No. 1 Clemson routs Oklahoma in Orange Bowl, moves on to NCAA Championship game

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — How fitting it was that the aqua seats at Sun Life Stadium — which until this year were orange — for the Orange Bowl were predominantly filled by orange-clad fans, about three-quarters of the 67,615 in attendance cheering on the No. 1 team in the nation. Yes, the only undefeated team left in college football, the one which was a 3½-point underdog to the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners in this college football playoff semifinal on Thursday. The Tigers and their supporters came here looking not only for a spot in the national championship game, but for respect. They got both. After trailing by one at halftime, Clemson dominated the second half en route to a 37-17 victory to improve to 14-0. The ACC champions’ chance at perfection will come in the national title game on Jan. 11 in Glendale Ariz., against No. 2 Alabama, which thrashed No. 3 Michigan State, 38-0, in the Cotton Bowl on Thursday. ALABAMA POUNDS MICHIGAN STATE, WILL PLAY CLEMSON FOR TITLE Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, the school’s first-ever Heisman finalist, rushed for 145 yards and a score and completed 16 of 31 passes for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 150 yards and two scores, and for left guard Eric Mac Lain, the game turned on the very first play from scrimmage of the second half, when Gallman ran for 11 yards. “We could tell at that moment they were done physically, maybe even a little bit mentally,” Mac Lain said. “We were just running all over them.” The Tigers ran for 312 yards for the game as their defense pitched a shutout in the second half despite playing without star defensive lineman Shaq Lawson, who left in the first half with an MCL sprain and didn’t return. Dabo Swinney’s willingness to pull out all the stops resulted in a game-changing play early in the second quarter, when the Clemson Continue Reading

Rex Ryan and Jeffs Weeks have spent a lifetime coaching football and raising hell

Jeff Weeks, the resident journeyman inside the coaching offices at One Jets Drive, sits on a purple exercise ball, never a chair, behind the metal desk in his first-floor workspace. No photos illuminate the white walls; only a dry-erase board marked with defensive schemes and assignments sheds light on his role as the outside linebackers coach. He explains his inability to stay in one place for long, tracing his steps from a restless childhood to rooming with Rex Ryan in college to holding 14 jobs over 25 years. “I was hyper, real hyper as a kid,” he says, leaning forward, his rear now off the ball. “I got in trouble late in the afternoons. It was always English class, our sixth hour. It wasn’t a subject I cared to sit and listen to, so it was tough to settle down after lunch.” He shifts his weight back, reflects some more. “I never loved business calculus in college either, so I said, ‘I ain’t sitting in this damn seat for a long time.’ Now, football, I could run wild all day on the field.” Little changes for the rover. Once a hard-charging wideout, Weeks, 51, continues to chase the wobbling ball across the country, most recently picking up with Ryan, his best friend at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Fired from Ryan’s staff as a defensive assistant following a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2012, Weeks was allowed back by Ryan’s side in February when general manager John Idzik replaced Mike Tannenbaum. Ryan was looking for loyalty heading into what many believe will be his last stand as a Jet. In Weeks, he re-enlisted the Okie who long ago ran through a pane of glass in Will Rogers Hall, an all-girls dorm, to catch a football thrown by Ryan. “Weeks is the one who has the shovel and knows where all the bones of the bodies buried in the Ryans’ past are,” said Mark Carrier, the former Jets assistant coach. “He tells me all these things, and I’m Continue Reading

Oklahoma Sooners the preseason No. 1 in AP college football poll, defending BCS champs Auburn No. 23

