Nine Oklahoma Sooners football players test positive for COVID-19

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 8/15/20

The Big 12 is still intent on kicking off its college football season next month. That’s despite the discouraging COVID-19 numbers around the United States.

It’s going to be a major question mark as times goes by. Can the conference even remotely hope to finish the season amid this pandemic?

We now have some more bad news on this front.

Riley notes that the nine players tested positive after returning home, a fact that was made possible with contact tracing. A total of 75% of Sooners football players remained in Norman.

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Report: Big 12 leaning toward playing fall college football season

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/11/20

The Big 12 doesn’t yet intend on following the Big Ten and Pac-12 in postponing or canceling football and other fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday afternoon, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported that the Big 12 was still leaning toward playing this fall ahead of a 6 pm ET call among conference presidents.

“The mindset is it’s too early,” a Big 12 source reportedly said. “Unless the medical folks flip the switch, [we’ll go].”

The Big 12, ACC, and SEC all continue to monitor developments as it concerns the uncontrolled virus outbreak. After the Big 12 canceled its virtual media day in late July, league commissioner Bob Bowlsby explained that a final decision on football and other fall sports would be made at a later time.

Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a Duke infectious disease specialist who also serves as chair of the ACC’s medical advisory team, recently told Michael Smith of Sports Business Daily he believes football seasons can begin, as scheduled, this fall.

“We believe we can mitigate it down to a level that makes everyone safe,” Dr. Wolfe said.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey tweeted on Monday that he intends to remain patient before making a call on fall seasons: 

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Big 12 commissioner fears coronavirus pandemic may interrupt CFB season

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby expects the college football season to begin on time, but that doesn’t mean he has no concerns about the coronavirus pandemic impacting the college football season.

He sounds pretty concerned with the end of the season and playoffs being affected by a resurgence in the coronavirus. 

“I worry more about the end of the season and the postseason than I do the beginning parts of the season,” Bowlsby said on Sirius XM’s Big 12 radio, according to ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. “If the virus comes roaring back in the traditional flu and virus season in November, December, through March, I wonder if we’re going to get basketball seasons in, I wonder if we’re going to get the [College Football Playoff] in, I wonder if we’re going to get the NCAA tournament in. We will be very lucky to get through the postseason and the basketball season without disruptions.”

At this point, there’s no word on whether or not the college football season will even begin on time, but Bowlsby brings up a great point on the coronavirus potentially regaining steam.

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By Erin Walsh | Last updated 5/1/20

Early Favorites To Win College Basketball’s Power Conferences

Everything in college basketball changes when conference play begins.

Those in power have done wonders to drum up interest in early-season action, with big name teams being featured in tournaments and showcases for the first few months of the season. But blowout wins over cupcake opponents and sloppy early-season play are littered throughout that part of the schedule.

Conference play brings rivalries, road games with student-sections, and a landslide of upsets. In short, it’s the reason we love college basketball. On top of that, succeeding in one of America’s toughest conferences is the best way to prove yourself before March Madness tips off.

With that in mind, here are the early favorites to win the six biggest conferences in college hoops.

ACC – Duke

The Blue Devils might be the boring and obvious pick, but at this point in the season, they are also the most qualified. Duke’s overtime home loss to Stephen F. Austin was a bad mishap, but it’s their only blemish so far. Aside from that slip-up, Duke has impressed with wins over Michigan State, Kansas, Georgetown and Miami.

The ACC’s other top contender, Louisville, lost at home to Florida State this weekend and only gets to play Duke once this season — a road game at Cameron Indoor. Advantage to the Blue Devils.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Big East – Butler

It’s always somewhat shocking to pencil anyone into a Big East title that is not Villanova, yet Butler’s play so far this season has been eye-popping enough to earn this level of respect. The Bulldogs have just one loss, by one point at 4th-ranked Baylor.

