CFT preseason No. 4: Oklahoma

4 Comments

2010 record: 12-2, 6-2 (T-1st Big 12 South)

2010 bowl: 48-20 win over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl

2010 final AP/coaches’ ranking: 6th/6th

Coach: Bob Stoops, 13th year

Offensive coordinator: Josh Heupel, second year; Jay Norvell, fourth year

2010 offensive rankings: 14th, scoring offense (37.2 ppg); 10th, total offense (481.4 ypg); 83rd, rushing offense (138 ypg); third, passing offense (343.4 ypg)

Defensive coordinator: Brent Venables, 13th year

2010 defensive rankings: 33rd, scoring defense (21.8 ppg); 53rd, total defense (361.9 ypg); 58th, rushing defense (148.9 ypg); 51st, passing defense (212.9 ypg)

Returning offensive starters: 8

Returning defensive starters: 6

Location: Norman, Okla.

Stadium: Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial (grass; 82,112)

Last league title: 2010

2011 schedule: [view]

2011 roster: [view]

2010 statistics: [view]

Snapshot: Surprised that the team that is the No. 1 team in the country in the Associated Press and coaches’ preseason Top 25 polls and probably the Associated Press’ preseason poll sits back in fourth in our little endeavor? Yeah, so am I somewhat.

There’s little doubt that on paper the Sooners are one of the most talent-laden teams in the country. Their 14 returning starters from their Big 12-winning team of a year ago is one of the top totals in Division 1-A (FCS), and included in that total are a Heisman and All-American candidate at quarterback — Landry Jones — and one of the most prolific receivers in the game — Ryan Broyles. Seven starters from a top-35 defense returns, although three-quarters of the secondary will need to be replaced and the interior of the defensive line is somewhat sketchy. Additionally, there’s a huge hole at the linebacker position following the tragic death of starter Austin Box this offseason and a broken foot suffered in practice by Travis Lewis, the Sooners’ leading tackler the last three seasons, that will sideline him for at least the first month of the season. On the offensive side of the ball, the production of three-year starter DeMarco Murray will be tough to replace, although the running back-by-committee approach, relying heavily on Roy Finch and true freshman Brandon Williams, should be better than average.

That season-ending trip to Stillwater against Oklahoma State notwithstanding, the Sooners are clearly — again, on paper and in all facets of the game — the class of the Big 12. So, why the “low” initial ranking? I get the feeling that the trip to Tallahassee to face Florida State the second week of the season will be the lone blemish of an otherwise perfect season. If it doesn’t turn out the way I see it, though, the Sooners could be in line for a clear path to New Orleans and the BcS title game — provided that little Bedlam thing at the end of the year doesn’t trip them up, of course.

Make-or-break game: Dec. 3 at Oklahoma State

Obviously the Florida State game will go a long way in determining how the national scene will set itself up early on in the season. The early November matchup with Texas A&M will be no pushover, either, although the Sooners will draw the Aggies in Norman. That season-ending game against in-state rival Oklahoma State, on the other hand, could be an epic one for the ages. With manageable schedules — A&M will be the stiffest test for both — leading up to the early December showdown, the stage could very well be set for a pair of unbeaten teams in conference play — and, if OU can handle FSU and Oklahoma State does the same with Arizona in non-conference play, unbeaten overall — meeting to decide not only the conference champion but the league’s representative in a BcS bowl as well.

Heisman hopeful: Jones

While Jones was not among the top 10 in votes for last season’s Heisman, that should change in a very big way in 2011. Jones’ 4,718 yards passing was second in the country (Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz, 5,040) last year, while his 38 touchdowns were second to Moniz (39) as well. Murray’s departure could force the Sooners to rely even more heavily on Jones’ right arm than it did last year, which would no doubt bump up what were already impressive numbers in his “second” season as a full-time starter.

Postseason projection: Fiesta Bowl

Return to CFT’s preseason Top 25

Big 12 preview, vote

Kellen Mond and Texas A&M teasing classic uniform look for Aggies?

Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas A&M has had a number of uniforms over the years, mostly with slight variations from one another during the course of the season. And while there have been some really good looks and some truly awful ones, it never hurts any program to go back to the basics. And unless Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond and athletics director Ross Bjork are just pulling our chains, it seems the Aggies could be bringing back a classic design this upcoming season.

The fire was lit on the wild speculation when Mond retweeted a message on Twitter from the Barstool Sports Texas A&M account reflecting on the classic uniform design of the Aggies.

When someone else on Twitter directed this response from Mond to Bjork, Bjork seemed to play along.

