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Oklahoma Sooners Football Hot Links: Caleb Kelly analyzes the OU pass rush, Roy Manning has made an impact, and more!

Also, Buddy Hield is looking for a better contract offer in Sacramento.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, friends and fans!

The preseason Big 12 media poll was recently released, and the Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball team has officially been picked to finish No. 8 in the conference for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

As expected, the league figures to be quite competitive from top to bottom once again. Three teams garnered at least one first-place vote, and the difference between Oklahoma and last place vs. OU and fifth is virtually identical. In a parity-filled sport, the Big 12 looks to be a microcosm of that.

Defending co-champ Texas Tech comes in at No. 3. The Red Raiders nearly won it all in a thrilling championship game this past April, and head coach Chris Beard seems to have found a potent recipe for lockdown defense. The other co-champ, Kansas State, is picked ninth after losing its top three players from last year’s team.

In 2018, the Sooners were picked to finish No. 8, but ultimately closed the season one spot higher at No. 7. With a good mix of newcomers and veterans on this year’s squad, Lon Kruger will look to exceed expectations once again while making a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. If Oklahoma indeed punches its ticket to the Big Dance, it’ll be its seventh berth in the last eight seasons.

Now for today’s Hot Links! Three Sooners are named Midseason All-Americans, Buddy Hield aims to capitalize in his prime, Iron Mike still got it and more!

OU Links

  • Caleb Kelly is back with another episode of Caleb’s Clicker where he breaks down his favorite defensive plays from OU’s last game. With the Sooners having recorded nine sacks against Texas, some of them have to stand out among the rest. Check out which QB takedowns those were for Kelly!
  • Staying on the subject of OU and defense, Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World writes how CB coach Roy Manning doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. The play of the cornerbacks is practically night and day different through six games since he was brought in, and the future looks bright.
  • Joel Klatt took on his buddy Colin Cowherd in defense of Oklahoma once again. This time, the two weighed the pros and cons of Lincoln Riley staying at the collegiate level vs. him moving on to the NFL.
  • ESPN unveiled its Midseason All-America Team, and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Creed Humphrey and Kenneth Murray all made the list. Not bad for the Crimson & Cream. A case could also be made for Neville Gallimore, who has been playing like an All-American through six games.
  • West Virginia is a massive underdog to Oklahoma going into this Saturday, but the Mountaineers are using that as motivation to pull off the unexpected.
  • Former Oklahoma star guard Buddy Hield has steadily grown into one of the sharpest shooters in the NBA, but his personal contract demands are not being met by the Sacramento Kings. If a deal isn’t reached by Monday, Hield says he’ll be ready to move on. The ball is in SAC’s court (no, I’m not proud of this one).
  • RB Steve Owens, Oklahoma’s second Heisman Trophy winner, will be available for a meet-and-greet and autograph session at the Nissan Heisman House. The 1969 winner will also be honored during halftime of the West Virginia game.

Around the Sports World

  • All-Star guard Bradley Beal has agreed to a max contract extension with the Washington Wizards. He’s been one of the more consistent players in the league since he arrived in 2012, and his diligence is paying off quite handsomely now.
  • Alabama defensive lineman Antonio Alfano has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal after signing with the Crimson Tide as the No. 5 overall player in the 2019 recruiting class.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams will need to do things like this at an unprecedented clip this season to make up for the losses OKC endured over the summer. Fortunately, I believe the big Kiwi can. The regular season tips off next Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.
  • Mike Tyson may be 53 years old, but he clearly still has that one-punch knockout power. He really makes the sport look like an artform in and of itself.

Stick to Sports!

  • American author Stephen King’s manor in Bangor, Maine has been unanimously approved to become a museum and writer’s retreat. By appointment only, fans of King’s work can peruse all kinds of archived content from the master of horror himself, and aspiring scribes who want to take their creative minds to a next level setting can sign up to work on their own pieces in the same place the critically acclaimed ‘IT’ was composed. If I’m ever in that neck of the woods, I’m absolutely going to check this national wonder out.

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