The Award-Winning Magazine Offering The Most Complete Coverage of Sooner Sports
  HOME FEATURE STORY SUBSCRIBE OU SPORTS IN THE NEWS COVER ARCHIVE WRITERS CONTACT US      ADVERTISE
More Recent Stories

Road Warrior

King's Corner

NFL Spotlight

Boomer Bio

Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

Welcome Home

QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

Playoff Bound

Dominique Alexander Q&A

California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

Ty Darlington Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review

Editorial

OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski

Cornerstone

Playmaker

Playmaker

Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

They’ve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force

Bookends

Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Rivals.com Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs

WE'RE BACK!!!!

GET READY FOR THE RETURN OF SOONER SPECTATOR!

OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain




On Sale at Newsstands Jan. 27!
OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note
That may or may not help set the stage for 2017 campaign

Oklahoma ended the 2016 season with a bold-faced exclamation point. The Sooners absorbed an early Sugar Bowl punch and then took it to Auburn in every way, shape and form, the 35-19 final score leaving a crimson-and-cream fan base optimistic about 2017.

The next morning before he left New Orleans, however, Bob Stoops sounded a word of caution:

“I never think (a bowl win) matters for the next year,” he said. “Will it matter for recruiting and spring? Yeah. It gives you a lot of momentum finishing out recruiting here in the next month and a half. It’ll be positive, and then into spring. But the team next year will be totally different, with the guys we lose, that graduate and move on, new kids coming in.

“I think it gives you some positive momentum — but in the end, once you’re in August and into practice, it’s a whole new team.”

Samaje Perine’s record rushing total... Baker Mayfield’s record efficiency rating... Dede Westbrook’s Heisman ceremony season... Stoops’ 10th Big 12 Conference championship... OU’s fourth straight conquest over the mighty SEC...
It’s all worth celebrating a while longer.

Just be aware that eventually that bold-faced exclamation point will become a fuzzy question mark. Or question marks.
Stoops is right. His 19th OU team will be different than his 18th, or the 17 prior to that.

And so as strong as they looked in the Superdome, the Sooners should not automatically expect to pick up where they left off when they meet UTEP on Sept. 2, or at Ohio State Sept. 9. There are unsolved mysteries lingering.

Among them...

Can Mayfield stay healthy for a third straight season?

It is the most underrated key to OU’s success over the past two years — Mayfield’s ability not just to keep plays alive, but to keep himself safe in doing so. He is the guy at the blackjack table who takes a hit on 18 and is dealt a 3.

The past two seasons, the Sooners could always ask Perine, Westbrook, Sterling Shepard or Joe Mixon to carry the offense on the chance something happened to their quarterback. Not next year.

It has never been more Mayfield’s team. He has to be upright to lead it.

Is there a “next in line” at wide receiver?

Once upon a time, Antwone Savage moved on and left OU pass-catching to Mark Clayton. Clayton left it to Malcolm Kelly, who left it to Ryan Broyles, who left it to Kenny Stills, who left it to Shepard, who left it to Westbrook, who will now leave it to…

Who exactly? Jeffery Mead? Mark Andrews? Mykel Jones? A player to be named later?

OU’s conveyor belt at wide receiver is one of the most dependable pieces of machinery in college football. You just have to hope the engine doesn’t blow between now and the 2017 opener.

How do the Sooners adjust to life without their two star backs?

A remarkable realization set in over the course of the Sugar Bowl — Perine was about to break the school’s most hallowed record, and he wasn’t even the best player in his own backfield. Mixon ran by, around and through Auburn defenders as the game wore on.

Mayfield won the game’s MVP award, but Mixon was the best player on the Superdome field.

Now, Lincoln Riley goes from calling plays for Perine and Mixon to doing so for Abdul Adams and Rodney Anderson. That’s no shot at Adams and Anderson, two fine players who should make their own way and find their own success.

It simply reflects this fact: Perine and Mixon represented college football’s most dynamic, most diverse one-two running back combination since USC’s Reggie Bush and LenDale White. It took the Trojans some time to adjust, sure as it will the Sooners.

Can Caleb Kelly become Jordan Evans?

Evans had a terrific Sugar Bowl to punctuate his stellar second half of the season. He was all over the field from the opening whistle of OU’s win over Kansas Oct. 29, making tackles, producing turnovers and helping change the perception of a defense so ridiculed at Texas Tech Oct. 22.

Kelly was even more active against Auburn in a breakout performance. He is even more highly touted as a freshman than Evans, pushing his college ceiling even higher. Stoops used the word “monster” to describe the young linebacker’s potential.

The sooner Kelly reaches that potential, the tougher his defense, and his team, will be.

Does the Big 12 seize on its own bowl momentum?

Remember Stoops’ lesson — what happens at the beginning of one season has little to do with the end of the last one. It is nonetheless worth pointing out that the Big 12 posted a 4-2 bowl record this year, its first winning ledger since 2011.

It is also worth noting that OU will be the Big 12’s leading playoff contender in 2017, at least out of the chute. And that the four playoff teams are determined not by play-in tournament or computer formula but by judgments made by living, breathing committee members.

The Sooners need a lift from their beleaguered league. And while how they, and their Big 12 peers, do next September will mean more than how they did the previous December and January, they have given themselves a running start heading into those non-conference games in nine months.

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2017 Bowl Review issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe.. call 405-364-4515)