In honor of the narrative driven masterpiece that I wrote prior to the Oklahoma game last year, which you can read in all of its glory here, I have decided to continue the trend and write one for this year's matchup.
I should preface this, but if you haven't seen the hit TV show, Game of Thrones, OR you do watch it but haven't watched up to season 6, episode 9 THEN STAHP READING. For this may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones and it loosely pulls inspiration from the Episode: Battle of the Bastards.
okay stop reading.
Seriously, don't spoil the show for yourself...it's really good.
okay last warning.
This weekend it's Kenny Hill vs. Baker Mayfield. Coincidentally, both of these players are transfer students. Claimed by Universities that they didn't expect to end up at. Both were highly touted during their early starts, but then a series of events led to both of them finding new life else where.
This situation reminds me of that of the two most famous "Bastards" in the hit TV show, Game of Thrones. With Kenny following the path of series comeback artist Jon Snow, no seriously...he comes back from literally everything. Whereas, the player in the Big 12 that everyone loves to hate, Baker Mayfield is representing Ramsay Bolton, the character that spawned more surrender cobras than a tipped touchdown pass in Lubbock.
Before the end of this tale, we are going to look at the paths of these two transfers, dissect this
battle matchup, and make ALL of the Game of Thrones references. After all, it's Oklahoma week people, get excited. Alright, let's start with our Hero...
Kenny "Trill" Hill, AKA: The King in the Fort - Jon Snow
The one that we are all rooting for this weekend. The one that we want to see victorious when the dust settles. Kenny Hill, Jon Snow. They are one in the same in my eyes. Both were raised by high profile fathers, with Jon being raised by Eddard "Ned" Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Where Kenny was raised by Ken Hill Sr., former MLB pitcher, who finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting in 1994. Both very respectable men, that raised their boys to be winners. Kenny won so many games starting way back in High School, so if you don't think he's a winner, then you can fight me.
Hill started his well documented career at Texas A&M, and proceeded to play like he was shot out of a cannon, breaking Texas A&M's single-game school passing record in his first start. Jon Snow leaves Winterfell to join the Night's Watch where he eventually becomes the youngest Lord Commander in the history of the Watch. Then after rolling to a 5-0 start, Hill would lose his next 3 in a row. After showing promising leadership skills, Jon Snow....*whimpers*...dies. Kenny was suspended by the team for a "violation of team rules" and then decided to transfer away from Texas A&M. Some might have thought that Kenny's days of being in the spotlight were over.
Jon Snow is brought back to life, cause don't worry about it, and he literally finds second life outside of the Night's Watch. Kenny Hill ends up transferring to TCU, sitting for a year to get his head straight, learn the playbook, and finds a second life of his own after winning the starting job for the Frogs.
Hill, just like Jon Snow, is a master of the come from behind victory, so far at this point in the season, evidenced by his play in the first half of games compared to the second half.
That brings us up to speed on where we're at with Kenny/Jon. Now let's check in on our
Baker Mayfield - Ramsay Bolton
Well they say that a story is only as good as its villain, and it's fair to say that Baker has embraced his role as the villain within the conference. It's actually pretty humorous when you look at the similarities between Ramsay and Mr. Mayfield.
Both of them basically live life with a giant chip on their respective shoulders. Baker plays with that chip that he was a "walk on" that nobody gave him a scholarship to play D1 football, and he harbors a specific (well documented) grudge against TCU for not offering him. Ramsay has been a Bastard all of his life and just really wants to make his father proud. By the way, his father is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge jerk *nicest word I could use*, so like father like son. Ramsay also harbors a special level of hatred towards Jon (TCU) for a multitude of reasons. But nothing would make Ramsay happier than defeating Jon, in the same way that it seems that nothing would make Baker happier than coming into our house and beating the Frogs.
Where Kenny was a highly touted recruit, Baker was the opposite. He had to walk on at Texas Tech in order to play college football and by all means, he has had to earn everything with his bare hands since his freshman year at Tech. Then after a weird and total Lubbock-esque turn of events, Mayfield ended up transferring from Tech to Oklahoma, citing lack of communication with the coaching staff as his reason for departure. This left everyone, especially Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, scratching their heads and letting out a big 'ol "wait what?".
He had to sit out a year, and wait his turn to compete for the starting job. When he did, he essentially ran his predecessor, Trevor Knight, out of town all the way to College Station (ironically). Ramsay ends up overthrowing his father (also ironic) and claiming the title of Warden of the north for himself and Lord of Winterfell.
So things were looking good for Ramsay, just as they were for Oklahoma at the start of the year. So that FINALLY leads us to the battle.
This gif above accurately represents all of us waiting for Saturday and for this game to start.
Lined up outside of Winterfell, Jon Snow, along side his army is ready to take back his home. However, getting past Ramsay will be no easy task. TCU is looking to avenge its heartbreaking loss in Norman last year, coming off of a game where we had Foster Sawyer starting at QB, and our all american WR was no where to be found due to a wrist injury. Yet somehow the Frogs managed to push all the way back and were about to tie the game, when Patterson decided to go for 2, and if that ball was thrown two inches higher then the Frogs very well might've escaped Norman with a W. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and we all remember the pain of losing that game. The Fort remembers.
