• OU's arch-rival has turned a brighter shade of orange

    By Berry Tramel | Published: Sun, Oct 4, 2015

    Texas no longer is OU’s arch-rival. The fans have spoken. They’ve been speaking for several years. OSU is the Sooners’ most hated foe. Bedlam is the biggest bloodsport on the schedule.

  • OU Report Card: Berry Tramel's grades from the Sooners' win over West Virginia

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, Oct 4, 2015

    The Sooners were dominant early and late, with some shaky moments in the middle. It all resulted in a 44-24 victory over West Virginia, and the grades reflect a mostly excellent performance. Receivers: A Sterling Shepard hasn't had a ton of help this season. That changed Saturday. West Virginia played a pressurized defense, trying to get to quarterback Baker Mayfield and daring the OU receivers to win one-on-one duels. The receivers came through. DeDe Westbrook and Michiah Quick made tough catches in traffic. Mark Andrews made a leaping catch for a 17-yard touchdown. Shepard made a sizzling cut to get wide open on what became a 28-yard TD catch. There were few complaints. Jeffrey Mead failed to hold a Mayfield bullet that was

  • OU football: A look at the Sooners' win over West Virginia by the numbers

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Oct 3, 2015

    Here is a look at Oklahoma's 44-24 victory over West Virginia by the numbers: 3: Interceptions by OU players named Thomas -- two by Jordan, one by Ahmad. 4.4: Yards per carry for West Virginia tailbacks Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell. 4.9: Yards per carry for OU tailbacks Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. 7: Sacks for OU, its most since getting seven against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl two seasons ago. 7.4: Yards per play for OU, which had 427 total yards despite just 58 offensive snaps. 8: Tackles each by Zack Sanchez and Charles Tapper, career highs for both. 12.8: Yards per pass for Baker Mayfield. 24: First-half points for OU. West Virginia had given up 23 points all season, in its 3-0

  • OU football: Offensive aggression pays off for Sooners in 44-24 win over West Virginia

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Oct 3, 2015

    NORMAN — Durron Neal saw the signal from Baker Mayfield and knew the Mountaineers would be ready to pounce. West Virginia had the momentum, the field position and the ballplayers required to turn this top-25 showdown on its head. But the Sooners had a play in their hip pocket and the aggressive attitude to use it. The latter is more important. Mayfield pump-faked a quick screen to DeDe Westbrook, and every Mountaineer defensive back on this side of the Mississippi bit. West Virginia plays defense without a safety net. Lots of blitzes, lots of man-to-man coverage, lots of dice-rolling. On this play, the Mountaineers needed the net. Safety KJ Dillon darted up on Mayfield's fake, Neal ran right past him and sprinted into

  • Tramel: Let's slow the Heisman talk on Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    NORMAN — Baker Mayfield is more fun than a ride-all-day pass at the State Fair. He scrambles like Roger Staubach. Old School. Runs around to pass, not to run. Funnest OU quarterback since, who, Charles Thompson? Eric Mitchel? Jack Mitchell? But someone has to chair the Wet Blanket Society. Might as well be me. As the Sooners prepare for a breakfast showdown against West Virginia on Saturday, can we call the foundry and put a hold on Mayfield's Heisman statue? Mayfield played great against Tulsa and valiantly against Tennessee. But it's a little early to get too excited. This very week last year, a hot OU quarterback was making national waves and even received a flirty shout-out from Katy Perry, which I'm told is

  • Big 12 football: Texas Tech a test for Baylor QB Seth Russell

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    There is no rest for the weary. Not in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech's reward for playing an instant classic against TCU — won 55-52 by the Horned Frog on a fourth-down, tipped pass in the final 30 seconds — is a Saturday date against Baylor, which boasts an equally high-powered offense. Tech goes into the game with eyes wide open. The scores of the last four Tech-Baylor games, all at JerryWorld in Arlington and all won by Baylor: 48-46, 63-34, 52-45, 66-42. “Baylor does what they do,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. “Nobody in the country does what they do with the spacing, the way they space you out, run the ball very well, play up tempo and find ways to get those receivers to the ball in space.

