Berry Tramel
Sports Columnist

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, the Oklahoma City Times, the Norman Transcript and the Oklahoma Journal — and entered the newspaper business at the age of 17, with the Transcript in 1978. His first game assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he has enjoyed the journey ever since, from high school wrestling duals and regional track meets to Orange Bowls and the NBA playoffs.

Tramel was born and raised in Norman, Okla. He and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters.

  • OSU fans have spoken: Expect 9 wins

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    OSU fan Dave Hudson of Oklahoma City conducts an annual survey of Cowboy fans. His results are rather interesting. I thought I would share some of them with you, and you can see more yourself here. Hudson said he received a total of 1,509 surveys, which is quite an impressive number. I don’t know if he has some filters to weed out infidels — OU fans or Texas fans or Baylor fans, trying to skew the results. But either way, it’s an impressive number. * Predicted regular-season wins: 8.9. This is actually a little low, in my opinion. I’ve got the Cowboys going 11-2 overall, so I guess my regular-season win total is 10.5. Hudson has been doing the survey since 2008, and more often than

  • Tramel: Frank Shannon holds Bob Stoops' career in his hands

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    I wrote about the Baylor scandal for the Monday Oklahoman, which you can read here, and my general thesis was that convicted rapist Sam Ukwuachu is a watershed figure in collegiate athletics. From now on, coaches aren’t going to get a free pass when they choose to bring to their campuses players of questionable character. And that includes Bob Stoops. Player behavior became a hot-button Sooner issue in 2014 with Dorial Green-Beckham, Joe Mixon and Frank Shannon. Mixon became the poster child for that discussion and remains so.

  • Will the Sooners run enough in Lincoln Riley's Air Raid?

    By BERRY TRAMEL | Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    The Sooners say they have embraced the Air Raid.

  • Central Michigan's program has dipped in recent years

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    Oklahoma State opens the season in eight days, in the unfamiliar place of Mount Pleasant, Mich., against the Central Michigan Chippewas. CMU has a new coach, John Bonamego, who we wrote about last week as he battles cancer. You can read that story here. Dan Enos became head coach at Central Michigan in 2010. He coached the Chippewas for five seasons and at the end of the 2014 season found himself as the second-longest tenured coach in the Mid-American Conference. But Enos jumped to Arkansas last off-season to become Bret Bielema’s offensive coordinator. He did so for two reasons: 1) That’s a good job. Offensive coordinator in the SEC is not a bad gig at all, and Fayetteville is a wonderful place to live;

  • Trevor Knight & J.W. Walsh give Bedlam rivals great QB depth

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    Baker Mayfield is the OU quarterback, and we don’t know how Mayfield will play. Heck, there’s much more optimism about how OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph will play, and truth is, we don’t even know how Rudolph will fare, being just three games into his college career. But this we know about the Cowboys and Sooners at the quarterback position. They have uncommon leadership, and they have uncommon depth. OU’s Trevor Knight has been elected captain for the second year in a row. OSU’s J.W. Walsh almost surely would be elected captain, if the Cowboys voted on seasonal captains. OSU goes game-to-game with captains, a quirky method that might have benefits I’m not seeing. Either

  • Cris Carter's advice a symptom of NFL arrogance and Roger Goodell incompetence

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

      Cris Carter, who normally has a lick of sense when it comes to all things NFL, proved to be a buffoon with his comments at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium. Carter, the Hall of Fame receiver and now-ESPN analyst, suggested to NFC rookies last summer that they have a “fall guy in your crew” in case they get in trouble. In other words, if you’re out committing a crime, have a designated offender. Someone who takes the legal rap. It’s excellent advice for lawbreakers. Pro football players? In a forum sponsored by the NFL itself? Not so much. The revelation says a lot about Carter, who isn’t who we thought he was, and it says a lot about the NFL, which is what we thought it

  • Time for OSU to stop opening the season on the road

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    From the end of World War II through 1970, OSU football opened the season at Lewis Field five times in 26 years. So three straight seasons opening away from Boone Pickens Stadium — Mississippi State in Houston, Florida State in Arlington, at Central Michigan — doesn’t seem so bad. OSU is a program that hasn’t always put itself in good shape with its scheduling, as Terry Don Phillips continually pointed out during his time as the Cowboy athletic director. In the ‘60s, OSU played 29 non-conference games — only seven were in Stillwater. That has changed, of course, and until the last three years, State has stabilized its season openers, with five of seven being played in Stillwater.

