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January 3, 2014

OU’s Shoate makes Hall of Fame

NEW ORLEANS — Maybe 20 minutes prior to kickoff, the new class of inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame was announced to the crowd and honored on the field, where several of the inductees were standing to be received by the crowd. 

The headliner was Orlando Pace, the former Ohio State All-American and 13-year pro, primarily as a St. Louis Ram, the team he represented seven times in the Pro Bowl. 

Also honored was Oklahoma’s Rod Shoate, who’s inclusion in the Hall, as a two-time All-American, in 1973 and 1974, was long overdue.

Still, the funniest part of the ceremony came when former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel was announced.

There were some cheers, but what stood out were the boos coming from Alabama fans, who apparently cannot forgive the era in which the Gators, coached by Steve Spurrier, with help from defensive coordinator Bob Stoops, dominated the SEC.

Loud, not full: It’s quite possible the Superdome is the loudest stadium in the NFL. One, it’s always louder inside. Two, the dome is built up rather than out, like an old-time basketball arena, in which levels are build right on top of each other (or Gallagher-Iba Arena, which is built super steep). The effect was that either team’s fan base could absolutely get the house rocking whenever it chose.

On the other hand, the place won’t close to full, with large portions of the upper decks merely scattered with fans.

Playing fast: It’s unclear if the tempo of the Sooner offense was giving Alabama first-half fits or if it was a simple matter of execution. Whatever, it was hard for the press box PA announcer to keep up. 

On the drive that led to Jalen Saunders’ 43 yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, the announcer wasn’t even stopping for breaths, describing one play and then the next. And when Sterling Shepard took in his reverse, the announcer was still recounting Zack Sanchez’s interception and return at the moment Shepard crossed the goal line.

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