Head coach LaVall Jordan has Butler winning games on the defensive end of the floor. The Bulldogs rank fourth in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, thanks to top-ten performances in 3-point percentage allowed, effective field goal percentage allowed and defensive rebounding rate. Butler fights to get stops and follows them with rebounds.

Offensively, everything churns through senior guard Kamar Baldwin. His 14.7 point per game average doesn’t fully explain how capable he is of taking over a game in crunch time.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten – Michigan State

A few weeks ago, when Ohio State was 9-0 and ranked in the top three in the AP Poll, this answer would have been different. Back then, Michigan State was just 6-3 and clearly had some issues on the offensive end.

Since December 8, Ohio State has lost three of its last five games, while Michigan State has sparked a six-game winning streak. The Spartans are now two games ahead of the Buckeyes in the loss column in Big Ten play and sit a full 1.5 games ahead of the rest of the conference in the standings.

Make no mistake — the Big Ten is college basketball’s toughest conference and will be an absolute battle all season long. Even so, any team eager to compete for the title will need to go into the Breslin Center in East Lansing and win. With Tom Izzo on the sidelines and Cassius Winston patrolling the court for Sparty, that’s not likely to happen much, if at all, this season.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports
By Shane McNichol  |  Last updated 1/7/20

Early CFB Predictions For 2017 Conference Champions

Written by David Kenyon at Bleacher

Ohio State showed last year that winning a conference is not a prerequisite to reach the College Football Playoff. But the Buckeyes’ 2016 appearance doesn’t disprove that hoisting the league’s trophy is part of the simplest path to the sport’s championship.

Head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have proved that notion, and the Crimson Tide will attempt to continue their dynastic reign over the SEC in 2017. But they’re not without challengers.

Unlike some years, the same can be said in every power conference. Everyone has their respective favorites for the upcoming season. While there are consensus choices, no team is a unanimous pick.

Although the “Group of Five” leagues will likely be shut out of the playoff, there are a handful of talented teams vying for the New Year’s Six bowl game berths.

And if our predictions come true, it’s a good year to wear red.

American: South Florida

Player to watch: Among quarterbacks in the Group of Five, Quinton Flowers is the most productive dual-threat weapon. He amassed 4,342 yards of total offense and 42 touchdowns last season. He is already an efficient passer, but improved downfield accuracy would make him a nightmare to defend.

Biggest threats: The Houston Cougars will remain contenders if Kyle Allen and new head coach Major Applewhite can continue what Tom Herman started. Plus, Ed Oliver is as dominant a defensive tackle as we’ll see in college football. Then, while development isn’t linear, the Memphis Tigers return a strong majority of their offense, most notably quarterback Riley Ferguson and wide receiver Anthony Miller. That firepower will always be dangerous.

Why they’ll win: The Temple Owls shouldn’t fall off completely, but there’s little doubt USF plays in the slightly weaker division this season. Houston, Memphis, Navy and Tulsa will beat up on each other in the American West. Although the Bulls must quickly adapt to head coach Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, an experienced roster led by Flowers will give the program its first conference championship.

ACC: Florida State

Player to watch: Deondre Francois’ progression at quarterback is crucial, but Florida State is a leading contender for the ACC particularly because of its defense. Derwin James, who was only healthy for six-plus quarters last season, is an essential piece of the unit. The well-rounded and versatile safety has All-American potential.

Biggest threats: The reigning national champions might have something to say behind a similarly elite defense. If the Clemson Tigers can settle the uncertainty under center, they’ll be looked upon even more favorably. Although the Louisville Cardinals have several minor weaknesses, we’re not counting out an explosive playmaker in 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to conjure up some magic when needed most.

Why they’ll win: Francois and Co. probably won’t shatter the scoreboard many times. With this defense leading the way, however, the ‘Noles are a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. Balance and consistency will guide FSU to an ACC crown.

Big 12: Oklahoma

Player to watch: Replacing the triumvirate of running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon and wide receiver Dede Westbrook will be a great challenge for the Oklahoma Sooners. Having Baker Mayfield at quarterback for another season makes it a bit easier. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist has topped the 4,000-yard barrier for total offense twice and led the Sooners to a 17-1 Big 12 record.

