By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Crimson-faced: Never let it be said that Buzz will miss an opportunity to make fun of Okies. Why? Because Buzz--at least this week's author--grew up in the land of red dirt and 3.2 beer, and we will forever harbor deep psychological scars because of it.
So it's surprising to hear that some folks in Sooner Nation are upset at revelations in a new book that casts a small shadow on a beloved son. The Undefeated: The Oklahoma Sooners and the Greatest Winning Streak in College Football, which analyzes the team's record 47-game winning streak from 1954 to 1956, is the tome causing the ruckus. These are, after all, the same folks who for years pulled their children out of public schools because the state didn't require that teachers know how to teach students the triple option. The author, former Dallas Times Herald columnist Jim Dent, is the recipient of said ruckus.
To wit--and, this being a story about Oklahoma, we use the word "wit" in an ironic fashion: Before the Oklahoma Sooners' season opener against North Carolina, Dent was scheduled to have a book signing on campus. (Although not officially out until this Friday, Dent's book has been available in Oklahoma bookstores and on Amazon.com for a few weeks.) But 72 hours before it was scheduled to go off, it was canceled, thanks to a clause in the event contract that allows the OU president to cancel any on-campus event for any reason whatsoever. Dent had to scramble to find an off-campus Borders and to contact the 150 invited guests, but the event was salvaged.
Dent says he knows why he got the Sooner snub. "It's indicative of the ruffled feathers here that my book has caused," he says from his home in Oklahoma City. "I think it's bizarre, but because I wrote 10 or 12 paragraphs about [former OU coach] Bud Wilkinson's other side--that he liked women and liked to have fun and run around a little--there has been a backlash among a small group of the powers that be here."
Dent says he's genuinely surprised that folks would make so much out of a few graphs in a very thorough book--but that just shows he doesn't know two things about Okies. One, they don't like their heroes messed with, especially if they had anything to do with a pigskin. Two, most can only read 10 to 12 paragraphs at a sitting, anyway.