We'll have a story for tomorrow on today's kickoff of the GOPAC summit meeting -- a national conference focusing on electing local and state Republicans -- at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown, but first up a story about J.C. Watts.
Julius Caesar Watts Jr. has been a businessman, preacher and congressman but most people originally got to know him at the quarterback for Barry Switzer's wishbone offense at Oklahoma in 1979-80, when the school won two consectutive Orange Bowls (and when bowls still meant something, we should add). Watts was the opening speaker at a luncheon at the start of the conference today and before delivering his 45-minute speech -- a battery-charging, rev-up the team at halftime speech if there ever was one -- he was seated at a table with several other Okies.
The discussion topic wasn't BP, it wasn't Obama, and it wasn't health care or the economy. It was, of course, Big 12 football, and the decision by Oklahoma, Texas and other longtime rivals to stay in the embattled conference, fighting off takeovers from the rapacious PAC-10 and Big Ten.
Watts said the decision by OU (where a daughter will be a junior next year) left him a "happy camper" -- the fan bases of the midwest/south and the West Coast are just too different, he said.
"J.C. just wanted [the conference] to go where he could keep beating Texas on a regular basis," one of the Oklahomans said.
Gulp. Watts was actually 0-2 as a starter against the Longhorns in his years behind center -- and Texas was Sooners' only loss of the 1979 season.