Biggest threat: The Oklahoma State Cowboys should have an explosive offense with quarterback Mason Rudolph and a complementary bunch of receivers. The Pokes could even snatch the regular-season meeting at home and enter the Big 12 championship as the higher-ranked team. Winning this matchup twice in a row would be tremendously difficult—and that notion goes both ways.

Why they’ll win: A spirited effort Nov. 4 at home in Stillwater, Oklahoma, wouldn’t wrap up the Big 12 title for the Cowboys. The conference’s desire to hold a championship game might be the Sooners’ gain, giving Mayfield and what seems like a marginally more trustworthy defense a second chance at a neutral site in AT&T Stadium.

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Baylor And WVU Lose, Big 12 Might Be Out of the Playoff

Written by Jon Solomon at

The College Football Playoff breathed a huge sigh of relief Saturday. In reality, so did the Big 12.

Baylor lost.

No one with the CFP or Big 12 will ever say this. They cannot, nor should they. Despite the fallout still occurring from Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, the 2016 Bears should have always been judged as a playoff team by their on-field performance, which frankly wasn’t that good.

But Texas 35, Baylor 34 spares the CFP from the uncomfortable conversation, even though the Bears were never good enough to go undefeated. The Bears’ first lossspares the Big 12’s last playoff hope being its most scandalous athletic program. You better believe virtually no one in college football wanted to hear weekly CFP Rankings talk of Baylor while sexual assault stories keep coming out.

Thanks for playing, Big 12. See you in 2017 with your conference championship game and One True Division. Is it too late for the Big 12 to expand and add someone in November?

Coupled with West Virginia’s loss to Oklahoma State, the Big 12 is essentially out of the CFP for the second time in three years. Think about how down the Big 12 was to become a Power Five conference that’s knocked out of the playoff race before Halloween.

The Big 12 didn’t get eliminated in 2014 until selection day during the great Ohio State/TCU/Baylor debate. The Pac-12 got knocked out in 2015 on Nov. 14 whenStanford lost to Oregon and Utah got clipped by Arizona in double-overtime. The Big 12 was so down in 2016 that it’s irrelevant nationally for the final five weeks of the season.

Oklahoma resumes its traditional position as the Big 12 favorite. But with losses to Houston and Ohio State, both of which look shakier by the week, the Sooners can’t get into the playoff race given the quality of the Big 12.

Next year, the Big 12 will stick to no divisions when adding a championship game. The top two teams after a round-robin schedule will play for the title in a rematch.

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Iowa State AD Drops Some Knowledge on Big 12 Expansion

Written by Jason Kirk at

The Big 12 announced Monday that it’s not gonna expand after all. This has renewed much angst over the conference’s immediate and long-term future, some of it reasonable and some of it classifiable as mere hollerin’.

Here’s a good, candid interview of Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard by KXNO. Some of Pollard’s comments, as transcribed in part by 247Sports:

[Big 12] commissioner [Bob] Bowlsby was kind of forced into having to go through this process. When you know that the athletic administrators think that the best solution is the solution we currently have, why would we then want to say, ‘No, we’d rather have 12 members?’

Because we want to add more schools to this league that are going to be like Rutgers or Boston College in their conferences? Which have no fans coming to the games, and they’re getting outscored 170 to whatever it was. In Boston College’s case, haven’t won a game in two to three years in their conference. That totally dilutes your value.

At 10, we give ourselves a lot more flexibility down the road versus adding maybe members that would only clutter up the process. People say, ‘In eight years, Texas and Oklahoma are going to bolt.’ Well, if we added teams and forced it on them, I guarantee they’d bolt. So that’s a part of this process that people aren’t thinking about.

The Big 12 exists because we have Texas and Oklahoma in the room. If we take Texas and Oklahoma out of the room, we’re the Mountain West Conference, and we’re getting $3 million [in annual TV revenue, a drastic decrease]. We’ve got two star players, whether people want to like that or not: Texas and Oklahoma.