Being voted preseason No. 1 is a tradition at Oklahoma, and this season is no different. The Sooners will start out top-ranked in The Associated Press college football poll for the 10th time, more than any program in the country. The defending Big 12 champions received 36 of 60 first-place votes and 1,464 points in the Top 25 released Saturday. Auburn, last season's national champion, will start the season No. 23, one spot behind where it began in 2010. If the rankings are any indication, the national title race could be a scramble. No. 2 Alabama, one of a record eight Southeastern Conference teams in the preseason poll, wasn't far behind OU, receiving 17 first-place votes and 1,439 points. No. 3 Oregon got four first-place votes, No. 4 LSU received one and No. 5 Boise State got two. Florida State was No. 6, the Seminoles' best preseason ranking since starting the 2004 season at No. 5. Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck and Stanford were No. 7. Rounding out the top 10 are Oklahoma's Big 12 rivals, Texas A&M (No. 8) and Oklahoma State (No. 9), and Nebraska (No. 10), in its first season in the Big Ten after leaving the Big 12. No. 16 Notre Dame is ranked for the first time since early November 2009. As for Oklahoma, no matter where it lands in the preseason, it always expects to make a run at a national championship in the end. It hasn't won it all, however, since 2000. That's when coach Bob Stoops led the Sooners to their seventh AP national title in his second season in Norman. Since then, Oklahoma has lost three BCS championship games. The Sooners have won the AP national title four times when they were preseason No. 1 (1956, 1974, 1975 and 1985). The last time they started a season top-ranked was 2003. That season, they lost the BCS championship game to LSU. "We're very matter of fact," Stoops said this week. "All we think about is doing the work. "We're also very aware we're not much different than about 12, 15 other teams Continue Reading

Oklahoma Sooners making college football world notice in 55-17 win over Texas in Red River Rivalry

DALLAS - Oklahoma apparently is tired of hearing that the winner of the Nov. 5 SEC showdown between LSU and Alabama at Tuscaloosa will be the prohibitive favorite to win the BCS national championship. The Sooners (5-0), who are No. 1 in the coaches' poll but slipped from the top spot to No. 3 in the AP poll in the last two weeks, made us stop and take notice Saturday, embarrassing Texas, 55-17, in the 106th annual Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Senior quarterback Landry Jones, a three-time starter in this game, completed 31 of 50 passes for 367 yards and three TDs in a hurry-up offense, torching the Longhorns' surprisingly vulnerable secondary and announcing his Heisman Trophy campaign before 96,009 and a national TV audience. Oklahoma piled up 486 yards of total offense. "We don't go into the game thinking we have to score this amount of points," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "But when you play well in big games, you usually get rewarded in the polls." It was obvious that neither Longhorns coach Mack Brown nor his two new coordinators, Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz, and two new quarterbacks were ready for the way this went down. The Sooners' blitzing defense savaged sophomore Case McCoy and freshman David Ash, who both were unable to adjust to the speed of the game. Oklahoma caused five turnovers, three of which went for touchdowns - a 55-yard interception return by Demontre Hurst, a 19-yard fumble return by David King and a 56-yard fumble return by Jamell Flemming. Each defensive score created a deafening roar that could be heard throughout the Texas State Fairground, where this game has been played since 1929. The Texas State Fair has become an annual slice of Americana, with giant talking statue Big Tex welcoming the guests to experience the giant ferris wheels and fried delicacies, which include fried buffalo chicken flapjacks on a stick, fried margaritas, fried banana pudding, fried Oreos and corny dogs. Texas coach Mack Brown didn't have to Continue Reading

OSU football coach Mike Gundy accused of firing contractor for wearing Oklahoma University T-shirt

A carpenter is suing Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy because he says he was canned for wearing enemy colors while working on the hot-headed coach's home. Brent Loveland says Gundy, of Stillwater, Okla., told him to take a hike in March because he was wearing an Oklahoma University baseball T-shirt, the Tulsa World reported. The Oklahoma Sooners are the arch intrastate rival of the the Oklahoma State Cowboys, where Gundy was a star quarterback before becoming coach. "How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?" Loveland says Gundy screamed at him, according to the lawsuit, filed last week. When Loveland asked what he had possibly done, Gundy replied: "That [expletive] shirt you have on." Loveland says Gundy told him to "pack his [expletive] and get off his property," the newspaper reported. Loveland is suing for more than $10,000 in damages for money he lost and also for other possible jobs he passed on to work on Gundy's home. Loveland says in his suit that he made the fashion fumble because he dressed in the dark that morning, the paper reported. Gundy denied the accusation. "While I cannot discuss the specifics of pending litigation, I deny the allegations being made and welcome the opportunity to fully resolve the matter," he said in a a statement to ESPN. Loveland's attorney said the breach-of-contract suit has nothing to do with team loyalty. "I'm an OSU guy, so this is not a vendetta," Edward White, Loveland's lawyer, told the Stillwater News-Press. "This is simply a gentleman who's a small-business owner. He depends on his work for his livelihood and he didn't get paid for a job where we think he was unreasonably terminated." Gundy is known for passionate outbursts. He was thrust into the national spotlight in 2007 when he called out a sports columnist with an intense bit of bravado in defense of one of his players before the Holiday Bowl. "Come after me!" Gundy thundered. "I'm a man! I'm 40!" Continue Reading

