The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat covering Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, the NFL, Oklahoma City Thunder and NBA, Darrell Royal's passing, and more. Here's a recap of today's Q&A.
ON THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS:
Do you have any feel as to where Landry might go in the NFL draft?
Yes. First round. What has happened in the last two drafts that makes anyone think Landry will slide out of the first round? Teams crave quarterbacks and will take guys in the first round much more frequently than in the past.
Do you think OU will win out and get a BCS bowl?
I sort of do. I like OU big against Baylor. The next three will be dicier, but I'm not sold on West Virginia. I think the Sooners win in Morgantown, beat OSU, then survive TCU.
Do you think revenge will play a role in the OU-Baylor game? I live in Waco, and for some reason, the one win that Baylor has all-time in this series seems to be giving this Bears team a LOT of confidence going to Norman.
No. I don't think revenge plays a part. Pass defense plays a bigger part. I wouldn't get too confident if I was Baylor. Robert Griffin won't be in the house, but Mike Stoops will be. Two big differences.
Since OU will lose most of its d-line after this season, who will be some of the new players at those positions for 2013?
At defensive, Chuke will be the leader, with the freshman, Mike Onuoha and Charles Tapper will have to play. At tackle, after Jordan Phillips, man, I don't know. Looks bleak.
Do you see any of the OU players leaving early for the 2013 NFL draft?
I think Jefferson and Stills are possibilities. I can't think of anyone else, unless it's Damien Williams. but the Cali Trio could be broken up.
What are OU's biggest needs in their 2013 recruiting?
I would assume linemen on both sides, but I haven't really studied it.
Does OU need to go the juco route on the D-line?
I think most definitely. Go find two juco guys. I think it's borderline alarming, OU's lack of available players next season at defensive tackle. You can generally find D-ends. but tackles, not so easy.
Where would you rank Landry as QB in the Stoops era?
OK. Let's just rank them. 1. Jason White. 2. Josh Heupel. 3. Sam Bradford. 4. Landry Jones. 5. Nate Hybl. 6. Paul Thompson. 7. Rhett Bomar. So, right in the middle.
If you had to pick the best player under Stoops, who would it be?
Roy Williams. I think Roy Williams is in the top five of all-time Sooners. Lee Roy Selmon, Billy Sims, Roy Williams. Maybe Jerry Tubbs next. Something like that.
Who is OU's overall best receiver to date for this season?
Kenny Stills. clearly. He's been great. Justin Brown has been good, and Jalen Saunders is coming on, and Sterling Shepard has lots of potential. But Stills has been excellent from Week 1.
Do you think Ikard can make it in the pros?
He's got a shot. Gabe's problem is that he's not huge. You've got to be a big guy to excel on an NFL offensive line. Perhaps Ikard could still put on some weight.
After a very slow start, it looks like OU's offense is ready to take off. I think Iowa State might be the best defense in the Big Twelve (certainly top three) and OU really had their way with them. They appear to be getting better every week and Landry seems to be starting to really click with his receivers. What do you think about the offense's prospects for the rest of the year?
I like it. I don't think OU is a juggernaut offensively, but the Sooners are good. TCU plays decent defense. OSU, Baylor and West Virginia play porous defense. The Sooners should rack up big numbers.
I know you don't follow recruiting much, and I don't either, but it seems like OU is slow-playing this recruiting class more than in the past. Do you think this might be Stoops vetting these players more than usual to try to avoid some of the character issues that have recently plagued this team?
I don't know. Could be. Who knows? I don't follow recruiting at all.
Do you think M. Stoops will ever be a head coach again?
Yes. In fact, there are some people who say Mike Stoops would be a candidate at Iowa when Kirk Ferentz is gone, which will probably be later rather than sooner.
Your OU/Baylor score prediction?
I said 56-24. But I'd like to take it back. I'd like to say 70-24.
I had a blast at OU's Field House hoops game last night. Wanted to get your thoughts on the event.
