Happy Tuesday, friends and fans!
The Big 12 Conference announced the official date and kick-off time for its championship game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. CT. ABC will carry the broadcast of the game.
It’s no surprise that this contest is once again slated for a morning tilt, but with such predictability comes familiarity. As far as the Oklahoma Sooners are concerned, the team still needs to take care of business on the field before clinching a fourth consecutive berth in the league’s title game. That task begins this weekend in Morgantown against a capable West Virginia squad. If OU can pass that test, all that will stand in the way of a sixth straight opportunity for a Big 12 championship is a struggling Baylor team on Dec. 5.
Now onto today’s Hot Links! The Oklahoma defense is building a reputation for pressuring quarterbacks, Shane Beamer has head coaching qualities that other programs are interested in, the first CFP rankings of the season debut tonight and more!
- On Monday, RB Rhamondre Stevenson was recognized as the Reese’s Offensive Senior of the Week after exploding for 195 total yards on 29 touches against Oklahoma State. His return in the last three games has transformed the Sooners’ offense from a solid Big 12 unit to one of the best in the nation.
This week’s Senior of the Week on Offense is @dreeday32 from @OU_Football - Pounded the rock for 141 yds, and had 3 catches for another 54 yds in #OUDNA 41-13 win over OSU.— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) November 23, 2020
- WR Marvin Mims is only a true freshman, but he finds himself in the company of some of the nation’s greatest pass-catchers this season according to Pro Football Focus. If he takes that natural step forward as a sophomore in 2021, look out.
Highest-graded WRs this season— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 24, 2020
1. DeVonta Smith, Alabama - 93.2
2. Jaquarii Roberson, Wake - 92.4
3. Elijah Moore, Ole Miss - 91.0
4. Marvin Mims, Oklahoma - 89.7
4. Dax Milne, BYU - 89.7 pic.twitter.com/WM47d2fSDq
- Also from PFF, redshirt sophomore LB Nik Bonitto has graded out as the Big 12’s top defender through eight games. The star power on this defense is truly growing by the week.
Highest-graded defender in each power five conference pic.twitter.com/7LB5S9AoCb— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 24, 2020
- ‘Speed D’ is humming right now, and word is starting to spread around the nation that this year’s Oklahoma defense is far from the weak link that plagued OU in years past. Up front, the Sooners are balling out with the very best of them.
Top 10 defenses in pressure rate— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) November 24, 2020
1. Colorado St 47.7%
2. USC 45%
3. Oklahoma 41.8%
4. Notre Dame 41%
5. Indiana 40.7%
6. Pitt 39.8%
7. Ohio St 39.8%
8. Clemson 39.6%
9. App State 39.4%
10. LSU 39.2%
- Oklahoma is outscoring its opponents 124-17 in the first quarter this season. With how well the Sooners are playing at the start of games, the West Virginia Mountaineers will need to weather the storm if they want to stay competitive against OU this Saturday.
- Tight ends and H-backs coach Shane Beamer has been an assistant in Norman since 2018, and with his rising resume, he’s a potential candidate for the head coaching vacancy at South Carolina. Whether he is offered that job or not, Lincoln Riley believes he’ll eventually make a great head coach some day.
- 2022 five-star CB Will Johnson out of Grosse Pointe, Michigan recently narrowed his list of collegiate destinations to five, and OU made the cut. Rounding out the rest of the list are Michigan, Ohio State, Arizona State and USC.
- OU’s Athletic Department released another week (Nov. 15-21) of COVID-19 testing data. Out of a combined 379 student-athletes and staff members tested, only eight yielded positive results. Overall, the Sooners’ positivity rate remains at two percent.
- In case you missed it, the fine folks from BreakingT designed this epic Bedlam t-shirt inspired by the hallowed words of the one and only Baker Mayfield. After Oklahoma annihilated OSU last Saturday, little brother was indeed put back in his place. Now, Sooners fans can let lil bro know about it this holiday season. I’ll tell you what, this tee is worth a lot more than a year of bragging rights, so place your order as soon as possible and let the world know which side of the nation’s most lop-sided rivalry you stand on.
- Also, now seems like a good time to re-promote the ‘Quick-Strike Offense’ shirt!
Around the Sports World
- The College Football Playoff committee will reveal its initial rankings tonight at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. From this point forward, this poll will determine where teams stand in regards to the CFP picture and beyond. Of course, there are a lot of unknowns with this first release, but one thing is for sure, there will be plenty of debates (most of them silly) to immediately follow.
- The Baltimore Ravens’ football facilities have been closed due to an internal COVID-19 outbreak within the organization. The team is currently scheduled to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving this Thursday night, but the game could be in jeopardy of being postponed.
- In NBA free agency news, the Houston Rockets have signed C DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal.
- On Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves announced their signing of former Tampa Bay Rays RHP Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million contract.
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