The hope is Texas A&M will make their main home uniform look closer to the look used in the 1990s, with a slightly larger “Texas A&M” block lettering across the front of the jersey and the removal of the bezel numbering. And, of course, making sure there are no stripes on the shoulders. The throwback look did make a return to the Aggies last season, so hopefully those designs get promoted to more regular use whenever college football is played in College Station.

Sometimes less is more. In the case of Texas A&M football uniforms, that should be the guiding principle in the design process.

Toledo head coach Jason Candle treats first responders to free lunches

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
1 Comment

Times are tough for local businesses around the country right now, which is why Toledo head coach Jason Candle chose to do some goodwill in his local community.

After hearing about the economic struggles of Ed Beczynski, a local restaurant owner who has provided catered meals for Toledo football, Candle stepped in to help him out while providing some free meals for police and firefighters in Toledo. Candle bought lunch from Buczynski’s deli for the Toledo Police department and four local fire stations in Toledo.

“First and foremost, I wanted to help the people out on the frontlines,” Candle said in a phone interview last week, according to Yahoo! Sports. “But I really wanted to use it as a way to spark other people to get involved, too. These are tough times, uncertain times. I thought it was a way to try and make a small difference.”

The act certainly inspired others to do the same. Beczynski says orders have been flying in since Candle’s act of kindness, both for standard food orders and for similar orders to provide to first responders and those in the medical field fighting the coronavirus pandemic firsthand.

FAU TE John Raine enters transfer portal

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of FAU’s top receiving targets from 2019 could be on the move. Owls tight end John Raine has reportedly entered his name in the NCAA transfer portal database. Adam Rittenberg of ESPN was among the first to report the transfer portal update, via Twitter.

As a graduate transfer, Raines will be eligible to play this fall for whatever team he ends up joining. Last season, Raines caught 38 passes for 343 yards and six touchdowns, the second-most touchdown receptions on the team last fall.

FAU will certainly be a program in transition in 2020 with a new head coach and coaching staff. FAU is now losing four of its top five receivers from last season due to graduation or transfer. One of those leading receivers from last season was tight end Harrison Bryant, who is considered among the top tight end prospects in the NFL draft. No other tight ends caught a pass for the Owls in 2019.

 

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

college football
Getty Images
1 Comment

The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 5, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2018

THE HEADLINE: Bear Bryant’s great-grandson commits to play for Alabama
THE SYNOPSIS: Paul Tyson was rated as a four-star 2019 recruit on the 247Sports.com composite.  The Alabama coaching legend’s kin took a redshirt for his true freshman season after appearing in one game.  He’ll be a part of the competition to replace Tua Tagovailoa under center.  If when prep work for the 2020 campaign restarts, of course.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Ohio State committee approves two-year extension for Urban Meyer
THE SYNOPSIS: The extension would’ve kept Meyer in Columbus through the 2022 season.  Instead, eight months later, Meyer announced he was retiring at the end of the 2018 season.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Penn State trustee who was “running out of sympathy” for “so-called victims” of Jerry Sandusky not seeking second term
THE SYNOPSIS: For once, the shipdit made the right call.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Oklahoma football player accused of pimping out former Sooner cheerleader
THE SYNOPSIS: There’s a headline you don’t see every day.  Lawrence Moore was a 2013 signee.  The cornerback played in two games as a true freshman for Oklahoma before leaving the program.  Micah Madison Parker was a member of OU’s cheerleading squad during Moore’s lone season with the Sooners.

2015

THE HEADLINE: UGA’s three-man QB battle whittled down to two?
THE SYNOPSIS: Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Jacob Park entered the spring as part of the under-center competition.  Exiting, it was down to Bauta and Ramsey.  In the end, neither started the opener.  That honor instead went to Greyson Lambert, who transferred in from Virginia in June.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Updated: Bobby Petrino placed on administrative leave
THE SYNOPSIS: Earlier in the day, the then-Arkansas head coach claimed he was alone on his motorcycle when he wrecked earlier in the month.  As it turned out, a female who wasn’t his wife was on the bike with him.  Jessica Dorrell became the student-athlete development coordinator for football the previous month.  Five days later, Petrino, who admitted to an affair with Dorrell, was fired.

2012

THE HEADLINE: USC it is: top ’13 QB tabs Trojans over Sooners, Tide, Huskies
THE SYNOPSIS: Max Browne chose USC over Oklahoma, Alabama and home-state Washington.  Redshirting as a true freshman, Browne spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as Cody Kessler’s primary backup. After winning the starting job in 2016, Browne lost his job to Sam Darnold following a 1-2 start.  A few months later, Browne transferred to Pitt.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Big Ten ‘super conference’ talk gaining momentum?
THE SYNOPSIS: The rumor du jour was that the Big Ten would move to 16 teams.  11 teams at the time, the Midwestern conference would instead add just three additional schools.  Nebraska in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.