Dean's List With Playoffs, Injuries, Finebaum & Bear Bryant - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Dean's List With Playoffs, Injuries, Finebaum & Bear Bryant

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Heading down the backstretch of what’s turned into one of the most memorable seasons of a lifetime……

538  GIVING SOONERS AND COWBOYS GREAT PLAYOFF CHANCES

One of the hidden gem websites out there for the serious fan is FiveThirtyEight.com. It’s a site run by pros who talk everything from football to presidential elections. The common denominator being anything they post is well-researched.

Here’s what FiveThirtyEight is saying and posting about the playoff numbers they’ve come up with after weighing a number of important criteria: 

‘The FiveThirtyEight model has bad news for Notre Dame fans: last week it was Baylor that was projected to elbow out the Irish by season’s end; this week it’s Oklahoma. The model continues to think an undefeated or one-loss Big 12 champion will most likely surpass Notre Dame. Our model simulations — which predict where the committee will land in its final rankings on Dec. 6 — are shown in the following table if you follow the link:

OU fans have to love these numbers. OSU fans just need two more wins and they replace the numbers 538 has come up with for the Sooners.

BOTTOM LINE TO THE FIVETHIRTYEIGHT MODEL?

These people deal with facts, and not emotion or politics. To me, you could have the ultimate Battle Royale with two College Football Kingpins arguing their cases and twisting arms. The pedigrees of the Irish and Sooners are similar. The Irish have a much broader fan appeal; but the Sooners have an influential ‘Guy in the Room’ who could become pivotal.

PLAYOFF LEADER COULD GO ‘LONG’ WAY TO BALANCE THE SCALES

Jeff Long is the head of the playoff committee and current Arkansas AD. Perhaps significantly, Long enjoyed his tenure as Oklahoma’s Associate Athletic Director under the likable and influential Sooner AD Joe Castiglione. So while Note Dame wins most shoving matches, it’ll be in for a tussle if it gets into a ‘rasslin’ match’ with Oklahoma. Gotta win on the field then hope to not lose in the board room!

DE JUA YOGI FOR SOONERS

Who knows where this season will end, although from the time OU was ranked preseason No. 19 – just like the 2000 tittle team – there have been a few similarities to that magical season; most notably the ranking, a QB in the Heisman hunt and the uncommonly good health of the team.

STOOPS WITH MORE FAMILY THAN TEAM INJURIES

Bob Stoops has had more injuries in his family than on his 125-man football team. Twin boys Drake and Isaac Stoops dropped by our taping of Stoops’ Playback Show Sunday; one with a wrist the other with an elbow injury suffered during their successful football seasons at Norman North. Studs as just sophomores on the varsity squad, now bandaged up and out of basketball for several weeks. As for OU, the coach suspended one offensive line starter who would have really helped, but it’s been almost as amazing as the injury free 2000 season when it comes to health. It’s likely that every primary player will be full speed, or close to it.

Here's a feature story about Drake and Isaac that was written last month.

COULD IT BE LESS MILES AND NOT LES MILES AT LSU?

How quickly do things change? Three weeks ago Les Miles was thinking Playoff and being led by the unstoppable Leonard Fournette who was the prohibitive Heisman favorite. Today, OU’s walk-on QB has a better chance to win the Heisman and breaking stories have Miles’ job is reportedly on the line.

IT’S STILL HARD TO FATHOM….

And I’ve just gotta repeat what’s to me one of the most remarkable turnaround stories in eons – or two, or three. Exactly one year ago in Stillwater, OSU was awful, on a 4-game losing streak and finally taking the redshirt off a true freshman QB as he prepared to debut at Mighty Baylor. And I have it on good authority – and I mean very good authority, that Mike Gundy’s future at OSU was tenuous at best. The coach was apparently not speaking with the athletic director and had a worse relationship with the team proprietor.

In Norman, OU was on a downslide so significant that its season would devolve from preseason expectations of a slot in the first college football playoff into a 5-loss nightmare that would mark the nadir of the Stoops Era – and arguably, the most disappointing season in Sooner football history.

Fast-forward to where we sit today; Simply put, if OU and OSU take care of business this weekend, the winner of the biggest Bedlam game in history is all but certain to be in the playoff. Absolutely stunning turnarounds.

SOONERS NEED HEALTHY BOYKIN AND AN OSU WIN

The Sooners will be hurt if TCU QB Trevone Boykin does not play or is hobbled badly this Saturday. A Baylor upset at OSU would be costly as well and would put a dent in OU’s argument if an Oklahoma vs Notre Dame national debate plays out.

As we noted Saturday night in the pressbox at Baylor, OU will also be hurt by the fact that Seth Russell was in street clothes Saturday in Waco. The committee will rightfully downgrade OU if it ends up having the good fortune of playing Big Boys Baylor and TCU without their star QBs. Those are the good-fortune breaks teams get during special seasons. You’ve got to credit OU for playing lights out for what now is six straight games, but the truth is not having to go against healthy superstar QBs is big.

OU COULD BE A FINE BALM FOR THE ONE-&-ONLY FINEBAUM

My guess is the irascible Paul Finebaum is dying to get the team he clearly despises and its coach he consistently degrades to find its way into the playoff -- that would be Bob Stoops and the OU Sooners.

Promoted the ‘Voice of the SEC,’ the controversial, talented, and successful Finebaum is a Tennessee grad who has made a living by talking/promoting Alabama and SEC football.

Although Bama would have a substantial advantage in a potential match-up with its imposing and overwhelmingly physical defensive front, going against a limited but improving OU offensive line that starts two freshman tackles, I’d love to see the two heavyweights go at it again. And I guarantee the fellow I’ve  followed for many years on radio and now ESPN, would pay big bucks to see an OU-Bama rematch. 

I’ve had a deep respect for Alabama football going back to the first day Bear Bryant called me in our Norman home one Sunday in 1974 to kick off the recruiting process. At first I thought it was a friend playing a trick and I hung up. When Coach Bryant called back, you can imagine how I stumbled around in trying to explain to the Bear why I’d just laughed and then hung up the phone on him. My recruiting trip, with QB Richard Todd my host, was something I’ll never forget. Even has a Pete Maravich, Joe Namath and Bama coed involved.

But I’ll save the details for a rainy day. The bottom line is I’d love to see OU and Bama in a playoff scrum. But not any more than would the ornery man, with the shiny dome, a quick wit and  quicker dig he’d love to land on Stoops and the Sooners.

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