8 p.m., WRC-TV-4, Oklahoma (10-1) vs. Arkansas (10-1)
The year 1970 was not a very good Football year for the University of Oklahoma. The Sooners won seven, lost four, tied one. Chuck Fallbanks was the coach and he wanted to do something to get Oklabhoma back on top. He decided to try a new kind of offense. It was called the wishbone.
Introduced by Texas, it was sort of a fad then. A lot of teams tried it, but most of them shelved it after a while. Now, only three major college teams run it, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Alabama. But no one runs it like the Sooners.
They have Thomas Lott.
Lott is smooth-talking, confident and a trend setter. He brought no fewer than 15 bandanas with him. He likes to wrap his his head with them when he plays.
He said he hasn't decided which color he will wear against Arkansas in Monday night's Organe Bowl, but to wait and see.
The Oklahoma wishbone is as imaginative as Lott's array of paisley bandanas. The Sooners send their fullback in motion at times and on occasion they will throw the football. But their bread and butter is the wishbone coming right at you.
"We like to run the ball right over people," Lott said. "That's what the wishbone is for. When I first came to Oklahoma there were people who deep in their hearts didn't believe in the wishbone. The coaches even talked about getting rid of it.
"Now things are different. Maybe it's partly because I've been selling the wishbone. The coaches and I sat around and talked for hours about the wishbone. I knew a lot about it because I'd run it in high school.
"What I wanted to do was make everyone believe in it as much as I do. Now they do. That's what it takes to reach a higher level - te whole team loving the wishbone, and this team really does.
"I don't think there is a key to stopping the wishbone," Loff continued. "If you stop one thing, something else will be open. I'll try to put most of the pressure on Arkansas defensive tackle and end on both sides. That's how you make the wishbone work."
The fact that Arkansas will be without three suspended offensive starters, 1,000-year rusher Ben Cowins, fullback Micheal Forrest and wide receiver Donny Bobo, won't affect Oklahoma, according to Lott.
"It doesn't matter who we play or who they have on their team, we just go out and play our game," he said.
Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer calls Lott "the greatest wishbone quarterback I've ever seen."
"If thats true," Lott said, "it's because I'm not a quarterback, but a running back in the quarterback's position."
Oklahoma did not have an individual runner gain 1,000 yards this season, yet led the nation in rushing.
Elvis Peacock gained 695 yards, fullback Kenny King 640, halfback Billy Sims 406, halfback David Overstreet 339 and eight other backs gained a total of 779 yards.
The rushing leader, however, with 760 yards was Lott. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Lott was hobbled by a bruised nerve in his leg and missed Oklahoma's opening game against Vanderbilt. He played one series of downs against Utah and less than one half against Ohio State. He grew healthier and stronger and the wishbone grew smoother as the season progressed.
The Sooner's only loss was 13-6 to No. 1-ranked undefeated Texas, in the fifth game of the season.
As powerful as the Sooner offense is, the Sooner defense - led by safety Zac Henderson, nose guard Reggie Kinlaw and linebackers George Cumby and Darryl Hunt - is probably better.
Despite the turmoil surrounding the Arkansas football team over the suspension of three players and their subsequent court case, Orange Bowl committee president James S. Billings said today that he has "no regrets whatsoever" about having invited the Razorbacks.
"It is unfortunate that all of this had to happen," Billings said, "but it has given us a lot of publicity. "It's negative publicity, maybe, to those concerned, but it does focus quite a bit of attention on our game.
"Obviously I'd like to see Arkansas as strong as possible for the game, but I have no comment on what coach Lou Holtz did. "It's none of my business. I'm in the real estate business and I sure wouldn't like it if someone butted in on my business just when I was about to close a deal."
Ed Goff, the committee's publicity director, added that to his knowledged, no customer has complained to the Orange Bowl committee about the Arkansas incident, and one has asked for his money back.