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The Oklahoma Sooners quest to start and finish #1

**As the beginning of the college football season draws near, there are questions that certain programs must answer. Can they recover from off-season adversity? Can they live up to high expectations? Can they prove that they are not a one-hit wonder? Today begins part one of a five-part series on ETSF called "Show and Prove" where we'll highlight five college football programs that must demonstrate they can answer the call of the season. First up, Oklahoma.**

There's nothing like being number one. When you're on top of the world, when you're the best at what you do, and you've been recognized by the hard work you've put in that climb to the mountaintop was totally worth the effort. Its an awesome feeling, and once you get it you never want to let that feeling go. However, there's nothing worse than being prematurely crowned for the top spot. When you know that people perceive one thing that might not be 100% accurate. Maybe they have higher expectations than you do of yourself, but if you're being honest with yourself you know how good you really are.

Maybe its the bitter Oklahoma Sooner fan in me talking.

Yet, here we stand with the college football season upon us and we see my beloved Oklahoma Sooners ranked #1 in the nation. Bulls-eye, right on the chest.

Kenny is notorious for using one of his favorite maxim in a time like this.

"Sometimes you've got to just get out of your own way." - K. Masenda

There are times when I've heard the man use the phrase and in my mind I'll think, okay Ken's lost his damn mind...clearly A, B, and C is wrong and if the team doesn't fix these things then its a wrap. Sometimes I'll watch a play, or a game, or a season of Oklahoma football and I'll be justified because I like to think I know what the hell I'm talking about. Other times, I'll just sit there dazed and confused not knowing how in the hell did we get here? Losing a big game, making bonehead decisions, lapses in judgment if you will. Its one thing when a team is simply more talented than you, or better coached. Its another thing altogether when you know your team is fully capable of being the best that they can be, and knowing that they can't be stopped.

"Sometimes you've got to just get out of your own way." - K. Masenda

Let me get some of this hyperbole of the Sooners squad out of the way. Oklahoma will come into the season with a leading candidate for the Biletnikoff award (wide receiver Ryan Broyles), the Davey O'Brien award (quarterback Landry Jones) and if not for injury the Butkus award (linebacker Travis Lewis). So yes, from a sheer talent standpoint Oklahoma is "capable" of finishing the season where they start, at #1. Yet, to ultimately "Show and Prove" there will be a few questions that need to be answered.

Can the Sooners defense make it to the Red River Shootout with the linebackers in flux? Can the Sooners actually run the damn ball again? Can Landry Jones win a road game against a big-time opponent? Can Bob Stoops become "Big Game Bob" again?

One thing that Stoops said in an interview a few weeks back in regards to his team being ranked #1 was something that piqued my interest. "Its time for us to win another national championship. We're embracing the fact that we are #1, and we are the team to beat. We're good enough to win, and we've got to go and take it." Those were the words of Bobby Stoops. I've never heard the man talk like that in the 12 years he's been the head ball coach. Its freaked me out at first, but then I realized that if he's not going to be the one to say it then no one will.

With the turmoil that surrounds the college football landscape, this is the perfect time for Oklahoma to regain the throne and climb that mountaintop. They'll face adversity, ridicule, and other shenanigans, but really they just need to follow the mantra of my partner-in-crime.

"Sometimes you've got to just get out of your own way." - K. Masenda



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