A funny thing happened while making my way back from Miami over the weekend: I kept running into Oklahoma fans who weren't as angry, frustrated or depressed as I might have expected.
I've come to expect the Internet message board rants and tirades from so-called fans that are almost guaranteed to follow any sort of Sooner loss. And that's pretty much what I anticipated seeing at the airport and on the plane.
Certainly, there were plenty of disappointed faces and talk of missed opportunities and another BCS loss. But I came to realize OU fans, for the most part, are a fairly sensible species.
When it comes to OU football, their every breath is drawn with a trip to Owen Field in mind, or wondering if quarterback Sam Bradford might return for another season.
But on this particular trip home, I saw the other side of their fervor. Until then, I had my doubts as to the ability for most OU fans to stay in tune with reason in the face of adversity.
CONSEQUENCES OF OPPORTUNITIES LOST
They calmly discussed the consequences of opportunities lost in the red zone of OU's 24-14 loss to Florida in the BCS title game. They broke down various aspects of the game where they felt the Sooners could have played better and lamented the fact Gator quarterback Tim Tebow was able to get his game untracked in the fourth quarter, after the Sooners had done such a good job of holding him in check to that point.
I just listened, waiting for the moment someone called for Bob Stoops' head on a platter. It never came.
Were the fans in question hurt by OU's fifth straight BCS loss, especially in a game for a national championship where they had their chances and failed to capitalize?
No doubt about it. All were devastated to some degree. Not only had they invested their hearts into the Sooners' team quest, all of these folks had coughed up a healthy chunk of hard-earned cash to make the trip. But unlike the message-board crazies whose main purpose in life is to incite rioting among the masses, these fans were anything but mutinous.
While waiting to change planes in Houston, I noticed an even larger group of OU fans join the discussion. One wondered if the Sooners should consider getting a new head coach " a notion that was bombarded with a chorus of responses to the contrary.
"Sure, all Stoops has done is lead us to six Big 12 titles and a national championship during his 10 seasons at OU," one gentleman answered sarcastically. "He's got to do better than that to coach around here, right?"
Another opinion shot out from a young man who couldn't have been more than 14.
"Hey, I'm mad just like everybody else," he said. "We should have won that game, but just didn't get the job done. It's frustrating, but at the same time, I don't want to trade places with Texas or USC or any other school that wasn't here playing for a national championship. You can't win it if you aren't in the big game."
True enough, but some fans are going to need a little more time to get over their disappointment before embracing such logic. Until then, there's always OU hoops to help fill in the long lonely nights spent thinking about BCS opportunities lost. "Jay C. Upchurch