OKLAHOMA vs. HOUSTON, 7:30 p.m. Sunday Sept. 1, ABC
The fourth day of the five-day college football opening Labor Day weekend TV extravaganza continues with the Big 12’s only team with a playoff history taking on Houston, of The American Conference, a dumpster fire of offense and mysterious internal strife.
Jalen Hurts, late of the University of Alabama, will start for the Sooners, whose last two transfer quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy. Jalen is a role model, a great American and an example to all for the grace he showed when he lost his starting job to Tua Tagavailoa. But he’s not going to win the Heisman.
But he’ll probably amass staggering yardage and throw and run for multiple touchdowns and that’s just the first period against Houston. Unless things have really changed, new Houston Coach Dana Holgorsen is one of those who puts all his best players on offense and only has a defense because the rules require it.
Oklahoma has wicked receiver Cee Cee Lamb back along with wicked running bac Kennedy Brooks and big, old tight end Grant Calcaterra back. There are also a couple of great, young quarterbacks who’ll see action if Jalen does his business and dispatches Houston early. One of those quarterbacks’ actual name is “Rattler.” I’d start him on that alone.
The Big 12 has two teams in it this year, which is twice as many as it’s had for the past decade or so, as Texas is on the bubble of relevancy under former Houston Coach Tom Herman, who was the offensive coordinator back when they won the national championship and everybody was all “Oh, Ohio State shall rule all college football with an iron fist for decades to come.” Didn’t happen. Might have if he’d stayed around.
Houston got a new coach after last year’s team lost four of its last five games including one in which they gave up 70 points to Army, which still runs the single wing. Not really, but almost. Major Applewhite is now an offensive adviser for Nick Saban at Alabama and when Houston beckoned, Holgorsen came running from West Virginia, which is a school named for a state, but just barely.
But a lot of the problems last year happened because murder torture death killer quarterback D’Eric King got hurt and without him the Cougars were fighting with both hands behind their back. They also have leading receiver Marquez Stevenson and runner Patrick Carr back, so they are no pushover – except for the lack of a defense thing.
Oklahoma is about a 23-point favorite, and I’m meh on that, but here’s what I like: The over-under is 80, and 62 percent of the bettors are loading up on that thing. Eighty is a lot of points, y’all.