College football: 100 days until Oklahoma State's opener, 100 things to look forward to this season
The college football season can’t get here fast enough.
We’re at the 100-day mark until the season begins for real as far as Oklahoma schools are concerned.
Oklahoma State travels to Oregon State for its season opener Friday, Aug. 30. Oklahoma hosts Houston two nights later to cap a Labor Day weekend we’re all ready to celebrate.
So let’s look forward to the upcoming season with 100 things we’re looking forward to seeing.
1. Sophomore safety Kolby Peel trying to build on his Liberty Bowl heroics. The Cowboys beat Missouri in large part because of defense, a novelty around Stillwater in recent years.
2. Chuba Hubbard breaking into the open field. Most sprinters on the gridiron are receivers who catch the ball in the clear. Hubbard is a tailback who breaks from the pack.
3. The Cowboys new quarterback. Will veteran Dru Brown claim the spot in his final college season? Or will the future arrive for OSU’s ordained Quarterback of the Future, Spencer Sanders?
4. Aussie-style punting. Tom Hutton is bringing it to Stillwater via Australia, and even though the style has become more common, it’s going to be fun to watch in person.
5. Tylan Wallace making one of those tough catches in traffic. The junior receiver is so strong in those situations. Enjoy him, too — this might be it as he’ll be draft-eligible after the season.
6. The Mullet. You may love it. You may hate it. But everyone wants to see what it looks like.
7. Seeing if Israel Antwine can be as much of a force in the Big 12 as he was as a freshman in the Pac-12. The Millwood High product looks like a bull. The Cowboys need him to be.
8. “Here comes Bullet!” Still one of the most fun moments in college athletics. And the job has been handed to a new horse.
9. A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams patrolling the secondary. Rare is a pair of cornerbacks with as much experience as these two.
10. Jelani Woods catching passes. With his towering size and improving ball skills, the Cowboys should throw the ball to the quarterback-turned-Cowboy-back at least half a dozen times a game.
11. Patrick McKaufman will be another big target. As much as anything, though, it’ll be great to see him back after he tore up his knee and missed all of last season.
12. Army ROTC cadets doing pushups after every OSU score. Those folks are impressive.
13. Sean Gleeson’s wrinkles. The new offensive coordinator isn’t going to overhaul the scheme, but where are we going to see his fingerprints on this offense?
14. OSU vs. OSU. The Cowboys open the season at Oregon State. That means an abundance of orange, black and OSU.
15. Paddle People. The spirit group is unique in all of college football.
16. C.J. Moore making plays. The star of the spring game could get ample opportunity to do big things.
17. Charlie Dickey’s offensive line. The new assistant coach has a reputation for building fierce and physical blockers. Now he’s molding the Cowboys’ front line.
18. Improved special teams play. At least OSU fans hope that’s what they see.
19. Calvin Bundage running wild. The most dynamic playmaker on the OSU defense battled injuries and penalty issues in the second half of last season, but he can be a game-changer.
20. Boone Pickens in his stadium. His health kept him away from Stillwater more than he wanted, and the fans love seeing the mega-booster in his suite.
21. Extreme close-ups of Nick Nolte’s face — or whatever other creative ways OSU finds to use its massive video board.
22. Kyle Junior. Can the graduate transfer defensive end — and son of former NFL linebacker E.J. Junior — make an impact in his only season in Stillwater?
23. Warm November weather. The Pokes have three home games in November, including Bedlam on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
24. Matt Ammendola. Fans have had a love/hate relationship with the senior kicker. Some love him because he’s not Ben Grogan. Some hate him because he’s not Ben Grogan.
25. Maria Taylor on the BPS sidelines. The ESPN analyst/sideline reporter is a fan favorite at OSU after hosting the inaugural Cowboy Choice Awards last month.
26. Jalen Hurts wearing a different kind of crimson this year, and two college football kingdoms, Oklahoma and Alabama, cheering wildly for the Sooners’ new quarterback.
27. Dana Holgorsen has coached against OU in 16 of the last 18 seasons — missing only in 2008-09 with Houston — and keeps the streak alive on Sept. 1, when he brings Houston to Owen Field.
28. New OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, whose high-energy, high-expectation attitude could be what the beleaguered Sooners need.
29. CeeDee Lamb leaping into the sky to pull down another one-handed miracle catch along the OU sideline.
30. The Sooners once again gracing the pristine grass of the Rose Bowl, to play UCLA on Sept. 14, with the glorious San Gabriels in the background.
