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October 24, 2012

Saturday, there’s no escaping history

NORMAN — It’s all very precise these days, because precision is a worthwhile end and technology allows for it.

That’s why The Norman Transcript, with just, so, detailing gives you three pages of Sooner football every Sunday (and Twitter coverage throughout the game, and real-time breaking news online, etc., etc., etc.).

Then there’s the fact that newspapers, like The Transcript, have lost their monopoly on the news and that, not so strangely, has made our coverage of things held most dear, like Sooner football, bigger and better than ever.

Copy’s produced every day, usually two or more items and with frequent notepads — yet invented in days of yore — because if you don’t get it here, you may look for it elsewhere.

Because of all that, it’s easy to presume, 55 years ago, Sooner football, the national standard under Bud Wilkinson, was nonetheless receiving comparatively scant coverage.

Think again.

It was bigger than life.

“OU Belts Notre Dame 40-0 in Top Rating Bid,” read the Oct. 28, 1956 front page headline trumpeting what remains the Sooners’ lone gridiron victory over the Irish.

The Transcript sent sports editor Jack Bickham to the game and photographer Jim Boatright, even in a day Associated Press photos ran in the paper every day.

Bickham wrote three stories: a gamer, a fan reaction story that was short on quotes but long on eye-witness testimony, and a sidebar about Wilkinson saying his team had better not let success go to its head.

Of course, if the players read Bickham’s gamer, as they must have because newspapers were king, it couldn’t help but go to their head a little.

“Oklahoma, now absolutely the nation’s finest football team, slaughtered the University of Notre Dame here Saturday,” Bickham wrote. “The score was 40-0 and it could have been higher.”

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