Oklahoma! Our musical ode and elevation of the Sooners to No.1 is hard-earned and well deserved. Until Alabama beats Clemson and\or plays a school not initialed FSU, it appears to us that Lincoln Riley’s team in Norman is the nation’s best after this season’s first 10 or 15 minutes. It also reminds Rankman of the time a writer filed a special section story on the success of Oklahoma football. The writer was proud of his lede that playfully tweaked a lyric from the famous Broadway musical. “Oklahoma, where the wins come sweeping down the plains.” The writer pushed the send button and then sat back for accolades that might have included prize money. He was shocked to read in the paper the copy desk had changed his sentence to “Oklahoma, where the victories come sweeping down the plains.” The writer called the office and was told, “Our newspaper’s style book is victories, not wins.” There is another story from the 1950s about an acclaimed New York writer who covered a game in which the Dodgers committed several errors in a loss. “The Dodgers died with their boots,” the scribe penned. Brilliant. The desk changed it to “the Dodgers died with their boots on.” Of course, it could be worse. The New York Times demands that everyone be referred to on second reference as Mr. or Mrs., as in Mr. (Charles) Manson. Which reminds me of the time I used “Miss Manners” as a funny aside to someone and the desk changed it to “etiquette arbiter.” Anyway, on to this week’s ranking: As you’ll see, Rankman is not afraid to overturn the applecart in any given week during the fall harvest. Play well, move up. Play like Ohio State, at home, and move down. There are no congeniality awards here and, if there were, Nebraska Coach Mike Riley would win every week. Especially last week, for “almost” coming back from a 28-point deficit against Oregon. And Riley doesn’t need us. He was rewarded, by his own school, with a contract extension.   The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.  

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