31. Oklahoma has plenty of offensive firepower returning but the trop of five-star receivers in the 2019 class — Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease — figure to combine to play a major role as well.
32. The split stadium. The midway just steps from the stadium. Big Tex. There’s plenty to like about OU-Texas even before you get to what figures to be the biggest game in the Big 12’s regular season.
33. When West Virginia comes to town Oct. 19, the Mountaineers could have former Sooners backup quarterback Austin Kendall behind center. Kendall left OU shortly after Hurts transferred in.
34. On Nov. 9, Oklahoma welcomes Iowa State to Norman. The last time the Cyclones played on Owen Field, they planted a flag at midfield after a 38-31 upset. The Sooners don’t figure to overlook the Cyclones late in the season.
35. “It’s football time in Oklahoma!” The pre-game pronouncement has become a call-to-arms for Sooner fans. Gives you goosebumps even on a hot early-season afternoon.
36. What will come of Bookie Radley-Hiles? So ballyhooed a year ago, he ended up struggling. But under new coaches, perhaps the hype will start to match the production.
37. The “There’s Only One” hype videos before the game. Always so well done with present and past melded together. (Don’t you kind of want to go watch one on YouTube right now?)
38. Lots of intrigue around the big-time freshmen receivers. Trejan Bridges gave us a taste of what might be possible during the spring game — and it was pretty darn sweet.
39. How cool would it be to see the Sooner secondary come together around a couple Okies? Tre Brown (Tulsa Union) and Justin Broiles (John Marshall) could be major pieces in the rebuild.
40. Flyovers. Enough said.
41. A healthy Trey Sermon. The running back battled injury much of last season and was still pretty darn good. Healthy, he could be something really special.
42. Seeing someone else handle kicking and punting duties. Austin Seibert spoiled Sooner fans for long enough.
43. Sunday night football. All eyes will be on OU-Houston, who will have the ABC spotlight to themselves on opening weekend.
44. A more rowdy student section. Perhaps beer sales will help.
45. Will Sooner fans become crazy about Kyler Murray and the Cardinals the same way Browns mania swept across the state?
46. Creed Humphrey in what might be his last season at Oklahoma. The redshirt sophomore center is a projected first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
47. What about the rest of the offensive line? Humphrey is the only returning starter after the four teammates who flanked him got drafted.
48. Gus Johnson calling OU’s games on FOX. The only downside? No more “HOLLYWOOOOD!”
49. Can Jalen Hurts continue OU’s Heisman transfer streak?
50. Bob Stoops appearances. Always good to see the old coach back on the sidelines, or more likely, in a suite.
51. Saturday, Aug. 24. That’s when college football begins its 150th anniversary season with a pair of intriguing games — Miami vs. Florida in Orlando at 6 p.m. and Arizona at Hawaii at 9:30 p.m.
52. Mack Brown is back on the sidelines. One of college football’s most charming coaches has taken over at North Carolina, and the Tar Heels open against South Carolina in Charlotte on Aug. 31.
53. Quarterbacks transferring to OU have been wildly successful. Quarterbacks transferring out of OU, not so much. Can Austin Kendall reverse the trend at West Virginia? The Mountaineers play at Missouri on Sept. 7.
54. Tom Rinaldi talking in a whisper during “College GameDay” features. Have your tissues handy.
55. Chris Klieman taking over for the legendary Bill Snyder at Kansas State. The last time Snyder tried to retire, it didn’t work so well. Can Klieman continue to build the Wildcats?
56. Speaking of new coaches in the Big 12 … Matt Wells takes over at Texas Tech, Neal Brown replaces Holgorsen at West Virginia and Les Miles is the new big whistle at Kansas.
57. Les Miles-isms. As fun as it is to have Miles back in the Big 12 coaching Kansas, what’s even better is what he’ll say. Since he’s been out of coaching, we’ve been deprived of his witticisms. No more.
58. Mike Yurcich taking over as offensive coordinator at Ohio State. Opinions of him swung wildly at Oklahoma State, but in Columbus, he has the pieces for an explosive offense.
59. Ralphie running at Colorado.
60. Fans swaying at Texas A&M.
61. Chief Osceola riding at Florida State.
62. Seeing what alternate uniforms teams like Oregon, UCF and OSU roll out.
63. Seeing the traditional uniforms of Penn State, USC and Alabama in all their glory.
64. Can Del City alum Terry Wilson keep Kentucky’s momentum going after its finest season in four decades, going 10-3 and beating Penn State in the Citrus Bowl? Coach Mark Stoops and the Wildcats will expect a leap from their second-year quarterback.