I loved it. I went and really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was great, saw a lot of old-time fans, plus lots of student involvement. You can't play a ton of games there, but Kruger's plan to play a couple of games a year there is fantastic.
Early thoughts on Lon Kruger's Sooners?
I don't know. I guess it's a good sign that Kruger has recruited guys that are greater in talent than what he had, but I still didn't see a team that looks upper-division Big 12 to me. I hope I'm wrong. Looked a little ragtag to me.
ON DARRELL ROYAL:
Your thoughts on Darrell Royal's passing.
Well, in some ways, it was a blessing, because of the dementia. Tough way to live out a glorious life. And what a life it was. An icon in two states, despite the bad blood from the OU-Texas rivalry. I hope DKR eventually is remembered by all OU fans as a great Sooner.
Did you ever get to meet Darrell Royal?
Yes. We chatted a few times, but my best meeting was down in Hollis, in 2003, when his alma mater renamed its football field for Royal. We had a great chat at J.C.'s Grille in Hollis, then went over to the game. A great, great night. The story I wrote that night is one of my best ever.
Sad to know that Darell Royal's dementia was as bad as it was. Even asking his wife if he had anything to do with football. Really hurt my heart for him. Whats your favorite memory of him that you haven't mentioned yet?
Well, just from a funny standpoint, I love the 1976 story, from OU-Texas, when President Ford did the coin toss. Walked out onto the field with Switzer and Royal, and some drunk guy yells "Who's the two a------- with Switzer?" But in truth, I just love hearing all the OU old-timers talk about Darrell. I've already received two calls this morning from former Sooners, telling me what a great man DKR was.
ON THE OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS:
How is Wes Lunt looking in practice? Any signs that the concussion is still bothering him?
I have no idea. I would assume the concussion is bothering him, because that's what concussions are. Bothersome. But if I was guessing, I'd guess that Lunt plays.
Who starts at QB Saturday for OSU?
I'm guessing Lunt. I talked to someone high up at OSU, and they guessed Lunt, although they didn't claim to know. I think Gundy likes the intrigue of no one knowing. But it's possible the doctors sit Lunt and go with Chelf.
ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:
Your thoughts on the Thunder alternate unis?
Not bad. I sort of liked them. Low key. Understated. You know what I want to see? OKC uniforms that say "The City" on them. I know that's stealing from the Warriors, but OKC is a place that a lot of old-timers still call "The City."
How has the reaction to the James Harden trade been in and around OKC?
Fans are disappointed, but most understand the economic realities. And Kevin Martin is a nice consolation prize.
Do you think the Sacramento Kings end up in Seattle by the time David Stern retires in Feb of 2014?
I'd guess yes. That looks pretty likely to me.
The Lakers are 1-4. Your thoughts?
Well, I'm like the rest of America. Pretty excited about it. But I expect the Lakers to turn things around. I never did buy the dominant label. But I thought the Lakers would at least contend. They eventually will, probably.
ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL FROM AROUND THE NATION:
How good/bad is Baylor?
Good on offense. Bad on defense. Look at it this way. Baylor has twice scored at least 50 points AND LOST! That's got to be an NCAA record. So the Bears will put up some points and yards, but the Sooners will put up a ton of both.
If ND and K-State go undefeated but get jumped by a 1-loss/conference championship game winner Oregon, will this make the Big 12 think again for not having the conference championship game and Notre Dame jumping into the ACC as a full member?
There is no way Oregon with a loss jumps KSU and Notre Dame. Zero percent chance. Heck, Oregon is undefeated and trails now. I think Oregon makes the Big Bowl if it goes unbeaten. But no way Oregon jumps unbeatens teams, if the Ducks have a loss. And the Big 12 is of no mind to expand. None. The Big 12 believes that the new four-team playoff format coming in 2014 will make it likely that the Big 12 champ will be in the playoff most years. Better chance of a league title game knocking a team out rather than earning a team in.