I’m glad to be on a team that’s got two great players. We benefit from being on that team. We could go play on a team and be the star, but then people would be saying, ‘How do you get us in one of those Power Five conferences, Mr. AD?'”

I don’t fault anybody for making a mockery of the process from the outside, because if you were on the outside, that’s what it looked like. I think the best thing that could happen for the Big 12, is that everybody who’s talking about what they think they know is the right answer to quit talking about it, and just let the ADs go do what they need to do.

I think it’s fair to say that a lot more money will be coming into the Big 12 over the next eight years. The league is really strong. Everybody just wants to beat it up.

I guarantee as it appears today, somebody’s not going to get in the College Football Playoff this year. If it’s a Big 12 team, I can guarantee somebody’s going to say, ‘It’s because the Big 12 didn’t expand.’ I guarantee that will be the narrative, because it’s an easy narrative to pick on. But I’d remind them, it’s never quite as clear as any of us would like it to be.

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College Football Rewind For Week 6

Written by Ralph D. Russo at

If the first six weeks of the college football season have taught fans anything, it’s this: Never turn off a Tennessee game.

The Volunteers remained America’s most interesting college football team, though not undefeated. Navy upset the playoff race and Charlie Strong had another bad, bad day.

Thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from Week 6:

1. If you were looking forward to a couple of months of talking about whether No. 6 Houston could or should be selected for the College Football Playoff, Navy just ruined it for you. The dream is not quite dead for the Cougars, but it is on life support.

2. Best-case scenario for Houston: 12-1 with an American Athletic Conference championship game victory against a USF team with only one loss coming in. Oklahoma wins the Big 12. Louisville, which plays at Houston in November, doesn’t lose another game. Could that resume be good enough to get Houston into the playoff if a bunch of Power Five conference teams finish the regular season with multiple losses.

3. The other big winner with Houston losing: No. 19 Boise State and Western Michigan. Both those unbeaten Broncos will be competing with the Cougars for the Group of Five’s automatic bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl.

4. Because this is college football, somewhere there is at least one Houston fan complaining that Tom Herman is all hype and just might not be the guy to get the Cougars over the top.

5. Speaking of Herman, let’s talk Texas.

6. Charlie Strong, a former defensive coordinator, took over those duties at Texas this week. TheLonghorns allowed 672 yards in a loss to Oklahoma , the third consecutive game of more than 500 and five yards shy of the most the Sooners have ever gained against Texas. So who gets replaced now?

7. At some point the negativity around a program can become so overwhelming, success seems impossible. Texas seems very close to reaching that point.

8. How will No. 9 Tennessee have anything left for No. 1 Alabama next week after emotional rallies against Florida, Georgia and now Texas A&M? The Vols couldn’t complete the deal against the Aggies.

9. Hard to see the Vols beating the Crimson Tide in Knoxville, but chances are decent it is an entertaining.

10. Alabama is so good it is driving fans of other teams a little crazy.

11. Texas A&M had been 5-0 each of the last three seasons, but couldn’t get to 6-0. The Aggies now have a week off before playing at Alabama with house money. Trevor Knight, who accounted for five touchdowns against the Vols, does have a history of success against the Crimson Tide.Small sample size, but still.

12. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he wasn’t trying to give Jabrill Peppers a chance to shine in his home state of New Jersey, but there was no doubt the prime-time blowout of Rutgers was the do-it-all star’s opportunity to get some Heisman Trophy traction.

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Is Oklahoma Opposed To Expansion?

Written by Chuck Carlton at

Less than three weeks from a pivotal presidents meeting, one of the Big 12’s power brokers says his school has not decided on expansion.

With multiple industry sources indicated that Oklahoma President David Boren was now opposing talk of expansion within the conference, Boren issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying his school does not have a position yet.

