(Story originally posted on SB Nation’s ISU site: Wide Right & Natty Lite.)
WRNL is proud to present nine weekly articles from Kagavi leading up to the official release of The Adventures of Robot Cy, a fictional 8-bit video game trailer that never was.
In a faraway futuristic time, college football has been taken over by robot mascots. Join Robot Cy as he travels through many thrilling levels to find out who is behind this nefarious plot!
Every week during the conference season, Kagavi will preview the ISU football game using this project as inspiration by asking what power ups could Robot Cy gain by defeating the other Big 12 robot mascots?
Iowa State’s last game against Texas marked the return of the powerful Cyclone team that sat on top of the Big 12 standings all the way at the beginning of October. Robot Cy’s visit with Robot Hook ‘Em was equally fruitful and the athletic department should be receiving some pixelated money bags soon. Looking to the game this weekend, ISU faces off against #14 Oklahoma in Norman. Oklahoma clobbered ISU 59 – 14 last year–an outcome surely as shocking as pumpkin lattes in the fall. But clearly this is a new era. Joel Lanning is undefeated as the starting QB. Todd Sturdy is undefeated as offensive coordinator. Paul Rhoads is unde . . . err, proud. Most crucially: the last time Texas was shut out by an unranked team, it was 1961–the same year that Iowa State beat Oklahoma in Norman. Just saying.
But what if Robot Cy was facing off against Robot Boomer & Sooner?
If Robot Boomer & Sooner used the best parts of Oklahoma football history to inspire a power up, what would it be? Let’s explore some Oklahoma history.
The University of Oklahoma sprouted up in 1890 amidst a flat slab of Oklahoma prairie, just one year after the chaotic land grab of April 22, 1889 that gave rise to the Boomer and Sooner nicknames. It would not be until 1892 that the first students showed up and in 1895 the college hit 100 enrolled students while welcoming football to the campus. Many campus buildings boast a nifty, unique style that a visiting Frank Lloyd Wright supposedly dubbed “Cherokee Gothic.”
The rivalry between Oklahoma and Iowa State is the furthest thing from a rivalry and it just may be the most lopsided in all of college football. The Cyclones have played Oklahoma 79 times and won just 5 times and tied 2 times. The first game was in 1928 and the Cyclones won 13 – 0 to set the tone for future years. Over 85 years later, that first game still remains the largest margin of victory for ISU.
For a visual representation of how ridiculous this dominance is, if each Oklahoma victory was represented by a water bottle, it would stretch all the way from Ames to Norman. Before writing this story, the very first idea for a power up was puppet strings, since Oklahoma is the puppet master for many other schools too (especially Oklahoma State).
Now for some fun traditions: Boomer and Sooner are the two horses that pull the Sooner Schooner, not to be confused with Boomer and Sooner, the costumed mascots, who sing along to Boomer Sooner, especially the repeating chorus of Boomer Sooner, while rooting for the Sooners, formerly known as the Boomers, named after the real Boomers of the Sooner state.
If Texas is easily one of the top ten programs of all time, Oklahoma could be considered the top program of all time. Officially, the Sooners boast 7 national championships, but the unofficial number is as high as 17. (Officially and unofficially ISU has 0.) Oklahoma has won 44 conference titles, just a few behind the top school, Nebraska–which doesn’t seem to be close to adding more titles anytime soon.
The Sooners have had some decent players through the years adding to these totals. Adrian Peterson, Keith Jackson, Lee Roy Selmon, Billy Sims. Joe Washington whirling through the defense like he had four hips. So many names. The College Football Hall of Fame has enshrined 21 Oklahoma players and 5 coaches (that’s nearly an entire team!) with the most recent inductee being Brian Bosworth.
Ah yes, the Boz. The perfect encapsulation of the excess and talent of Oklahoma football. His autobiography told tales of rampant steroid use, cocaine, zoo animals as pets, booster money being handed out to players, and even armed weapons. I only made up one of those. More importantly, the Boz looked like a character from the classic NES game Double Dragon II: The Revenge, which fits right in with the Robot Cy theme. A tempting potential power up we considered was a syringe, but since this is a family site, we passed. In all fairness to Oklahoma, is it really cheating if every other top team is doing it too?
Naturally, all of those players and coaches translated into some impressive individual hardware. Oklahoma has five Heisman Trophy winners, more than all but three other schools (Ohio State, Notre Dame, and USC), and the next closest Big 12 school is Texas with two, then Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma State with one apiece. Oklahoma by themselves has the same number of Heisman winners as all other Big 12 schools combined. We thought about making the power up a trophy, but which trophy to choose?
As if that wasn’t enough, Oklahoma holds the record for the longest college football winning streak ever with a 47 game effort from 1953 to 1957. Their second best effort, a paltry 31 game streak from 1948 – 1950, is still better than all but six other schools. Just for good measure, they also have a 28 game streak from 1973 – 1975. The only other current Big 12 school to even come close is the 30 game run Texas enjoyed from 1968 – 1970. It’s all very overwhelming.
Thus, after this brief look at Oklahoma history, it only seems appropriate that the power up for Robot Boomer & Sooner should be a homage to the inherent unfairness of playing Oklahoma that has crippled just about every team in the Big 12 (or Big 8 of old).
The Double Trouble power up gives Robot Cy the chance to finally even the playing field. ISU no longer has to worry about a critical injury to one of their few star players. The 2012 season would’ve ended differently if Jake Knott was replaced after the Baylor game with his equally accomplished backup Kake Jnott. Even last year, doubling up Tom Farniok with Fom Tarniok would’ve kept Sam Richardson from being shredded. Actually, that’s an interesting thought–could an ISU team with twice the number of yearly scholarships beat a typically strong Oklahoma team? Do 60 2/3-star recruits equal 30 4/5-star recruits? If Robot Cy had access to this power up, what historical football (or basketball) seasons could have turned out much differently? Why can’t I stop typing question marks?
Are there any other possible power ups that would fit Robot Boomer & Sooner? Share them in the comments!