Happy Hump Day, friends and fans!
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Sooners 2020 non-conference matchup with the Army Black Knights was *officially* canceled following Monday’s news of a nine-plus-one schedule model for the Big 12. Given that this was intended to be an away game for OU, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 stipulations in the state of New York, this unfortunate development was largely expected as an inevitability.
We recognize the Big 12 Conference's decision to disallow non-conference away games.— ArmyWestPoint Sports (@GoArmyWestPoint) August 4, 2020
Given the decision, @ArmyWP_Football's scheduled game against Oklahoma at Michie Stadium on Sept. 26 has been canceled.
For more info, click the link below.#GoArmyhttps://t.co/wTKeFN3Je1
With Oklahoma most likely moving forward with Missouri State as its lone out-of-conference contest, the two major questions now concern the new season opener date and the start of Big 12 play. Currently, the Sooners are set to play on Aug. 29 and not again until Oct. 3. Clearly, amendments will need to be made to the schedule yet again and soon.
Voice of the Sooners Toby Rowland certainly has his connections, and here he explains what he’s been told are the possible scheduling scenarios OU is facing. These certainly seem to make the most sense, and more or less line up with what other Power Five conferences are attempting to do.
-I’m told B12 expected to announce Sep.19 or 26 as conference start date.— Toby Rowland (@TRowOU) August 4, 2020
-OU wants to play non-con game 2 weeks prior to B12 start date, thus...
If B12 start date 9/19....OU opens 9/5 vs Mo State
If B12 start date 9/26...OU opens vs Mo State (or replacement opponent) 9/12...
The one other question that needs to be addressed is Oklahoma’s non-conference opponent. Missouri State is by far and away the leader at this point, but a team from the FCS is obviously not the most alluring matchup for the Sooners on paper. Gabe Ikard recently shared his thoughts on why he feels MSU will remain on OU’s slate.
well. They’ve been working together for a while now and a trust has developed. Ditching them for a “more attractive” team brings unknowns and all of those details have to be worked through again. Missouri State may not be the sexiest opponent...but isn’t trust more important?— Gabe Ikard (@GabeIkard) August 4, 2020
I tend to agree with Ikard on all the points he expressed, and because of that I don’t see OU AD Joe Castiglione looking elsewhere for a higher profile matchup at the eleventh hour.
Now onto today’s Hot Links! Lincoln Riley is the coach of today and tomorrow, a couple former Sooners are in peak physical form for NFL training camp, a key West Virginia defender opts out of the 2020 season and more!
- On Tuesday, Joe Castiglione released a statement to the fans and donors thanking them for their patience as he and his staff work to devise a plan for the Oklahoma Football experience this season.
- By the numbers, OU Football is (massive understatement incoming) pretty darn popular, whether it’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, television, or across the major social media platforms. Boomer!
All on you & your brand @OU_Football— Annie Hanson (@AnnieHanson_) August 4, 2020
40+ @SInow Covers
37 @CollegeGameDay Appearances
129 Consecutive Sell-Outs
230 Consecutive Games on TV
ONLY School in Top 10 for IG, Twitter, FB (‘18,’19)
2 of Top 5 Most Popular CFB Players on Social (‘19)
& that’s just the start... pic.twitter.com/pdbKOE1eDy
- Speaking of SI, Greg Bishop recently penned a compelling piece on Lincoln Riley and how he’s uniquely been prepared to handle this unprecedented offseason and upcoming college football year better than anybody else. Not only has he shown he’s capable of making the right calls, he’s paving the way for the sport in ways no one else is. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend taking some time out of your day to give this article a read.
SI Daily Cover: At 36, Lincoln Riley doesn't have the years of experience of many of his coaching peers.— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 4, 2020
But he may be especially prepared for the unprecedented nature of 2020, writes @GregBishopSI https://t.co/VqmrACB2z3
- Second year cornerbacks coach Roy Manning has built a reputation around the Oklahoma program as a guy who has unrelenting confidence and energy. That’s all well and good, but at the end of the day what will ultimately determine his legacy will be the results he gets from the players he recruits and develops. Recently, he’s starting to prove himself on the trail as a valuable asset to the staff. Sooner Scoop’s Bob Przybylo has more.
- 247 Sports lead recruiting analyst Steve Wiltfong believes Oklahoma has enough left on the 2021 table to produce the nation’s top signing class. Sounds delightful, but I’d settle for a top-five finish.
- Joe Mixon says he’s in the best shape of his life, and judging by these two photos I’d say he’s probably not wrong. Fans expect big things from him this season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Speaking of former Sooners in great physical shape, Cleveland Browns GM Andrew Berry says QB Baker Mayfield is entering his third season as an NFL pro in excellent condition. Atta boy, Bake!
Around the Sports World
- The Big Ten Conference has made its 2020 football schedule official, with the league kicking off Sept. 5 and playing the regular season through Nov. 21. There are also reportedly multiple dates set for the championship game just in case any unforeseen changes are needed.
The football schedule starts as early as the weekend of Sept. 5 with final games slated for Nov. 21 to align with academic calendars. The Big Ten Football Championship Game remains scheduled for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium, though it could be moved as late as Dec. 19. pic.twitter.com/vWp3OSifBc— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) August 5, 2020
- In other college football related news, the UConn Huskies have become the first FBS team to cancel its 2020 season outright due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. When programs have to make decisions like this, it truly hurts my heart as a fan of the sport.
- Speaking of COVID-19, Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was briefly placed on the NFL’s new reserve list for testing positive for the novel virus, but was later taken off the list after it was discovered that his initial testing yielded a false positive. It’s good news that he doesn’t actually have the virus, but yikes, this is not a great look for the organization.
- Memphis Grizzlies forward and leading scorer Jaren Jackson Jr. has been ruled out for the season with a torn left meniscus. This is a particularly significant blow for a Grizz team who had high hopes of making the playoffs coming into the NBA bubble only to start out by losing its first three games of the restart.
- West Virginia Mountaineers sophomore safety Kerry Martin Jr. has formally announced his decision to opt of playing the 2020 college football season due to concerns for his health amid the pandemic. The WVU defender also reportedly battles ailments such as sickle cell anemia and asthma in addition to his struggles with mental health. Come back stronger in 2021, ‘KJ’!
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