“I do not know where the speculation came from, but Oklahoma has not taken a position on expansion,” Boren said in a statement. was the first to report that Boren was against expansion.

The Big 12 board of directors is scheduled to meet Oct. 17 in north Texas to discuss expansion. Any prospective member needs eight votes to be added.

Boren’s opposition would be notable because Oklahoma, along with Texas, occupies an important role in the conference. As chairman of the Big 12’s board of directors, Boren has been a key voice in the process.

He pushed expansion publicly when few schools wanted to pursue the option and suggested in June 2015 that the Big 12 was “psychologically disadvantaged” by only having 10 members.

It was Boren who said repeatedly that the Big 12 needed to explore a championship game, since approved, and the possibility of a TV network, which isn’t happening.

Boren surprised many two weeks ago by suggesting expansion wasn’t a given following an OU board of regents meeting. The about face immediately got the attention of school presidents and athletic administrators throughout the conference.

Sources indicated that Borens’s favorite in expansion was BYU, which is now viewed as radioactive because of its stance on LGBT and Title IX issues pending any changes in the school’s honor code. But it does have the backing of the Big 12’s TV partners, especially ESPN.

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Big 12 Lists 18 Potential Expansion Teams

Written by Dan Lyons at

Big 12 expansion continues to be the hottest topic of this college football offseason, and we now know the schools that are vying for an invitation. According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, 18 total schools are being considered by the league, and some of the names are quite surprising.

The full list:

  • Air Force Falcons
  • Arkansas State Red Wolves
  • Boise State Broncos
  • BYU Cougars
  • Cincinnati Bearcats
  • Colorado State Rams
  • Connecticut Huskies
  • East Carolina Pirates
  • Houston Cougars
  • Memphis Tigers
  • Northern Illinois Huskies
  • New Mexico Lobos
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • SMU Mustangs
  • Temple Owls
  • Tulane Green Wave
  • UCF Knights
  • USF Bulls

Many of these schools, like BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and Memphis, are no surprise. A number of them have made their interest in the Big 12 extremely public and obvious. Air Force, Arkansas State, New Mexico? Those are a bit more out there.

Numerous reports have come out over the last few weeks, about which schools are favored by the most influential members of the league. According to’s Jason Williams, Oklahoma likes the Bearcats, while Texas may favor Houston.

Which of these 18 schools make the most sense for the Big 12? Which are totally unrealistic? We’ve ranked all 18 schools by their fit in the expanding power league.

18. New Mexico

The Lobos broke through for a 7-6 bowl season in 2015, their first since 2007. From 2008-2014, the program went 18-67. That’s not going to work.

17. Arkansas State

The Arkansas Razorbacks once competed in the Southwestern Conference with Baylor, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech. Could the Red Wolves slide into the Big 12 in their place? Nope, definitely not.

16. Northern Illinois

The Huskies have been one of the MAC’s best programs, but they may be too far out of the Big 12 footprint. Even after upcoming expansion, Huskie Stadium will only seat 30-35,000 fans.

15. Temple

Temple had a moment in 2015, but there’s a good chance that proves to be the high-water mark for a historically struggling program. There’s not a ton of evidence that the Owls would actually deliver Philadelphia to a league.

14. Air Force

The Falcons have been quite good under Troy Calhoun, at 67-50 since 2007. It may be tough for the service academy to consistently compete with the top of the league, though.

13. Tulane

The Green Wave were in the SEC once upon a time. A lot has changed since 1966. New Orleans is fun, but Tulane football just isn’t good enough.

12. Colorado State

Colorado State would love to fill a slot once vacated by rival Colorado. The football team has had a few strong years, but stadium size could be holding the Rams back.

11. East Carolina

The Pirates have been competitive and have a solid fan base, but they don’t seem to really be on the Big 12’s radar. It may be too big of a jump that was in Conference USA until 2013.

10. SMU

If the Big 12 adds another Texas school, Houston is far more likely than SMU. The Cougars are way ahead as a program, while SMU is undergoing a longer rebuild.

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