SAN ANTONIO -- As a reporter I try and remain neutral, but I have to admit that I was secretly pulling for Missouri in tonight's Big 12 title game.
They were riding a magical season and were the No. 1 team in country playing for a conference title and a guaranteed spot in the national championship game. For so many seasons they have not been remotely this competitive and it really felt like this was their one chance.
The past two weeks Matt and I have spent a lot of time with Missouri fans, and I was always impressed with the level of dedication that these fans put into a team that historically has given them so little back.
Not to mention it is a fan base that has had to suffer through two of the most hard to swallow college losses of the past 20 years ( The Nebraska kick-reception game and the Colorado 5th-down game). Seeing the looks on some of the fans faces as Oklahoma pulled away left me a little disappointed that their season had to end this way.
But the final score was 38-17, and there's no question OU was the superior team. With Allen Patrick and Chris Brown running down the Tigers in the second half, it was a game for a smash-mouth football purist. That was fine with me.
Turn that frown upside down. Daniels and Maclin will be back next year!
For most things in sports I am somewhat of a purist. I obviously hate the designated hitter, and for most of my life I hated sporting events that didn't take place on real grass. However, on this trip I've been completely won over by the new generation of artificial surface.
There are so many advantages when compared to AstroTurf or real grass that it's not even a competition. For starters, the field is always in immaculate condition no matter how many games have been played on it. If it rains, the field can be drained quickly and a high quality of play can still be enjoyed.
Even as a sideline reporter I can notice a difference. Last weekend I stood out on the frozen grass at Arrowhead Stadium and my legs and feet ached afterwards. This was from just standing, I can't even imagine having to play and get tackled and driven into the rock-hard soil. Although I have to think even frozen real grass has to feel better than the original AstroTurf which was just rolled out over cement. It's almost unfathomable that AstroTurf lasted so long.
In contrast, the new FieldTurf is amazingly soft. It feels like grass would if it were in perfect weather all year round. The other added benefit is that on this new surface you can drop to your knees to get that perfect photo and never have to worry about grass stains.
Today I had the pleasure of standing on the sidelines at the Alamodome and it was lovely. The Alamodome uses RealGrass (a lesser synthetic surface in my mind), and not FieldTurf, but it's still preferable to grass.
I'm still not sold on games in domes. I guess it's nice that big games aren't decided by inclement weather, but I found the noise semi-unbearable. As I sit here typing this, my ears are ringing like I just came out of a three-hour rock concert. Most of the noise was made by the Oklahoma fans who were out in full force and outnumbered the Mizzou faithful at least 3-to-1.
We caught up with some of these crazy Sooners and sung some showtunes with them before the game at the alumni Boomer Bash. We even got an OU legend to join in. You can check it out in today's video called "Oklahoma! The Musical".
Even the mysterious OU Mascot made it to the bash. What is this thing?
This is my last post of the Going Big trip, so I just wanted to say thank you to all of the people that watched our videos and read the blogs. It's a little sad going home, but a home cooked meal sure beats even Matt's top-ranked Bob Evans breakfast. The bad news is that Going Big is ending . . . the good news is that Going Bowling is just beginning. In a little more than two weeks Matt and I will be back on the road on a bowl trip adventure that is sure to be a wild time.
Rumor has it my next post might be coming to you straight from Hawaii. So until then, Aloha.