STOOPS: IKARD WILL PLAY
Oklahoma junior center Gabe Ikard, who missed last week's win over Baylor with a head injury, has been cleared to play Saturday at West Virginia, coach Bob Stoops said Wednesday.
Ikard had started every game this season until the Sooners' 42-34 home win against the Bears last weekend.
Ikard warmed up in uniform before the Baylor game, but the team captain returned for the pregame coin toss in street clothes.
True freshman Ty Darlington made his first career start in Ikard's place against Baylor, receiving universal praise for his performance.
ESPN REACHES 12-YEAR DEAL TO TELEVISE BIG 12-SEC BOWL
ESPN reached a 12-year agreement with the Big 12 and SEC to televise the Sugar Bowl, which will pit the two conferences' champions — or, in the event one of the champions is in the new college football playoff field — against one another each year on New Year's Day beginning with the 2014-15 season.
The annual game — previously referred to as the Champions Bowl — will be played in New Orleans, the site of the current Sugar Bowl game.
New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome was chosen over Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as the Champions Bowl's annual site earlier this month.
The Southeastern Conference has long been the destination for the SEC champion, while the Big 12's champion has traditionally gone to Arizona's Fiesta Bowl.
“Given the history of excellence by teams in the SEC and Big 12, we recognized the value in securing long-term rights to the Sugar Bowl,” ESPN President John Skipper said in a news release.
“The matchup will provide college football fans with a memorable way to start the New Year on ESPN's many platforms.”
SHIPP RECOMMENDS ODD COLD-WEATHER REMEDY
If Oklahoma's defensive tackles get cold during Saturday night's game at West Virginia, they'll probably turn to an effective — yet odd — method recommended by position coach Jackie Shipp.
“Coach Shipp has this method of Vaseline,” said senior Casey Walker. “If you put it on real thick it clogs up the pores.”
“I did it at Oklahoma State (last season),” Walker said. “I don't know if I put enough jelly on. I was still cold last year.”
Fellow senior defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland confirmed the unit's peculiar cold-weather solution, saying that it worked for him last year in Stillwater.
“He's been saying that's an old remedy he used back when he played,” McFarland said. “We've used it pretty much every time we've played Oklahoma State and it's really cold, and it works. It keeps your pores closed and keeps your sweat in. It's a good thing and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be using it this weekend.”
Does Shipp use this method himself for cold-weather games?
“I have no clue,” Walker said. “I've been wanting to ask him that. He's covered up with gloves and stuff.
“D-line, we don't wear any sleeves or nothing. We're gonna see. I'm not a cold weather person at all.”
ROSENTHAL EXPECTS TO WIN MAYORS' WAGER
Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said she's not expecting to wear West Virginia's colors at the next city council meeting.
Jim Manilla, the mayor of Morgantown, W.Va., issued a challenge to the mayors of all the Big 12 cities with universities whose football teams play at West Virginia this season. According to the terms of Manilla's friendly wager, the losing mayor wears the winner's T-shirt at their next city council meeting.
“This is a great way to welcome a new team to the Big 12 and I am happy to participate,” Rosenthal wrote in an email. “As university communities, we share many of the same challenges and benefits, so I look forward to exchanging ideas with and building a partnership with Mayor Manilla.”
Manilla won his first bet this season when West Virginia won its first-ever Big 12 game, a 70-63 shoot-out victory over Baylor on Sept. 29. But the Mountaineers are on a current four-game losing streak, which includes home losses to Kansas State and TCU.
Manilla wore a purple K-State shirt at Morgantown's Oct. 30 city council meeting, and is expecting to receive his TCU shirt in the mail soon.
The shirts Manilla sends to opposing mayors were made locally by SustainU, a Morgantown company that makes clothing from 100 percent American recycled products. The Oklahoma shirt Rosenthal sent to Manilla was donated by the Apothem, an OU sportswear store on Campus Corner.
“I am not expecting to have to wear the blue and gold at a council meeting,” Rosenthal wrote.