Happy Hump Day, friends and fans!
As of this Wednesday morning, the Oklahoma Sooners are one of a handful of remaining teams in the FBS who are still scheduled to play all 12 of its 2020 season games. While the chances of it actually happening are seemingly dwindling by the day, it’s still a rather unique place to be with August right around the corner.
Speaking of the 2020 season, Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman relayed rumblings that suggest the ADs in the Big 12 are still on-board for a full 12-game schedule, although alternatives are actively being discussed. One such alternative on the table is a ‘plus-one’ model featuring the standard round robin league slate plus one non-conference contest. Reportedly, there’s also talk of making OU-Texas a home-and-home series for this fall and the next. Wait, what?
Continue to hear that Big 12 ADs want a full 12-game schedule. But the "plus-one" model is on the table: 9 league + 1 non-con. Also, Texas-OU could be home/home for 2 years in worst-case scenario.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) July 22, 2020
Davis notes that making the Red River Showdown a home-and-home series for 2020 and 2021 would essentially be a ‘worst-case scenario’, and while in a perfect world I’d vehemently disagree, this obviously ain’t that. The pro for this scenario would be minimizing the combined travel between teams, allowing one school to hang back in their pseudo-bubble.
However, the real problem with such a potentially major development would be for whoever hosts the game this fall would do so with either severely limited or zero fan attendance. In 2019, the Texas Longhorns were the “home team” in Dallas, so that would likely mean Oklahoma would draw the short straw in such an unprecedented series. While UT would visit Norman with little to no crowd disadvantage, the Sooners would then have to play in an extremely hostile environment inside DKR on the Forty Acres in 2021. I’m all for true road games in this rivalry, but let’s start that up next year, not this October.
Now on to today’s Hot Links! A few major college football award watch lists feature a quartet of Sooners, Oklahoma’s beer sales are proof the school made the right move, Russ West is back and more!
- On Wednesday, redshirt sophomore placekicker Gabe Brkic was named to the 2020 Lou Groza Award watch list. The young Sooner specialist notably went 17-for-17 on field goals in 2019, and even made all 52 extra point attempts. In the 28-year history of the honor, no Oklahoma player has ever been named its recipient.
- On Tuesday, junior DE Ronnie Perkins was named to the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Award watch list — an honor reserved for the nation’s top defensive player. In the 27 year history of the award, two Sooners — S Roy Williams (‘01) and CB Derrick Strait (‘03) — have taken home the hardware.
- In related preseason news, redshirt juniors C Creed Humphrey and OT Adrian Ealy were each named to the John Outland Trophy watch list — an honor granted to the nation’s top interior lineman. In OU program history, five Sooners have been named Outland winners: Jim Weatherall (‘51), J. D. Roberts (‘53), Lee Roy Selmon (‘75), Greg Roberts (‘78) and Jammal Brown (‘04). With so much experience returning up front, either Humphrey or Ealy could find themselves in the thick of the race come late November.
- On Tuesday, fans from Oklahoma learned that they would not be able to travel to West Point to watch OU take on the Army Black Knights, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fans from attending all sporting events in the Empire State. Sooners Wire’s Steven Plaisance has more details.
- Per a records request, the OU Daily discovered Oklahoma’s first season of alcohol sales at home football games in 2019 netted the school nearly $1.3 million. I’ll drink to that.
- Lincoln Riley is undoubtedly one of college football’s top recruiters, and he’s assembled quite the coaching staff who also get things done on the trail. Recently, OU offered a highly-rated, long-time Texas pledge, and the 2021 class sounded off in approval. SI Sooners’ Parker Thune has more on how Riley the Recruiter is embracing his inner villain.
Around the Sports World
- After testing positive for COVID-19, Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook has been medically cleared inside the Orlando bubble and will be able to return to practice with his team on Wednesday. It’ll be great to see the Brodie back on the court!
- Sticking with the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley has left the bubble to tend to an emergency personal matter, but he is expected to return to his team at some point.
- The West Virginia Mountaineers have parted ways with second-year defensive coordinator Vic Koenning following an investigation into comments and practices he allegedly said and used toward his players.
- Since the Toronto Blue Jays will be unable to host games on their home field north of the U.S. border, the organization has reached an agreement with PNC Park — home of the Pittsburgh Pirates — to share the stadium during the upcoming condensed 2020 MLB season.
- Former UConn Huskies forward Stanley Robinson (2006-10) was found dead in his home on Wednesday morning. ‘Sticks’ was a key part of Connecticut’s Final Four run in 2009. The cause of death is currently undetermined at this time. He was 32.
The UConn Basketball family grieves the loss of a great player and an even greater person, Stanley “Sticks” Robinson. Our thoughts and prayers are with Stanley’s family at this difficult time— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) July 22, 2020
Rest In Peace, Sticks. pic.twitter.com/ihm5z0h1OK
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