  • Big 12 football: Can West Virginia pull off an upset of No. 15 Oklahoma?

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    The Mountaineers have not been particularly successful in their three Big 12 seasons. A combined conference record of 11-16, with no finish higher than a tie for fourth. But WVU has played the Sooners tough, losing 50-49, 16-7 and 45-33. Three memorable games. This West Virginia team is untested but has been dominant defensively. This OU team is ranked 15th but has not played well. In 12 quarters this season, the Sooners have been impressive in only four or five. Two of those were against Akron. OU is a 6 1/2-point favorite, but let's go with West Virginia in the upset.

  • Could 11 a.m. kickoffs make OU rethink the Big 12?

    By Berry Tramel | Published: Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    The frequency of 11 a.m. kickoffs has triggered emotions of OU merchants, fans and administrators ranging from curious to livid. Counting West Virginia, seven of the last 13 games at Owen Field will have kicked off in the morning.

  • Brandon Weeden not to blame for Dallas defeat

    By Berry Tramel | Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    Weeden was coolly efficient and extremely productive. The pride of OSU and Edmond Santa Fe completed 22 of 26 passes for 232 yards. The Cowboys had six first-half possessions; Weeden led touchdown drives of 80, 77, 56 and 80 yards.

  • OSU football: A look at the Cowboys' 30-27 victory by the numbers

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    Here is a look at Oklahoma State's wild 30-27 victory over Texas by the numbers: 2: Texas first downs in the second half. 2: OSU passes in the fourth quarter. 2: Trips inside the OSU 20-yard line for Texas the entire game. 3: Touchdown passes for J.W. Walsh this season, after his 1-yard toss to Jeremy Seaton in the third quarter. 4: Straight wins in Austin for OSU, all since 2010. 6: Trips inside the Texas 20-yard line for OSU the entire game. 48: Total yards for Texas in the second half. 59: Offensive plays for Texas, 23 fewer than OSU. 98: Yard drive for OSU in the third quarter. On all the rest of their second-half drives, the Cowboys totaled 60 yards.

  • OSU football: Cowboys win a game they weren't even trying to win

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas — I hope you saw it, because otherwise, you won't believe it. But if you didn't see it, don't fret. You were in good company. OSU won a game Saturday it wasn't even trying to win. The Cowboys beat Texas 30-27 with two field goals in the final 93 seconds, on drives that produced one total yard combined. You thought Bob Stoops' Bedlam re-punt was manna from Heaven? This was a battalion of Philly cheesesteaks landing in hungry hands. And many of the Cowboys didn't see it. At least not live. The sideline is a terrible place from which to watch a ballgame. So when a miracle descended onto the Royal-Memorial Stadium's south end, colored in orange not burnt but bright, many of the recipients heard it instead of saw

  • Tramel: Has Texas finally found a quality quarterback in Jerrod Heard?

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    AUSTIN, Texas — About halfway through Jerrod Heard's 45-yard touchdown run in the final 80 seconds of the game last Saturday, a familiar feeling swept through the University of Texas' Royal-Memorial Stadium. Hope. Quarterback hope. Heard, a redshirt freshman, had rallied the Longhorns from a 21-point deficit, and not even a missed extra point, which allowed California to escape with a 45-44 victory, squelched Texas enthusiasm. Maybe, at long last, the ‘Horns could again be good at quarterback. All Big 12 eyes will be on Royal-Memorial on Saturday, when the Longhorns host Oklahoma State in a game that's not just big for the Cowboys. It's big for the entire conference. Has Texas finally found a quarterback? OSU

  • Big 12 football: Kansas over Rutgers is Berry Tramel's upset special

    By BERRY TRAMEL Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    When Kansas lost to South Dakota State on Sept. 5, the Jayhawks entered perilous territory. KU became a candidate for the 0-12 Club. This is the 12th season of a 12-game scheduled for college football, and only 10 teams have gone 0-12 in those years. Of those dozen, only two, 2008 Washington and 2006 Duke, were in major conferences. KU's easiest games left, Rutgers and Iowa State, both are on the road. The Jayhawks are short of talent and short of depth, even by their own meager standards, in coach David Beaty's first season. But Rutgers has had its own problems.

