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John E. Hoover: Fair or not, Sooners bear a burden far greater than their own title hopes

John E. Hoover: Fair or not, Sooners bear a burden far greater than their own title hopes

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield leads the Sooners into Monday’s Rose Bowl. OU seeks its first national championship in 18 years, but the real burden is even greater than that.

PASADENA, Calif. — Oklahoma goes into the New Year with a resolution singularly focused on one thing: winning the program’s first national championship in 18 years.

That’s it. The No. 2-ranked Sooners (12-1) face No. 3 Georgia (12-1) on Monday in the Rose Bowl for a shot at the College Football Playoff national championship game, and Sooners players, coaches and fans aren’t thinking much beyond that.

Oklahoma has come close — and fallen short — so many times since that magical 2000 season that, in Norman, little else matters.

And yet, the Sooners’ schooner also is burdened with the nearly impossible task of restoring glory to a once-great conference — burdened not just with bearing the Big 12’s flag, but with planting a stake in the ground of the national landscape that would elevate the league’s continuing troubled image.

To read the rest of John Hoover’s column for Sporting News, click here:

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Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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