65. Simply hearing the SEC on CBS theme song, which has soundtracked our fall Saturday afternoons for ages.
66. The pageantry of the Army-Navy game in December.
67. Can Tulsa rebound from a 3-9 season? The Golden Hurricane opens up at Michigan State.
68. The hype leading up to Sept. 9 and LSU’s trip to Texas will be insane. Let’s hope it delivers.
69. Speaking of the Longhorns, if they beat LSU you can expect plenty of playoff talk heading into the Red River Rivalry.
70. A not-so-New-Year’s slate for the New Year’s Six bowl games with the Cotton Bowl and the playoff semifinal bowl games (Fiesta and Peach) being played on Saturday, Dec. 28.
71. New Orleans hosting the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 13, 2020. Few cities can compare to the Big Easy for hosting a major sporting event.
72. Speaking of the championship … will quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s hair be any longer than it was in January when he led Clemson to a rout of Alabama?
73. Can anyone in the ACC challenge Clemson? The Tigers host Texas A&M and travel to rival South Carolina in nonconference play.
74. The brand-name bias in the preseason polls. Every year there’s traditional power or three ranked in the Top 25 on history alone that will end up bowling in Houston or Birmingham.
75. The out-of-nowhere mid-major darling. Will there be a Western Michigan to crash the New Year’s Six this season?
76. Watching soon-to-be 84-year-old Lee Corso announce his game-of-the-day pick by putting on a mascot’s head.
77. Predicting the future way too early. Heisman Trophy favorites in August. Bowl projections in September. Mock drafts in October. And the top 25 for 2020 the day after this season’s title game.
78. Betting lines. With more and more states jumping into legalized sports gambling -- and with money to be made by television networks — betting lines will continue to become a more prominent topic than they already are.
79. Are they for real? Whoever “they” end up being, the storyline is always guaranteed to be a hot one by late September.
80. Late-season, Earth-shaking upsets. The Purdue-over-Ohio-State-by-29 type.
81. Did we mention Les Miles is coaching again?
82. Seeing defensive analyst Mike Stoops in an Alabama visor.
83. Year of the transfer quarterback. Hurts at OU of course, but don’t forget about Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Miami’s Tate Martell or Washington’s Jacob Eason.
84. Hearing some of the crazy callers on the “Paul Finebaum Show.”
85. Watching all the live mascots — Tennessee’s Smokey, Georgia’s Uga, Auburn’s War Eagle and even Texas’ Bevo, which tried to attack Uga at the Sugar Bowl.
86. Auburn-Oregon kicking off the season in JerryWorld — with Pac-12 pride and stature in peril.
87. Thirteen days after Houston opens the Dana Holgorsen Era with a game at OU, the Cougars play Washington State at NRG Stadium. Yes, Holgorsen vs. Mike Leach.
88. Waking up New Year’s Day to watch the Rose Bowl Parade and then settling in for the best day of college football of the year.
89. Wondering how Ohio State will fare with Ryan Day replacing Urban Meyer.
90. Seeing a Buckeye band member dot the “i” in Script Ohio.
91. Minnesota’s unique rivalry trophies — Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the Wisconsin game, Little Brown Jug for the Michigan game and the Floyd of Rosedale pig trophy for the Iowa game.
92. Other notable trophies — The Golden Egg for Ole Miss and Mississippi State, the Jeweled Shillelagh for USC-Notre Dame and the Old Oaken Bucket for Indiana-Purdue.
93. Can Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa end OU’s Heisman Trophy streak?
94. Speaking of Alabama, will anyone in the SEC stop the Crimson Tide from reaching the playoff and another showdown with Clemson?
95. Will Josh Heupel coach UCF to another undefeated regular season now that Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush will likely be the starting quarterback?
96. Is Texas A&M on the rise in Year 2 with coach Jimbo Fisher?
97. After a 4-8 debut at his alma mater, can Scott Frost turn things around at Nebraska in his second year.
98. Seeing everyone at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium wave at kids at the children’s hospital across the street.
99. Hearing Billy Sims yell “Boomer” at the Heisman ceremony.
100. The next Heisman House commercial with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›
Jeff Patterson is the senior assistant sports editor of The Oklahoman. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, he allegedly once told his father on a childhood trip passing through Oklahoma that he would one day live there. He doesn't recall this, but... Read more ›
Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›