  • Tramel: Why does Baker Mayfield keep surpassing expectations?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    When Baker Mayfield came out of high school (Lake Travis in Austin, Texas), his best scholarship offers were from New Mexico, Washington State and Florida Atlantic. Yet the absolute first time Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury had a chance to play Mayfield, he did so. And the absolute first time Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has a chance to play Mayfield, he apparently will do so. Oklahoman sources indicate Mayfield will start for the Sooners against Akron on Sept. 5. And Mayfield started as a Tech true freshman, with no scholarship, against SMU on Aug. 30, 2013. What is it about this guy, that he keeps rising to the surface despite little reason for optimism? Mayfield stands about 5-foot-11, though

  • Tramel: Who will be the OU quarterback? The guess is Mayfield

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Aug 24, 2015

    The Great OU Quarterback Decision of 2015 is imminent. Could be tomorrow, if not today, and surely it will arrive by Thursday. Trevor Knight or Baker Mayfield or Cody Thomas? Before the verdict, here are my thoughts: * My guess is Mayfield, for the simple reason that when we’ve got to see him in Sooner blue — 2014 spring game and 2015 spring game — he’s looked the best both times. But if Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley go with Knight, it wouldn’t surprise me. Knight is a good leader and has shown he can be not just acceptable, but special. And not just in the Sugar Bowl. Knight was excellent in that 2013 win at Kansas State. He’s also shown that he can consistently

  • Tramel: Briles likely will survive ordeal, but the next coach won't

    By BERRY TRAMEL | Published: Sun, Aug 23, 2015

    Sam Ukwuachu changes the college football landscape. If Briles survives, he will have burned the bridge behind him.

  • Time to scrap NFL exhibition games

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Sat, Aug 22, 2015

      Redskin quarterback Robert Griffin III, playing behind an offensive line that offered only a minimal amount of protection against the Detroit Lions on Thursday, was flung around like a rag doll. Eventually, after being landed on by Lion ruffian Corey Wootton, Griffin didn’t get up. He suffered what initially was described as a stinger and later was upgraded to a concussion. RG3 should consider himself lucky. August can and does provide much worse scenarios for NFL players. Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, out for the season with an Achilles tear. Same with Cardinals defensive back Brandon Person, knee injury. And Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham. And Giants safety Mykkele Thompson. And Redskins

  • Cowboys need to raise run game efficiency

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Aug 21, 2015

    OSU’s running game has not been trending in the right direction. Mike Gundy wants that to change. In 2010, the first year of Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid, the Cowboys averaged 5.52 yards per carry by running backs. In 2011, with Holgorsen gone but Brandon Weeden returning at quarterback, OSU averaged 6.29 yards per carry by running backs. That’s not really sustainable, so the 2012 dip to 5.37 was no big deal. But in 2013, OSU averaged 4.34 yards per carry by running backs, and that’s with a team that dang near won the Big 12 Conference. And in 2014, of course, the offense stagnated with injuries and inexperience, and the running backs averaged 4.14 yards per carry. Lots of reasons for

  • Big 12 basketball schedules against possible bowl conflicts

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Aug 21, 2015

    On Jan. 2, Big 12 basketball starts conference play. Baylor at Kansas. Iowa State at OU. West Virginia at Kansas State. TCU at OSU. Texas at Texas Tech. Some decent games there. Lots of talent anytime KU and Baylor share a court. The Sooners and Cyclones are conference contenders. Always interesting when Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins returns to K-State, where he coached a year before returning to his alma mater. The Big 12 debut of new Longhorn coach Shaka Smart. Also on Jan. 2 are a variety of college football bowl games. The Liberty Bowl, matching the Big 12 against the SEC. The Alamo Bowl, matching the Big 12 against the Pac-12. The Cactus Bowl, matching the Big 12 again against the Pac-12. Uh-oh.

  • Tramel: Has Oklahoma State found another mighty mite?

    By BERRY TRAMEL | Published: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    It wouldn’t be fair to compare Jeff Carr to Tyreek Hill, OSU’s diminutive Bedlam star who was dismissed from the team last December for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Not fair, but let’s do it anyway.

  • College football rule change: No more pulling opponents off piles

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    No major rule changes are in store for college football 2015. Operative word is major. There are some rule changes, and it’s sort of like surgery. Minor surgery is when someone else is having an operation. A minor rule change is when it affects some team other than your own. The National Football Foundation has partnered for several years with Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating (CFO), to help generate awareness for the rule changes. Redding started out working high school football in Texas, then worked Southwest Conference games from 1988-93 and the SEC for almost a decade. Redding has called three national championship games.

  • Did FWAA's all-time college football team take NFL careers into consideration?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    The Football Writers Association of America has produced its 75th anniversary all-time college football team. Which, of course, is an impossible task. Hard enough to pick out the best players in any particular year, much less all seasons ever. Sort of an upgraded mission from the College Football Hall of Fame selections. No easy answers. But still, fun to debate. The 11-man panel put four Sooners and one Cowboy on its three teams. OU placed Lee Roy Selmon (defensive tackle) and Keith Jackson (tight end) on the first team, Brian Bosworth (linebacker) on the second team and Roy Williams (safety) on the third. OSU placed Barry Sanders (tailback) on the second team. No huge problems there.

