It’s hard enough to wait around all day for a night game in college football. Television, and the huge payoffs to the teams that comes from it, is directly responsible for this. Coaching staffs do the best they can to manage the emotional and mental states of their players so that they aren’t too high or too low after sitting around all day waiting for game time.
With that idea in mind, imagine, if you will, the additional stress and strain when – an hour or so before the scheduled kickoff or, perhaps worse after the game has already started – severe weather sweeps in and causes an extended additional delay.
That troubling situation occurred not once, but twice this past weekend: at Oklahoma in the afternoon and at TCU in the early evening.
The start of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game was delayed for almost an hour and a half when lightning was detected in the area. There’s always the chance that a team will lose its edge after a delay and not be as sharp when things resume again.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops addressed that subject after his team’s 38-30 victory of 10th-ranked Texas Tech on Saturday. “Instead of letting us go out and warm up for 10 minutes, get us off the field and have an hour and a half break and warm up again they got word there was lightning around, and there’s no sense in going out there for 10 minutes and then having to do it all over again,” Stoops said.
“We told (our team) that this is what happened two years ago (when Texas Tech upset the Sooners in Norman and snapped OU’s 39-game home winning streak) and how we handled it,” he said. “We needed to handle it the right way (on Saturday) and be ready to go when they say go.”
The weather delay at TCU on Saturday was even longer. It did not affect the start of the Horned Frogs’ game with Texas, which kicked off on schedule a little after 6 p.m.. Instead, a stoppage of play came with about six minutes to go in the second quarter and Texas leading 17-7. The game remained suspended for over three hours. The players were allowed to return to the field just before 11 p.m., and the game was not completed until after midnight. The players remained on the field for a shortened five-minute halftime break before starting the third quarter.
It was fortuitous that the officials suspended the game when they did, because shortly after both teams reached their respective locker room areas, a large bolt of lighning struck just behind one of the stands at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Ft. Worth, followed by several more lightning strikes after that.
With the lengthy weather delay and having to play an in-state rival on the road, Texas head coach Mack Brown was excited for his guys and pleased that they were able to come out of it with a big win, their fourth straight in conference play, leaving the Longhorns in sole possession of first place, a half-game ahead of surging Baylor.
In his postgame comments, Brown offered this quip about his team: “They’ve all had a goal and a dream to play on Sunday, and now they’ve done it.”