  • Texas' Vance Bedford is Berry Tramel's Big 12 coach on the hot seat

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com   | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Vance Bedford has had quite a coaching odyssey. Two stints at OSU, including two years as Mike Gundy's first defensive coordinator. Six years with the Chicago Bears. Secondary coach on excellent teams at Michigan and Florida. But Bedford has his best job ever, defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Texas, a school that historically has played great defense. Bedford followed Charlie Strong from Louisville, and in 2014, the Longhorns played solid defense. But that unit has had to rebuild in 2015, and the early returns are shaky. Notre Dame produced 527 total yards and 30 first downs in a 38-3 rout of Texas three weeks ago. Last week, California beat UT 45-44, with all 45 points coming in the first three quarters.

  • Big 12 Football: Berry Tramel ranks the games for Week 4

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    1. TCU at Texas Tech, 3:45 p.m., FOX: Horned Frogs 48-38. TCU has won just once in Lubbock since 1972 (1991). 2. Oklahoma State at Texas, 2:30 p.m., ESPN: Cowboys 34-23. In the previous five years, OSU is 30-14 in Big 12 play. Texas is 23-21. 3. Maryland at West Virginia, 2 p.m., Fox Sports1: Mountaineers 33-10. Last meeting until 2020 for long-time rivals. 4. Kansas at Rutgers, noon, Big Ten Network: Jayhawks 23-20. Both teams are bad. But the Scarlet Knights have scandal that goes beyond the scoreboard. 5. Rice at Baylor, 2 p.m., Fox Sports Oklahoma: Bears 59-20. Owls played Texas tough, for what that's worth.

  • College football: BYU over Michigan is Berry Tramel's upset special

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Brigham Young already has had enough thrills to fill a football season. Victories over Nebraska and Boise State, the former with a Hail Mary and the latter with a virtual Hail Mary, and a one-point loss at UCLA. Now the Cougars play at Michigan in Game 4. Don't worry, BYU's schedule lightens up after this, with Cincinnati and Missouri the toughest remaining games. But what a September slate. Look at it this way. The Big 12's three best victories this season have been OU over Tennessee, Texas Tech over Arkansas and TCU over Minnesota. That won't change with Saturday's schedule. If BYU beats Michigan, the Cougars' victims list trumps the Big 12's victim list combined. Brigham Young's accomplishments this season would look

  • Big 12 football: Have injuries derailed TCU title hopes?

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Defense was a hallmark at TCU under Gary Patterson, long before Trevone Boykin turned into a Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback. But Patterson's defense — and the Frogs' status as a national contender — will be tested Saturday at Texas Tech. First, the Red Raiders have risen. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes led a 35-24 victory at Arkansas last week that sent hope soaring in Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury's third season. Even more troubling for TCU is the massive loss of defensive players. End Mike Tuana was suspended this week after being charged with a felony for robbery. Linebacker Mike Freeze is on a leave of absence.

  • Why OSU-Texas isn't a fair fight -- for Texas

    By Berry Tramel | Published: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Texas is trotting out Texas Tech-type players, but with Bevo on the jersey, they’re still getting everyone’s best shot. It’s not a fair fight.

  • Tramel: Espionage returns to Big 12 football

    By BERRY TRAMEL | Updated: Tue, Sep 22, 2015

    Espionage has resurfaced in the Big 12. If it ever left. Coaching is a paranoid profession, but just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean everyone’s not out to get you.

  • Tramel: Four things we've learned about Big 12 football

    By BERRY TRAMEL | Updated: Mon, Sep 21, 2015

    Conference play starts Saturday in Big 12 football. What we thought would be the first intriguing matchup — OSU at Texas — might take secondary status. TCU goes to Lubbock to play resurgent Texas Tech, which won at Arkansas over the weekend. What do we know about Big 12 football that we didn't know three weeks ago? More than you might expect from such a weak non-conference slate. Here are four developments since the season kicked off: • 1. All the presumed contenders have warts. We didn't know that. We didn't even know it would be possible to find warts on Baylor and OSU, since their non-conference schedules are so soft. Baylor gave up three touchdowns in the first 21 minutes against SMU, before spurting to a