Memorial Stadium in Norman is getting set to undergo a major and pricey renovation, former Oklahoma quarterback-turned-broadcaster Dean Blevins reported overnight.
According to the KWTV sports anchor, multiple sources have confirmed that “a Master Expansion Plan for Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium has been approved and is expected to be announced at a future OU Board of Regents meeting.” The renovation would commence shortly after the final regular season game of the 2014 season (Dec. 6 versus rival Oklahoma State) and would be completed before the 2015 season opener Sept. 5 against Akron.
The price tag for first construction on the stadium in more than a decade? At least $350 million, possibly reaching $400 million.
Here’s a partial list of the work the renovation plans entail:
— Current suites are expected to be upgraded and updated while new suites will be added in the south end zone.
— New press box.
— “Substantial facilities upgrades in the south end zone, where the players currently dress, meet and press conferences are held, would result in a state-of-the-art weight room and training facilities – a huge recruiting tool in today’s environment.”
— Additional seating that would increase the capacity from 82,112 to more than 90,000.
The added seating would move OU from 16th in the country to 12th, trailing, from 1-11, Michigan, Penn State, Texas A&M (upon completion of Kyle Field’s renovation), Tennessee, Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, USC, Georgia, LSU and UCLA. The television station’s website notes that there is a waiting list in excess of 15,000 people for season tickets.
(Photo credit: Oklahoma athletics)
There was not a whole lot of movement in the top portion of the Amway Coaches Poll this week, as most of the top teams maintained their positioning within the top 10. Alabama remains on top of the coaches poll, without much debate, ahead of Ohio State, Clemson and Louisville.
The Miami Hurricanes had the biggest rise in the coaches poll this week, jumping up five spots to No. 14 with a 3-0 record. The Hurricanes trail No. 13 Baylor, the highest-ranked team in the Big 12 in this week’s coaches poll.
No. 8 Wisconsin is one of three Big Ten teams in the top 10, joining Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan. No. 15 Nebraska moved ahead of No. 16 Michigan State this week.
Here is the full coaches top 25 for this week, with first-place votes noted;
- Alabama (61)
- Ohio State (2)
- Clemson (1)
- Texas A&M
- Florida State
- Michigan State
- Ole Miss
- North Carolina
- San Diego State
With a lead in a tight game against Oklahoma State on Saturday night in Waco, Baylor head coach Jim Grobe appeared to make one of the most ridiculous coaching decisions witnessed in a while when Baylor lined up to go for a first down on fourth and one from its own 24-yard line in the third quarter. After the game, Grobe said he was calling for a punt but a headset malfunction meant nobody heard his call.
That’s because Grobe accidentally turned off his headset.
“All season it seems like when our defense has our backs against the wall we play better, so I figured I’ll just spot them on the 20,” Grobe said in a laughing manner after the game. He was fortunate to be able to laugh it off, because that could have been a game-changing play.
The communications issue did not harm Baylor — the defense stuffed Oklahoma State on a fourth down play at the one-yard line and the offense moved 99 yards for a touchdown — but that is simply something that can never happen, and a head coach needs to find a way to step in and make sure his team is not going for it on a textbook punting situation. Oklahoma State could have settled for taking three free points with a short field goal kick, which would have trimmed the Baylor lead down to just one point at the time, but Mike Gundy went for the lead and a touchdown.
In Gundy’s defense, knowing how potent Baylor is on offense, going for the touchdown made sense in that situation. It is the obvious case of hindsight being 20/20, although it was just the third quarter, and not the fourth.
One of the bright spots for Arizona in the first month of the season had been freshman running back JJ Taylor. Unfortunately for he and Arizona, he will be missing some serious playing time after suffering a broken ankle Saturday night against Washington.
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez announced after an overtime loss against Washington that Taylor broke his left ankle. Before having to leave the game with an injury, Taylor had rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against Washington. It is expected Taylor could miss the next six to eight weeks of action, which could effectively end his season.
Ironically, Taylor was showing off his ability to break ankles earlier in the game…
Auburn fans celebrated a wild victory against SEC West rival LSU last night the way they always do, by rolling the oaks at Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper. It is a tradition that goes back decades, which makes the oaks a target for some. On Saturday night, one of the trees at Toomer’s Corner went up in flames after somebody lit the dangling toilet paper on fire.
It would appear there is some video footage that captures the arsonist in action, although it is difficult to tell exactly who is the one doing the crime.
Fortunately, it seems the one responsible for lighting the tree on fire may have been apprehended and spent the night in jail.