So now, after his comments about TCU, Baker Mayfield comes to town, ready to take on the team that he wants to beat the most (again a lot of this is embellishing for dramatic effect, so just go with it, it's honestly a great sports story). While Oklahoma does have two losses on the season (to two top 10 teams) they are coming fresh off of a bye week and should be rested and ready. Don't let that discourage you though, Gary always coaches the Frogs well against Bob Stoops and the Sooners, so it'll be a good game.
So here's how I think it is all going to unfold:
The First Quarter
The coin flip gets a little chippy, and there's a bit of an epic stare down between the two sides.
The Sooners take advantage of the Frogs slow start woes, and jump out to a 7-0 lead. The offense sort of sputters, and the Sooners front seven isn't letting the Frogs get anything going on the ground. Whereas the Sooners keep feeding the duo of Perine and Mixon to wear down the Frog D early on.
The Frogs then find themselves in a hole, after another drive stalls. Things are getting tense with the crowd not happy, and voicing their frustrations with the offense, but then a solid showing by the defense and a good return by Desmon White results in good field position for the Frogs offense. TCU is able to get on the board with a field goal. 7-3 OU.
First possession of the second quarter, the TCU run game gets going, with Kyle Hicks ripping off a large run, and gets the go ahead score on a wheel route pass from Mr. Hill. The two teams go back and forth with each other for the remainder of the quarter, with neither team being able to break away from the other. The first half ends with the Sooners leading 24-20. Surprisingly, Kenny does not have a first half interception.
Alright, it is officially the second half so TCU can start playing for real now. The Frogs fight back and play with a fire under their butts and score 14 unanswered points. The crowd is rowdy and loud and the purple people of Amon G. Carter Stadium smell the Crimson and Creme defeat is near. However, Baker Mayfield does Baker Mayfield things and the Frogs give up a big play through the air to get the Sooners back within striking distance. Then OU scores again on the following possession and start to once again grind down the clock with their run game.
It's the final two minutes of the third quarter, and with Oklahoma up by four, Doug dials up some trickery...and the Frogs are in the red zone. THEN TRAGEDY STRIKES AND KENNY THROWS A PICK AND WE ARE ALL SURRENDER COBRAS.
It's the end of the third quarter and it looks like the Sooner Wagons are circling the Horned Frogs. 38-34 bad guys.
Fourth & Final Quarter
Oh hey there Trevorris Johnson, forgot you were still on our team, probably because we don't use you enough...
The Frogs try to recover after the Sooners go up by 11...and we get to their 45, but can't convert a precious fourth down thanks to a costly holding penalty...*Gulp* things aren't looking good for Kenny and the boys in purple (black).
With heads and hearts down, we are all throwing up prayers...as the Sooner offense retakes the field, they stall and it becomes 3rd and 1. With a cheeky play call from Big Game Bob, Baker fakes out the defensive line and the linebackers bite, and he throws it to Dede Westbrook for what appears to be a first down..but as the crowd looks up they see......what could be.....WHY YES IT IS!!!
Nick Orr flies across the field and picks off Mayfield's pass while doing his best Randy Moss impression. The Carter erupts and the purple army has momentum on its side again.
Both sides are exhausted, and worn down, but neither team will let it show. The Frogs are able to score a touchdown thanks to Kenny's ability to make plays with his feet.
Only down by four, and with 3 minutes remaining, Gary does what he always does, and relies on his defense to come up big in big time games...and boy do they deliver in front of their home crowd. Knowing what Bob loves to do best, punt, the Frogs get the ball back with a little over four minutes to play.
Lead by everyone's favorite underused power back, Trevorris Johnson, the Frogs fight all the way to the other side of the 50 yard line while doing their best to manage the clock effectively. Then TJ rips off a twenty hard run up the middle, while running through tackles like he's got a paper to turn in by 5 o clock and it's currently 4:58.
The Frogs are in the red zone and the clock is ticking. Hill throws a slant to Taj Williams and he takes it all the way to the 15 yard line. With 30 seconds left and no time outs, we run up and spike the ball. The next play falls incomplete and it;s second down with 25 seconds left. Naturally we are all nervous wrecks in the crowd. A hush falls over the crowd and the ball is snapped.
Flushed out of the pocket, Kenny scrambles, he sees open grass and he takes off, it's a risky move but its now or never. He stiff arms Jordan Thomas and as he is about to get tackled, dives and reaches his arm as far as it will go......TOUCHDOWN T-C-U. The DJ starts playing Jump Around by house of pain and the Battle of the Transfers is over.
Baker taking a knee looks up at the scoreboard in disappointment, but he then cracks a smile, because he knows that as a competitor at heart, he can't deny the fun that he had in this one.
The Frogs carry Kenny off of the field and in front of the student section as we all crown Kenny, the one true king in the Fort. Since the game is over, and he can't be penalized for it, Kenny throws up the sign language for rising kings and we all ride off into the sunset, with only a few years taken off of our lives.
Then again...the game may not turn out like this at all...but I am certain that everyone needs to be wearing black. After all it's going to be Oklahoma's funeral.