Walk on

Here is a feel-good sports story:

Dominique Whaley’s photo is nowhere to be found in Oklahoma’s media guide. Before enrolling at OU, Whaley was an NAIA benchwarmer.

Some replacement for DeMarco Murray. Some replacement indeed.

Rising out of complete obscurity, Whaley rushed right into OU history Saturday night as the top-ranked Sooners crushed Tulsa 47-14 to open the season. Consider what Whaley accomplished against the Golden Hurricane:

• The most rushing touchdowns by an OU walk-on in a single game.

• The first 100-yard game by an OU walk-on in 36 years.

• Became the second Sooner to run for four touchdowns in his debut, with Murray being the other.

Whaley ran for 131 yards and four touchdowns on a game-high 18 carries, the final score coming on a gorgeous 32-yard scamper through Tulsa’s defense. . . .

At Lawton MacArthur High School, Whaley was beaten out by OU safety Javon Harris for the starting job at running back. Eventually, he was moved out of position to slot receiver.

Only two schools recruited him out of high school, including NAIA Langston College. Whaley didn’t start there, either.

“Maybe he should have,” said Stoops, who handed Whaley the first game ball Saturday.

But even after leaving Langston, Whaley never lost faith in his ability. Somehow, he never doubted he could start for a school like Oklahoma, where four- and five-star running backs are the norm.

Instead Whaley wrote down goals and stuck to achieving them, no matter how far-fetched they seemed.

“I didn’t come here just to make the team,” he said. “I didn’t come here just to play special teams. I came here to start. That was my goal.

“My next goal is to be the best in the country. You have to continue to make goals.”

Stoops first noticed Whaley a couple of years ago. As a scout-team back, he gashed OU’s first-team defense during a scrimmage. Whaley got so winded from the long runs that trainers had to carry him off the practice field and administer IV fluids, Stoops said.

Whaley tore OU’s defense up again this past spring game. . . .

Asked to grade his performance, Whaley gave himself a “C,” maybe worse. A what?

“I had a busted blocking assignment that could’ve killed our quarterback,” he said. “I’m still thinking about it.”

Please forgive him. After all, he’s only a walk-on. Who just might be OU’s unlikely answer at running back.

via SoonerNation: Whaley has breakout night in Sooners’ win – ESPN.

We’re #1

My alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, is rated #1 in all four of the major preseason polls for NCAA football.  I’m realizing that I’d better brag now, before the games actually start, since, if history is a guide, the Sooners’ pre-eminence is likely to fade once they actually start to play some games.  Still, I am proud.   The four polls also agree in ranking Alabama #2.  After that, opinions differ.

Check out the polls:  2011 NCAA College Football Polls and Rankings for Week 1 – ESPN.  Where do you think the prognosticators get it right and where do they get it wrong?  And before the games actually begin is the right time for predictions:  Who do you think will end the season as th #1 team?

Sooners, the new 2004 National Champions

My alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, should ascend to the 2004 National Football championship, even though they were beaten in the BCS championship game by the University of Southern California.  That team is being forced to forfeit all of their games played by star running back Reggie Bush, due to the valuable  benefits that his coaches lavished on him.

The NCAA threw the book at storied Southern California yesterday with a 2-year bowl ban, 4 years’ probation, loss of scholarships and forfeits of an entire year’s games for improper benefits to Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush dating to the Trojans’ 2004 national championship.

USC was penalized for a lack of institutional control in the ruling by the NCAA following its 4-year investigation. The report cited numerous improper benefits for Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo, who spent just 1 year with the Trojans.

The coaches who presided over the alleged misdeeds – football's Pete Carroll and basketball’s Tim Floyd – left USC in the past year.

“I’m absolutely shocked and disappointed in the findings of the NCAA,” Carroll said in a video statement produced by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, who hired him in January. “I never thought it would come to this . . . I’m extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this right now.”

The penalties include the loss of 30 football scholarships over 3 years and vacating 14 victories in which Bush played from December 2004 through the 2005 season. USC beat Oklahoma in the BCS title game on Jan. 4, 2005, and won 12 games during Bush’s Heisman-winning 2005 season, which ended with a loss to Texas in the 2006 BCS title game.

Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS, said a committee will meet to consider vacating USC’s 2004 championship. While no action would go into effect until USC’s appeals are heard by the NCAA, Hancock said there would be no 2004 champion if USC’s victory is vacated.

The NCAA says Bush received lavish gifts from two fledgling sports marketers hoping to sign him. The men paid for everything from hotel stays and a rent-free home where Bush’s family apparently lived to a limousine and a new suit when he accepted his Heisman in New York in December 2005.

The rulings are a sharp repudiation of the Trojans’ decade of stunning football success under Carroll, who won seven straight Pac-10 titles and two national championships before abruptly returning to the NFL. Floyd resigned last June, shortly after he was accused of giving cash to a middleman who helped steer Mayo to USC.

via USC gets 2-year bowl ban, might forfeit 2004 title | Philadelphia Daily News | 06/11/2010.

Wait a minute:  The Trojans might not be stripped of their championship?  How can a team win the national title while losing all of their games?  The BCS might declare that there was no champion for 2004?  How can that be?  In the final BCS rankings, OU was #2.  If #1 is removed from the picture, everyone moves up.

In all seriousness, I dislike the penalty of forfeiting games that were already played.  If a team violates the rules, punish them now, but don’t try to change history.


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