I am an Oklahoma Sooners fan. When I was a boy, I asked my dad whether he “liked OU or OSU” (as my bifurcated cousins wondered), and he replied that he tended to like OU.

On the one hand, it’s easy to be an OU fan, as any list of superlatives and quick facts demonstrate. It’s easy to back a winner and, unfortunately, easy to bash a loser.

But to those who still have Oklahoma shirt from 1997 (4 wins, 8 losses) and don’t jump ship at every BCS loss, there’s something more to it than that.

It’s about identity. It’s about state pride. It’s about saying “Our topsoil may have blown off to the Dakotas, 1/5 of our population may have limped off to California, we may be a flyover state somewhere in the middle1, and we may have lots of red dirt that stains our clothes and our hearts, but that’s our team. They can play, and we’re proud of them.”

“Anywhere you go, anytime you mention you’re from Oklahoma, people immediately think of our football team. That’s not a negative. It’s what we’re known for.”2

Yup, it’s nearly fall, and that means that it’s nearly football time in Oklahoma.

  1. From Sleepless in Seattle:

    “Dear Sleepless in Seattle. I live in Tulsa.”
    Where’s that?
    In Oklahoma.
    Where is that?
    Somewhere in the middle. 

  2. Max Weitzenhoffer, quoted in an excellent ESPN.com article