Bob Stoops’ No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners too much for Florida State football in 23-13 victory

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - It is hard to tell what was a bigger story in Norman yesterday - Oklahoma's 23-13 victory over fifth-ranked Florida State here last night or the fact that the university's Board of Regents will meet tomorrow to discuss the school's inevitable move from the deteriorating Big 12 to the ever expanding Pac-12. The top-ranked Sooners - who have been ranked No. 1 in the polls for an incredible 100 weeks during their storied history - used to relish playing marquee games such as these. Bob Stoops has created a glistening resume since he arrived at OU in 1999, winning a national championship in 2000, capturing seven Big 12 titles and playing in three title games. He has made the Sooners a measuring stick for every young coach on the rise and every team with national-championship aspirations. Florida State tried its best to measure up, scrambling back to tie this long-awaited matchup at 13-13 on a 56-yard TD pass from backup freshman QB Clint Trickett to Rashad Greene with 9-1/2 minutes to go in the game. But Oklahoma junior quarterback Landry Jones rode to the rescue. He led the Sooners on an eight-play, 83-yard drive that culminated with him lofting a 37-yard pass that hung up in the air for what seemed like an eternity before wide receiver Kenny Stills jumped up to catch it in the end zone for a game-deciding touchdown with seven minutes left to silence a record crowd of 84,328 at Doak Campbell Stadium. Jones, Oklahoma's all-time leading passer, is the Sooners' latest Heisman Trophy candidate. But there is a huge difference between his performances at home, where he has been dazzling, and on the road, where he has often played in a daze. Jones, who is just 5-5 away from Norman, experienced a complete meltdown last year in a loss to Missouri in Columbia. Jones torched Florida State in Norman last season, dissecting the Seminoles' inexperienced secondary for 380 yards and four TDs. He was less convincing this time around, completing 18 of 27 Continue Reading

Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, No. 3 Oklahoma go down against No. 20 BYU

ARLINGTON, Tex. - Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford stood helplessly on the sideline, wearing a T-shirt, a sling and a towel around his neck. All Bradford, who sprained his throwing shoulder in the closing seconds of the first half, could do was watch as his Oklahoma Sooners lost - and the BYU Cougars launched their bid to become the latest BCS busters from the Mountain West. Max Hall threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide-open McKay Jacobson in the back of the end zone with 3:03 left, giving No. 20 BYU a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma last night. The Sooners' last hope to recover ended when Tress Way came up short on a 54-yard field goal with 1:23 left. BYU players exchanged flying chest bumps right away, then celebrated wildly when their upset was complete, making for a stunning end to the first college football game - and first regular-season game - ever played at the nearly $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium and throwing the national title and Heisman races for a loop on the opening weekend. "This is unbelievable," Hall said. Cougars fans made up only a small portion of the crowd of 75,437, but they all stuck around long after this one. The team stayed on the field so they could all enjoy it together, cheerleaders waving flags and players pointing to friends and family in the crowd. Hall's uncle, former Cowboys quarterback Danny White, was expected to be among them. The severity of Bradford's injury won't be known for days. Florida 62, Charleston So. 3 GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Tim Tebow accounted for two touchdowns, and Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps had scoring runs as the top-ranking Gators overwhelmed a helpless opponent. Texas 59, La.-Monroe 20 AUSTIN, Tex. - Colt McCoy passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns and the No.2 Longhorns romped past the Warhawks. Ohio State 31, Navy 27 COLUMBUS - Brian Rolle intercepted a potential two-point conversion in the closing minutes and returned it for two points the other way, helping the No. 6 Continue Reading

