October: College football gets serious. OKC sees it first-ever homegrown professional soccer playoff game. NBA training camp begins with high expectations.
Sooner nation meets the Mountaineers
At 11 a.m. today, the University of Oklahoma football team hosts the West Virginia Mountaineers, the college basketball playground of NBA legend Jerry West.
The Mountaineers’ high-octane offensive should be a worry for Sooner fans: OU’s defense has given up 65 points in just three games. Eleven different WVU offensive players have caught a pass in their three games to date. If OU falls to WVU in a 500-plus-total-yard let down, expect to hear robust calls on the Sports Animal for the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.
If you are super-motivated to dig into some smart analysis of the flip-side of the game (OU’s offensive vs. the WVU defense) prior to kick-off, I recommend this post by The Football Brainiacs.
As a bonus, check out this artistic take on a theatrical trailer for OU’s 2015-16 season:
State schools face off
At 3 p.m. in Stillwater, hometown of the great Red Dirt songwriter Bob Childers, Oklahoma State hosts Kansas State. The Wildcats are coached by Bill Snyder, who just may be the most impressive football coach alive (and also the classiest).
The Cowboys have under-performed rushing the ball so far this year. They only averaged two yards per carry against Texas. This could pose a problem with Kansas State’s rushing defense, which ranks eighth in the nation. However, OSU has had success this year despite the rushing totals keeping defenses on their toes by rotating two quarterbacks: one a gunslinger and the other a dual-threat. Again, if you are the type that likes to take a more Nate Silver-approach to your sports fandom, the Oklahoma State website has this “inside the numbers” preview of the game.
And, of course, here is OSU’s hype video for this season:
In two years, Oklahoma City has gone from no professional soccer team to its fledgling FC (football club), hosting a first-round playoff soccer game at one of Oklahoma’s most historic sports venues, built at a time when populist Democrats were actually popular in Oklahoma.
Your hometown OKC Energy FC are the No. 2 seed in the West division of the USL. They host the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at 6 p.m. Sunday in OKC. The Energy are strong at home this season and are led by one of the best players in the USL, Danish striker Danni Konig. NonDoc recently ran two pieces on the team: an overview of the team heading into the playoffs and a Q and A with Energy co-owner Bob Funk Jr. about how “soccer can unify a community.”
If you are not sufficiently pumped for OKC’s maiden plunge into professional soccer-playoff action, than maybe this USL promo piece will get you to #useyourenergy:
A healthy Thunder roster starts training camp
To add to the array of intriguing sports options for local consumers, we have the once-inexperienced Thunder-U entering pre-season camp with a healthy roster and new coach, Billy Donovan, manufactured straight out of Sam Presti’s analytics utopia.
Kevin Durant is in the final year of his contract, and many NBA fanatics believe this is a make-or-break year for the Thunder to win the championship. If the team stays healthy, it has the experience, talent and coaching to surpass its two toughest opponents in the West: the “Luke Walton is suddenly head coach” Golden State Warriors and the rich-keep-getting-richer Spurs.
If your personal budget is tight, pre-season games are a good way to see the team. There are two games in OKC and one in Tulsa. The Oct. 9 game in OKC should have some intrigue with the Thunder going up against the Turkish professional team Fenerbahce Ulker, which Enes Kanter used to play for.
Here’s an official Thunder hype video to get ready for opening night versus San Antonio on Oct. 28.