  • 1985: The year the Sooners waited forever to play

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Aug 20, 2015

    College football season opens two weeks from today. Among the Thursday night games is OSU at Central Michigan. Two nights later, OU hosts Akron. If it seems like an interminable wait — Sept. 3 for the Cowboys, Sept. 5 for the Sooners — it is. OU hasn’t opened its season this late since 2009, when it played Brigham Young on Sept. 5, and hasn’t opened its season later since 1999, when Bob Stoops’ first Sooner game came on Sept. 11 against Indiana State. OSU hasn’t opened past Sept. 4 since 2010, against Washington State, and has had many August openers in the 2000s. But if you don’t like this wait, you wouldn’t want to have been around in 1985. Thirty years

  • Does the Thunder have the easiest schedule in the West?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 19, 2015

    The NBA schedule is out, and not every schedule is created equal. The NBA’s unbalanced schedule, which requires divisional scheduling but no longer divisional standings, gives some teams an advantage. Like the Thunder. The NBA is expected to approve for the 2015-16 season a playoff format by which teams are seeded 1-8 strictly on record, regardless of divisions. But teams still are being scheduled with divisions. Every team plays a fellow division member four times, teams in the other conference twice each and teams in its own conference but not in its division three or four times. Which means the Thunder should have an easier schedule than most of its fellow Western Conference contenders.

  • Tramel: Is Joe Mixon the most dynamic OU running back since 2010?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 19, 2015

    I wrote about Joe Mixon’s enthusiasm for the Wednesday Oklahoman, a column which you can read here. A reader responded by saying it sounds like Mixon might be the real deal. To which I say, no kidding. When a guy punches a girl in the face, you don’t keep him around if he’s not a great talent. Mixon came to OU with abundant recruiting credentials, which sometimes pan out and sometimes don’t. But after the season-long suspension from the football program, it seemed more apparent than ever that the hype was well-justified. If Mixon was a three-star tailback from Duncanville, he’d have been on the first train to Fort Worth.

  • Cool weather not the only break for football players

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, Aug 19, 2015

    As I write this, the temperature is 61 degrees. High today is expected to be 64. It is Aug. 19. None of those figures are misprints. The last several days have been unusually cool, and today is historically cool, which is a break for football players in August camps. Coaches don’t have to be careful today, whether they’ve got their players in morning workouts or have to wait until after school. OSU has started classes. OU starts next week. Many high schools have already started. Others start Thursday. But the worry about heat has changed. Football programs are much more cognizant of keeping their players hydrated and healthy. In Stillwater, sounds like it’s become a science.

Berry Tramel Today at 9:31 AM Chicago travelblog: Reuniting with an old friend
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 10:17:03 PM CST Best NBA rule suggestion: Reduce timeouts
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 06:10:06 PM CST OSU vs. Central Michigan: Mid-American Conference schools get by with less
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 06:10:06 PM CST OSU vs. Central Michigan: With a chip on their shoulders, Mid-American teams have become known for pulling upsets.
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 06:10:06 PM CST OSU vs. Central Michigan: Mid-American Conference long has been a market for power-conference schools
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 03:54:56 PM CST Berry Tramel chat recap: Predictions on the OU and Oklahoma State openers, College Football Playoff
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 12:16:25 PM CST Power Lunch: Chat with Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel Tue, Sep. 01 2015 09:49:29 AM CST Chicago travelblog: Feeling small in the Museum of Science & Industry
Berry Tramel Mon, Aug. 31 2015 09:14:57 PM CST OU football notebook: How freshman Austin Seibert won the Sooners' kicking and punting job
Berry Tramel Mon, Aug. 31 2015 04:51:35 PM CST The real reason Illinois fired Tim Beckman
Berry Tramel Mon, Aug. 31 2015 01:14:06 PM CST How Terry Bowden lost his big chance at Owen Field
Berry Tramel Mon, Aug. 31 2015 10:42:12 AM CST Chicago travelblog: Following the trail of Eliot Ness
Berry Tramel Sun, Aug. 30 2015 12:06:27 PM CST OSU offensive linemen rally around new coach
Berry Tramel Fri, Aug. 28 2015 09:16:13 PM CST OU's Orlando Brown recovering from the loss of his father
Berry Tramel Fri, Aug. 28 2015 01:19:46 PM CST A special night celebrating Oklahoma basketball
Berry Tramel Fri, Aug. 28 2015 10:50:47 AM CST Tramel: Fine college football players? When will we start fining coaches?
Berry Tramel Fri, Aug. 28 2015 08:16:43 AM CST Orlando Brown talks about his father
Berry Tramel Thu, Aug. 27 2015 10:21:21 PM CST Fine college football players? When will we start fining coaches?
Berry Tramel Thu, Aug. 27 2015 06:34:08 PM CST OSU football notebook: Kevin Peterson declares himself ready for opener
Berry Tramel Thu, Aug. 27 2015 02:47:59 PM CST Mike Gundy raves about Emmanuel Ogbah