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Oklahoma Sooners Football Hot Links: OU hoops faces Kansas, Lincoln Riley demonstrates commitment to school, and more!

Also, Baker Mayfield had the best rookie year since Russell Wilson according to PFF.

Oklahoma v Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

It’s been a little while since they last played a game, but the No. 23 Oklahoma Sooners are finally back in action tonight in Lawrence, Kansas.

Lon Kruger, now in his eighth season as Oklahoma’s head coach, might have the grittiest, most balanced team he’s ever put together since he arrived in Norman. The rotation goes deep, there are viable scoring options aplenty, and the defense is as solid as it’s ever been in the last decade. Not only is the team well-equipped from a personnel standpoint, it’s been battle-tested after facing one of the strongest non-conference slates in college basketball. All of those factors collectively have given these Sooners a major boost in confidence.

There’s no telling what will happen tonight against the Kansas Jayhawks, who once again appear to be the cream of the crop in the Big 12, but if you’ve been paying any attention to this Oklahoma squad this season, you know it’s not going to be an easy out for Bill Self and KU.

Now on to some Hot Links! Oklahoma basketball could make a run at the conference crown, Malcolm Kelly will be coaching at SFA, Bevo nearly stomps and spears Uga and more!

OU Links

  • Sticking with the men’s basketball team, the Jayhawks’ run in the Big 12 is the stuff of legends, but there is growing belief surrounding this Oklahoma team that it may have what it takes to make a run for the title themselves. Under Kruger, the Sooners have finished in the conference standings as high as second (‘13-’14). The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto talks about the potential run this team can make, starting in Lawrence tonight.
  • So Lincoln Riley agreed to a contract extension on Tuesday, which not only puts to bed talk of the NFL coming after him any time soon, it also strengthens the bond he has with Oklahoma, writes Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World.
  • At some point the narrative that the SEC has the greatest defenses in college football has to stop, right? They rank highly year after year, but it’s becoming more apparent that the primary reason for that are the archaic offenses that are much easier to defend than what is normally seen in the Big 12 (excluding this year’s Alabama team, or course). Lincoln Riley was absolutely right when he said Georgia wouldn’t field one of the nation’s top defenses from a raw statistics measure if they played in the Big 12.
  • Baker Mayfield earned the second-highest rookie QB grade ever (or since they started doing it) from the analytics folks at Pro Football Focus. Since 2006, the year their evaluations began, only Russell Wilson has earned a higher grade as a first-year signal caller in the league. Boomer!
  • Former Sooner standout receiver and legendary freestyler Malcolm Kelly has been hired as Stephen F. Austin’s outside wide receivers coach. Most recently, he was an offensive grad assistant at Houston. Congratulations, Coach Kelly!
  • Of course, any time Kelly is mentioned, you simply can’t go without bringing up the freestyle rap he performed following the ‘06 Big 12 Championship. SFA is well aware of that, and now Lumberjack Nation is too.

Around the Sports World

  • Following Texas’ big win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, UT QB Sam Ehlinger capped things off by providing this soundbite. This type of thing doesn’t have a history of blowing up in Texas’ face or anything, so I’m sure this won’t become a meme.
  • This should have been a sign that Georgia was in trouble against Texas before the Sugar Bowl even kicked off. I like Uga, so I’m just glad he’s okay. Excellent footage nevertheless.
  • So what now? After defeating UGA and earning a double-digit win season for the first time since ‘09, can Texas handle the inevitable hype machine and all the expectations that will come with it? A number of key pieces should be back in 2019, but perhaps an even greater number of significant contributors on defense have just played their final down for the burnt orange.
  • LSU QB Joe Burrow threw a pick that eventually went to the house, but while he attempted to make a tackle, he was completely blown up by a UCF defensive lineman. What’s even more remarkable was that this hit was totally legal. With today’s rules, that’s as impressive as anything.
  • Now that every bowl game has been played, minus the national championship game, how much hype will each of the 40 winners receive going into next season?
  • Ben Simmons totally played Sindarius Thornwell. Never turn your back on the inbound guy, my dude.

Stick to Sports!

  • Bruce Campbell, star of the ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ television series, will host ‘Ripley’s Believe it or Not’ as it makes its comeback. In the past, the show gained popularity for its eye-popping (sometimes in a literal sense) displays of human achievements. Whether it be stunts, anatomical marvels, or something that’s outright strange altogether, Ripley’s constantly pushes the limits on shock value. Campbell and his crude sense of humor is the perfect host for this, so I’m quite excited, believe me.

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