X-Ray Vision: Shouldering AC joint separations commonly seen in football

Sports medicine became a part of last weekend's college football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns when star quarterback Sam Bradford aggravated his shoulder injury. He absorbed a big hit from defensive back Aaron Williams on the same shoulder he injured in the first game of the season against BYU. Bradford had suffered a "shoulder separation," or injury to his AC ("acromio-clavicular") joint – a relatively common occurrence in football and hockey players. NFL quarterback Eli Manning and Michigan's star freshman quarterback Tate Forcier have also recently dealt with similar injuries. With "shoulder" or AC separations, the joint between the collarbone ("clavicle") and shoulder blade ("scapula") is injured. The ligaments and capsule connecting the bones can be injured to varying degrees depending upon the severity of the injury. It is commonly caused by a fall directly on the "point" of the shoulder, or a direct blow, such as a quarterback sack or check into the boards in hockey. Disruption of the AC joint results in significant pain and tenderness at the front of the shoulder joint. The pain is most severe when an athlete attempts overhead or throwing movements, and is even sensitive to the pressure of protective padding. As the AC joint is relatively superficial, separation injuries are usually accompanied by a "bump" from the prominence of the collarbone at this location. Point tenderness to this location usually confirms the diagnosis clinically. Radiographs are helpful in ruling out associated fractures and in grading the severity of the separation.The severity of an AC joint injury depends on how severely the ligaments and capsule that stabilize this joint are damaged. Low grade injuries disrupt the ligaments connecting the clavicle to the acromion. "Higher grade" injuries, however, also tear ligaments connecting the clavicle to other portions of the shoulder blade (the "coracoid" process), and are more serious because the render the Continue Reading

Blake Griffin and Jeff Capel spreading Madness in Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. - It didn't take long for Oklahoma basketball coach Jeff Capel to discover he was in the heart of college football country when he arrived here three years ago. The Big 12 school, located 30 minutes south of Oklahoma City, has won seven national championships in football and produced five Heisman Trophy winners. "I knew it was a football school," Capel says. "You'd be crazy to fight that. What maybe helps is, I'm a huge football fan. When I was an assistant at Old Dominion, we didn't have football. When I coached at Virginia Commonwealth, we didn't have football. When I was at Duke, you had football, but ... Actually, it's getting better now. "So, to come here is a huge asset for us. It's certainly a huge deal in recruiting if you can bring a prospect to a game and they can see 86,000 (fans) inside the stadium and another 30,000 outside. So it's huge." There is a majesty to OU football, and Bob Stoops - who just took his latest team to the BCS Championship Game in January - is the master of all he surveys in this state, which has a religious loyalty to Sooner football. But just a couple blocks away from Owen Field, at the Lloyd Noble Center, the 33-year-old Capel - the former Duke guard and Mike Krzyzewski disciple who became the youngest coach in Division I in 2003 when he took the VCU job at 27 - is building a kingdom of his own. In just 2½  years he has rebuilt Oklahoma from the ashes following the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal, and transformed it into the best team west of the Mississippi, becoming the hottest young coach in the country. Of course, Capel might have the hottest player in the country. Oklahoma's shining star is 6-10 sophomore center Blake Griffin - the leading candidate for National Player of the Year. The Sooners (25-3, entering yesterday) have climbed as high as No. 2 in the polls and might have reached the top spot if Griffin - the potential No. 1 pick in the NBA draft - hadn't suffered a concussion eight Continue Reading

Former Oklahoma football coach defends ‘innocent’ Sigma Alpha Epsilon members after racist video

An emotional Barry Switzer, former coach of the Oklahoma football team and an honorary member of OU's now disgraced Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, defended what he referred to as 'innocent' members of the frat on Tuesday. “It hurts me because I got a vested interest in this," said Switzer, who led the Sooners football team to National Championships in 1974, '75 and '85 before winning Super Bowl XXX with the Dallas Cowboys, in a KWTV-9 interview. "As I said I’m an SAE and I know the kids in this house, I spend some time over here and I know what they’re like. Hey, I wouldn’t put up with that crap either and they don’t either and they don’t believe in it.” Oklahoma University acted swiftly and forcefully, severing ties with the frat after a video of some members singing a racist song surfaced. Two SAE members have been expelled. Switzer, however, said that calling all SAE members racist is unfair. “I understand that supposedly they were called ‘bigots’ that lived in this house? That lived on this campus?... If that happened and that occurred that’s no different than what those kids said on that bus," Switzer said. "Throw a blanket over these kids that are here and say that they’re bigots? That’s unacceptable.” Swizter "believes that the kids involved in this on the bus were freshman and that they didn't live in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house yet," reported Kelly Ogle of News 9. A report from KOCO 5's Wendell Edwards in Oklahoma City says that Switzer said he had never heard the racist song before and the longtime coach added that the university was "wrong to punish the entire fraternity over the actions of a few members." ON YOUR PHONE? SEE THE KWTV-9 INTERVIEW AND THE KOCO-5 INTERVIEW Continue Reading