
"Did you say you were from Norman? I had the most amazing cheeseburger while I was there"
The bad part is that we are often in places for such a short period of time that we don't always get to see everything that the city has to offer.
Yesterday we were in Tulsa, and I demanded that we take a walk around downtown Tulsa to get a feel for the place. Mainly I just wanted something cool to say about Tulsa in case it ever came up. Matt and I drove towards the tallest building, which we figured was probably the center of downtown, parked and got out to walk around. Here's a Tulsa fact for you, its tallest building, the BOK Tower, is also the tallest building in any of the "Plains states" (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas). You can see a photo of it on the front of our page right now.
Well, after 15 minutes of walking around downtown Tulsa, I now have something to say. Tulsa had an eerie similarity to Franklin College in that it was completely empty. We walked around on a weekday at lunchtime, next to a 50-story building with a number of other tall buildings around, and in 15 minutes we probably saw about four people. It was like the commercials for the new Will Smith movie.
Today we met with Mike Brooks, who is a stat guru for the Oklahoma Sooners. On this trip we have met a lot of fans, and I don't think any of them had a better relationship with their team. He just had this attitude about the Sooners and about college football that was overwhelmingly positive. For years, he has been dedicating a huge amount of his time and effort to keeping all different kinds of stats relating to college football and the Sooners because it brings him enjoyment to do so. He even parlayed it into a role as the team historian.
Brooks talked to us a little about how and why this endeavor started and you can watch his story in today's video "Brooks Books".
(Note: If you're a Mac user having trouble viewing this video, click here to download a program called Flip4Mac that will allow you watch it.)
One of the many projects that he is undertaking is ranking every team in college history in overall performance based on 56 criteria. Through this he is also able to rate the best teams for each decade or even the most prestigious program of all time. He created a system that doles out points based on football statistics, but also gives extra points for teams having Heisman winners or All-Americans. He has put all of his statistics into a spreadsheet and it adds up the points to give him lists of the best teams for any particular year or even for all-time.
Mike and his supercomputer
Whether or not he has discovered the best way to measure the best teams or programs of all time is up for debate, but I enjoyed seeing some of the results that the computer spit out. One of it's quirks that I enjoyed was that it didn't always rate national champions ahead of other teams from the same season. For example, last year's Ohio State team, due to their dominant regular season performance, outranked the Florida team that thrashed them in the BCS title game.
I'm a big fan of using statistical evidence to measure sports, or any performance for that matter. I find that many people rely on their jaded personal memories to make their lists of best teams or players ever. So on that level, I appreciated the effort that Mike had made to crown the best team ever (2004 Trojans), and it was also interesting to see how the best teams in my mind stacked up to the list that his computer had.