Oklahoma and the Curse of the HorsePig

Jeff JohnsonCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2008

Oklahoma football has always had odd mascots.  From the Boston Terrier Mex (who is buried somewhere under the stadium) to Little Red to the Sooner Schooner, Sooner fans have always had something out there for them.

Most have been well received.  In fact, when Mex died in 1928, the campus was closed on the day of his funeral in mourning.  The new mascots, the plush Boomer and Sooner, will upon their retirement probably close down the campus as well.

But in their case, it will be in celebration.

Created in August of 2004 and introduced to the public in 2005, the plush Boomer and Sooner are a good idea.  They are named and created in the likeness of the two crème white ponies that pull the Sooner Schooner around the field at Oklahoma football games.

But for situations where the Schooner would not be appropriate, a group of students took it upon themselves to create a mascot that was not only rooted in Sooner tradition but could be used at any collegiate sporting event.

The result—while approved by a committee of donors, administrators, students, and athletics staff—was a horrible monstrosity.  Boomer and Sooner came out with snarling mouths to scare little children, flaming red hair, and enormous eyes.

Even Lori Kemmet, OU Spirit Director, said of the two, "That first season, I thought they looked a little bit like a cross between Porky Pig and a donkey or something.  They did have an image issue that first season.”

The fan reaction was even more negative.  Erik Gransberg, the student who originally wore one of the plush costumes, started receiving death threats via his Facebook page within two months.  Fans took to calling the two "HorsePigs" as the long snout and eyes made them look more like pigs than horses.

While fans have slowly started to accept these two at sporting events, I believe that the plushy Boomer and Sooner have actually cursed the Oklahoma football program. 

Let's take a look at the numbers.  In the Bob Stoops era, only one home opener has been lost.  That loss, in September 2005 to a much weaker TCU team, was also the introduction of the HorsePigs at Oklahoma football.

Since those two were introduced, Bob Stoops has amassed 12 of his 22 losses.  Oklahoma has also not won a BCS bowl game since the HorsePigs were allowed on the field. 

Is this simply idle speculation, or an attempt to justify a dislike of something new and different?  Probably.

But it still doesn't change my opinion that the HorsePig costumes should be dragged out and burned in a funeral pyre.

Just make sure to close the campus in celebration when it's done.