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Special Plans for Sooners 100th Season at Historic Stadium

Sooner Football
© Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Oklahoma Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione said, " Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is one of college football's greatest cathedrals."

He is correct, as Oklahoma Sooner fans, young and old, united by their shared passion for the team and its traditions, know it as "The Palace on the Prairie." The venerable stadium will be starting its 100th season hosting Sooner football on August 31, 2024, as the Sooners start their first season in the Southeastern Conference. The athletic department at the University of Oklahoma announced their plans to celebrate this historic occasion with the fans, further strengthening our bond and love for the team.

Celebrating 100 Years of Sooner Football in Oklahoma

With the 100th season of Sooner football kicking off against the Temple University Owls, just like the other six home games, it has been assigned a different theme. Here is a list of the games and the specific theme attached to them.

Temple: Barry Switzer Era

As he is known, the King will kick off the celebration when the Sooners play the Owls. The first one will be the Switzer Era, and what a great era of football it was in Oklahoma. Coach Switzer took over the Sooners in 1973 and promptly won a National Championship in 1974 and 1975. Switzer and the Sooners would add another title in 1985. The Sooners were again dominant in this era, going 157-29-4, adding 54 All-Americans and a Heisman Trophy Winner in Billy Sims.

Oklahoma Football Barry Switzer
© Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Houston: Bud Wilkinson Era

The first coach to host their own television show, Charles Burnham "Bud" Wilkinson, is among the greatest coaches in college football history. From 1947 to 1963, Bud Wilkinson patrolled the sidelines at Oklahoma; the Sooners compiled historic numbers. 145-29-4. This impressive win total included a record some think will never be broken, and that is 47 straight wins. 13 consecutive conference titles from 1947-1960, and three National Championships in 1950, 1955, and 1956.

Oklahoma Football Bud Wilkinson
© David Boss-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane: Bennie Owen Era

Benjamin "Bennie" Gilbert Owen took over the Oklahoma football team in 1905. From 1905-1926, Owen's Sooner teams compiled a record of 122-54-16. Bennie was not only the football coach but also coached the basketball and baseball teams. His $3,500 salary at the time was thought to be absurd for an athletics coach. The Sooners won three conference titles under Owens. A charter member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Owen had the field named after him, and you can still find most Sooner fans calling it Owen Field.

Tennessee: Record Performances

When you have a team that is one of the blue bloods in college football with multiple National Championships and Heisman Trophy winners, there are bound to be some record-breaking performances at your stadium. Samaje Perine, on a cold rainy day, set a college football record for most rushing yards in a game against the Kansas Jayhawks. A lot of Sooner fans left the game due to the weather, but there are around 400,000 who will tell you they were there. Who could forget on a blistering day against UCLA when Oklahoma native Antonio Perkins set two records? One for returning three punts for touchdowns and a total punt return yardage of 277. There have been many record setting days in Norman and these are just a few. With former National Championship Sooner quarterback Josh Heupel returning as the coach for the Tennessee Volunteers, this will be a special day, as it will also be the first official conference game for the Sooners as a member of the SEC.

Oklahoma Football Samaje Perine
© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina: Sooner Magic Moments

The term Sooner Magic still makes a certain generation of University of Nebraska Cornhusker fans tremble. Sooner Magic means that when a play had to be made to secure a win, and a lot of times when it looked bleak, that's when Sooner Magic Happened. Sooner Magic was born on a cold day in Lincoln, Nebraska, under Switzer's guidance. The Sooners developed a knack for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Alabama fans also know of Sooner Magic, as in 2007 when the Crimson Tide came to Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma trailed late in the game when two shovel passes to Renaldo Works marched the Sooners down the field for the go-ahead touchdown. The Sooners would add on a late touchdown as Alabama quarterback Tyler Watts dropped back to pass and dropped the ball, and it was picked up and taken back for a touchdown by Sooner defensive back Eric Bassey.

Maine: Fan-Favorite Moments

The Sooner fans have been treated to an array of fan-favorite moments, from rushing the field in 2000 after beating the Cornhuskers enroute to National Title number seven to any victory over the Bedlam Rival Oklahoma State University. The one that comes to mind is a cold night when Texas Tech University came to Norman after the Red Raiders defeated the University of Texas Longhorns. The Red Raiders were confident coming into the game; however, the Sooners had other plans as they quickly jumped out to a 42-7 lead on the second-ranked Red Raiders, over the public address loudspeakers the familiar sound of House of Pain's "Jump Around" blared, and Sooner nation obliged.

Alabama: Bob Stoops Era

After the likes of Bennie, Bud, and Barry it took another "B" in Bob Stoops to wake the monster back up. 18 years at the helm of the Sooners saw Stoops amass an amazing record of 190-48, with a National Title in 2000. The Sooners were conference champions ten times under stoops. A lot of fans will remember the dismantling of the Texas A&M University Aggies 77-0 when the Sooners were punting the ball on first down in the fourth quarter. The Stoops era saw a record 39 game home winning streak along with being the winningest coach from 2000-2009 with 110 victories.

Oklahoma Football Bob Stoops
© Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Celebrating for the Fans

With the myriads of events and themes planned for the entire season, Sooner athletics is also going to release a micro site on this summer that will feature historical photos and video content, as well as written featured stories.

The fans are also asked to submit their favorite stadium moments by emailing select fans will have their memories highlighted in the stadium on November 2, 2024, against the Maine Black Bears.

The celebration began on May 22,2024 with stating a 100-day "Stadium Scrapbook" countdown to the home opener August 31, 2024. The Sooners social media team will spotlight an interesting factor significant moment that may have helped shape the history of such a historic place.


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