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Oklahoma Football Hot Links: Sooners No. 3 in ESPN’s Updated Way-Too-Early Top 25

Also, baseball season gets underway this weekend.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Hump Day, friends and fans!

There may be 199 days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners kick off the 2019 football season, but I guess it’s never too early to fire up the preseason rankings. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach put together his first way-too-early top 25 immediately following the conclusion of the national championship game (you can find that here), and since then he’s updated it to include subsequent transfers, NFL declarations and signings.

As you can see, Schlabach has moved Oklahoma up three spots from No. 6 to No. 3, and that’s largely due to the addition of Alabama grad transfer QB Jalen Hurts. The college football world has already seen what Lincoln Riley can do with talented signal callers who transfer in, and Hurts brings talent, experience and leadership to the picture.

Another factor that led to Schlabach’s decision to move the Sooners up this time around was the hiring of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. With so much experience returning and plenty of new blood on that side of the ball, one could imagine how much that should help the new DC with a promising track record.

It’s only the middle of February, but we’re all eagerly waiting for it to be the end of August. It’s a transitional era in Sooner football with all the same expectations of winning. In the meantime, put as much stock as you can into early preseason rankings like this one. Why? Because it’s more fun that way!

I’m kidding, of course. This is going to be a very long offseason.

Now let’s dig into some tasty Hot Links! Sooner softball moves up in the rankings, Sooner basketball is somehow still on the bracketology bubble, Joel Embiid says what we’re all thinking and more!

OU Links

  • The first weekend of the season for Oklahoma softball could not have gone much better, as the Sooners not only dominated the competition, but also went up a spot in both major polls. No. 3 and climbing!
  • Yesterday, Jack posed an interesting/frustrating question on Twitter. What say you?
  • Kyler Murray is likely part of a dying breed as a dual-sport athlete. As players mature, they are often coached into choosing to specialize in one sport over others, but superstars like Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and Murray have proven that it can be done at a high level. The question now becomes, who’s next?
  • Sooner baseball returns this weekend with a home series against Cal Poly. If you plan on attending any of the games, make sure you review the latest carry-in policy to ensure you’re not unintentionally bringing any prohibited items into the park.
  • Cade Cavalli, Nathan Wiles and Levi Prater will be the starters for OU’s season-opening series. Cavalli, who primarily played first base while also making 11 appearances (two starts) on the mound as a freshman, is the team’s ace after an impressive fall.
  • Unfortunately, Oklahoma will have to play through this season without the services of junior relief pitcher Braidyn Fink, who has been ruled out with a torn UCL. The news was first reported by Kendall Rogers, and OU confirmed it with a press release shortly thereafter.
  • Although Oklahoma has been reeling on the basketball court, Joe Lunardi still projects the Sooners into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed. For those of you keeping track, that’s squarely on the bubble as one of the last four teams in.
  • According to Pro Football Focus, former Biletnikoff Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist Dede Westbrook was one of the league’s top fantasy receivers working out of the slot in 2018 despite being paired with a brutal passing attack.

Around the Sports World

  • No. 5 Kentucky was upset in Lexington at the buzzer by No. 19 LSU. Should this final basket have been ruled offensive goal-tending instead? Some Wildcats fans say yes, but the refs ruled otherwise.
  • Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown pretty much ended any chance of him staying in Pittsburgh with this telling tweet saying it’s “time to move on and forward.” Wherever he goes, I’m sure he’ll still go highly drafted in most fantasy leagues.
  • At an AFC Fylde match, a group of lads successfully pranked the PA announcer into reading off a fabricated license plate number. Bart Simpson is proud.
  • Here’s the video containing the moment the plate was announced. Pure gold.
  • Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will likely be hearing from the NBA real soon after his final comments during the post-game press conference on Tuesday. Right before he stood up to leave, he leaned into the mic and said “And the referees [expletive] suck.” Hey, maybe he’s simply spreading awareness of this growing epidemic in pro sports.

Stick to Sports!

  • The teaser trailer for Disney’s Frozen II has just been released, and it looks like all your favorite friends and heroes are back for another epic adventure. I particularly like the tone they’re going with for this one. Now I’ll admit, I still haven’t seen the first Frozen, but I’ve read the synopsis and uncovered all the spoilery parts to spare myself from the soundtrack, so let it go already. The film hits theaters Nov. 22.

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