Which two teams do you predict to play for the national championship? I say Oregon-Alabama, but watch out for K-State.
I'm with you. Oregon-Alabama. I think Oregon will rise. The Ducks already are No. 2 in both polls, which comprise 2/3 of the formula. And Oregon's strong finishing schedule -- Stanford, Oregon State, probably UCLA in the Pac-12 title game -- will lift the Ducks' computer standing.
Is Bama still the best team right now? Do you see anyone beating them?
I would say yes, Bama is the best team. I don't think KSU or Notre Dame would beat Bama. Could, sure. But would? I think Oregon has the best chance, because of style of play. You've got to spread out Bama and hit them with speed.
Who would you like to see play for the BCS championship?
Oregon and Kansas State. Need to break the SEC hold. I would love to see Bill Snyder get a shot at a national title.
It is time to bring in Louisville and BYU to the Big 12. Thoughts?
I'd vote Louisville. Not BYU. I'd vote for 11, not 12. I think an 11-team conference -- with 10 league games -- would be a great thing. Excellent games week after week.
Thanks for your travel blog -- always a good read. Have you ever considered a book on travel and sports sights?
No, but that's not a bad idea. I'll have a few more travel blogs this year. I'll do one on the West Virgina trip and the Fort Worth trip. Then the bowls. And there's always the NCAA Tournament and the NBA playoffs. So I'll keep them going.
Alabama has had HUGE success with D-line recruits from JC. That would seem to be a great way to go for ou. Agree?
Absolutely. I've got to believe that OU is beating down the door of every quality juco D-tackle.
Why all the fuss over the 'hook 'em horns' thing?
Why all the fuss? Because it's Mack Brown and Texas. If it was Tommy Tuberville and the Guns Up sign, nobody would even know. But when Mack talks, people react.
Could the other conference commissioners vote that in order for a team to be in the 4-team playoff, the team has to participate in conference championship game forcing independents to join a conference and the Big XII to expand to 12?
They could, but they won't. Because then someone could turn around and form an alliance to vote in something that THEIR conference doesn't want to do. The only similar scenario might be to limit the four-team playoff to conference champions. Which I support fully. Heck, now, you could even let the ACC designated Notre Dame as its champ, if it wanted.
Could there ever been a stipulation on only having conference championship game winners allowed into the 4-team college football playoff?
Sure, but again, you vote that in, and you're voting to let someone start telling you what to do. For instance, vote that in, and maybe the other leagues vote that the conference title game has to be played at a neutral site. Which screws the Pac-12 out of what it wants to do. Or you could vote that a conference title game can't be played at a semifinal or Big Bowl site, which could mess with the SEC or Big 12. It's a can of worms.
ON THE NFL:
What are your thoughts, if any, on Jerry Jones not hiring a GM for Dallas? Do they need a GM other than Jerry Jones?
Sure the Cowboys need a general manager, but they're not going to get one. That's not in Jerry's DNA. The Cowboys are what they are. An owner-controlled football organization, much like Al Davis and the Raiders, which worked for awhile but slowly disintegrated. The Cowboys will be hard-pressed to keep up with the NFC's elite -- Giants, Packers, Bears -- over the long haul, but it won't change.
Have you heard anything about when DeMarco might return to the Dallas lineup?
No, he's still not practicing, which is not a good sign. Jerry Jones said Dallas wants to be cautious with DeMarco's foot. Probably wise.
Houston Texans this weekend?
I think I'll go with Chicago. Man, what a great Sunday night game. Just fantastic.
ON OKLAHOMA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL:
What's your take on the proposal for a 7A football class? Any thoughts on having schools in the largest class field multiple varsity teams once they hit a set number of students?
I hate the idea of 7A. And I don't like the idea of multiple varsity teams. That's silly. Here's what I would do. I would cut 6A down to 24 schools, then make 5A and 4A 48 schools each. Or at least 5A. The idea that Class 4A has the same number of schools as 6A, with the disparity in size among 6A schools, makes no sense.