Happy Friday, friends and fans! If you are like a lot of football fans, the NFL Preseason can temporarily hold you over until the games that actually matter kick off. Speaking of the preseason, Baker Mayfield saw his first action on an NFL stage last night as the Cleveland Browns took on the New York Giants.
Fans of the Oklahoma Sooners aren’t surprised by what happened, because all Baker did in Norman was make plays, but it appears that other fans on the outside looking in are finally starting to recognize Mayfield’s skills and ability after his 212 passing yards and two touchdowns on 11/20 passes.
Mayfield graded himself and basically said it was solid for a first game. One of the more praising reviews following Mayfield’s impressive debut was from former NFL O-lineman and current NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
Baldinger broke down several of Mayfield’s plays and came away amazed. Given this was still Mayfield’s first preseason game, Baldinger was extremely impressed with his poise and field awareness. Knowing Baker, the guy is only going to get better from here. He works too hard to let anything else happen.
And before the haters come crawling out of the woodwork to point this out, sure, it was still just the first game of the preseason, but everybody has to start somewhere. If Baker Mayfield went out there and looked like Johnny Manziel did in his CFL debut last week, people would sound the alarms and alert code red. For now, just enjoy watching Mayfield continue to grow and prove his doubters wrong, one touchdown at a time.
Now onto this week’s Friday edition of Hot Links! Dru Samia makes another preseason watch list, Sooner reunions were abound on Thursday night, Bill Snyder has no plans of retiring any time soon and more!
- In case you missed it, check out Austin’s recap of Baker Mayfield’s preseason debut. There you’ll find highlights and insight on the top takeaways from Mayfield’s performance.
- Oh look, the top two picks of the 2018 NFL Draft met up before the Browns and Giants’ preseason contest. Before the draft, many believed there was a very real chance that the Browns could have drafted both Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley. My goodness, that would have been something special.
- Look who else was in attendance. Trae Young stopped by for Baker Mayfield’s debut to show him some Sooner love. Together, those two practically stole the college sports talk spotlight just a handful of months ago. Boomer!
Those Sooners support each other 24/7. Can’t wait to watch the @OU_Athletics great @bakermayfield make his NFL debut. You deserve this opportunity. As Trae reminds me of weekly, #theresonly1oklahoma pic.twitter.com/n9fvFSAxsW— Ray Young (@rayfordyoung) August 9, 2018
- While Mayfield was heating up in the game, Dez Bryant was watching the rookie QB intently, until his phone died. I guess he’s going to have to settle for suiting up for the Browns to get a better look, right? Seriously though, imagine the storylines if Dez went to Cleveland. Talk about a twilight zone. Baker in Ohio, throwing to a former Oklahoma State Cowboy.
Phone died...Ok Baker— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) August 9, 2018
- What a reunion for Baker Mayfield and Sterling Shepard. These two made quite the duo in 2015. Perhaps my favorite game from when they were teammates was that double-OT win in Tennessee. Boomer Sooner, indeed.
- What an awesome moment this was. Mayfield and Shepard signed their game-worn jerseys and traded them with each other. Can these guys come back to Oklahoma? C’mon, nobody will even notice.
Baker Mayfield signs his first game-worn Browns jersey for fellow Oklahoma Sooner Sterling Shepard pic.twitter.com/3qqMVYTmdZ— Madelyn Burke (@MadelynBurke) August 10, 2018
- Starting offensive guard Dru Samia has been named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year watch list. 2018 will be the fourth year in the award’s history. Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota became the first recipient in 2014. Congratulations, Dru!
- CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm made preseason predictions for all the bowl games for the 2018-19 college football season, and Palm projects a fourth seeded Oklahoma to play top seeded Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. Obviously, this would be a monster match-up, especially just five years after the Sugar Bowl classic between these two blue-bloods, but if it comes down to this scenario, I’d expect this game to take place in the Orange Bowl, since Arlington would be a major traveling advantage for Sooner fans.
- Check out the linebacker position preview on Sooner Sports. Kenneth Murray looks to be a leader on defense, and veteran Caleb Kelly aims to shine in his new role.
- College Football Playoff committee members Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione and former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer will be recused from CFP discussions involving the Sooners. The reason for Castiglione is obvious, but for Coach Beamer, the reason for him being recused is because his son, Shane Beamer, is an assistant on Oklahoma’s staff.
- A slim and trim Joe Mixon made the Chicago Bears’ defense look silly after he got ‘em with the ‘B’ button. Now you see him, now you don’t! The Bengals beat the Bears, 30-27.
- Landry Jones saw some preseason action with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. Check out this sweet deep ball to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Steelers beat the Eagles, 31-14.
- Geneo Grissom scooped it up and nearly scored for New England. Reminds me of his play at the end of the aforementioned Sugar Bowl. Good times, good times.
- It was basically a Sooner reunion when the Baltimore Ravens took on the Los Angeles Rams. From left to right: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Steven Parker, Tony Jefferson, Orlando Brown, Mark Andrews and Kendall Thompson.
- Oh look, another Sooner family reunion! This time, when the Green Bay Packers clashed with the Tennessee Titans, Demontre Hurst, Aaron Ripkowski, Ahmad Thomas and Du’Vonta Lampkin represented Champ U.
- Check out Baker Mayfield and Philadelphia 76er Ben Simmons as they rock some “low maintenance fresh” Nike gear from Champs.
Around the Sports World
- K-State’s Bill Snyder aka the Purple Wizard has just been given a contract extension through 2022. Snyder turns 79 in October. Keep on keeping on, Coach!
- Adidas has made some upgrades to its football uniforms, and I must admit, I’m a fan of them. It’s a much sleeker look than the watermarked-looking patterns from before. Still not as sweet as Jordan Brand, of course, but it’s up there.
- This weekend is MLB Players Weekend, so a fun tradition that will make an appearance once again is putting the nicknames of players on their jerseys. Some of the nicknames are great, while others are hardly even nicknames. Check out the best and worst of the bunch!
- Which Madden game is the best of all? That answer will vary depending on who you ask, but if you asked me, my favorite as a youngster was Madden 2005. Aside from it just being the one I played the most, you had Ray Lewis on the cover, and the hit-stick was introduced!
- Something neutral site games typically have an advantage over college campus stadiums is the selection of consumable products. Sure, you can factor food into this, but what people really want to know is what kind of beer options there are and how much it’s going to cost. Check out this ranking of the top neutral sites based on their respective beer situations.
Stick to Sports!
- Esquire reports that English actor Idris Elba is in line to become the next 007. If Elba does assume the James Bond mantle after Daniel Craig hangs up the suit, Elba would be the seventh actor to portray Bond in 007 film canon, and the first black actor in the character’s lineage. Elba is most notably known for his award-winning roles in the British drama series Luther and independent film Beasts of No Nation.
i’ve long rooted for this casting once the excellent daniel craig chooses to move on https://t.co/eNbgJNNq1d— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) August 10, 2018
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