2019-08-25 sp-fbemig Sermon

Oklahoma’s Trey Sermon (right) stiff arms Alabama’s Isaiah Buggs during the Orange Bowl last season. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World


One columnist’s forecast for the 2019 football season...


OU: 12-2

OSU: 8-5

TU: 5-7

Bowl destination

OU: Sugar... They beat LSU and feel a little better about losing the 2003 national championship game to the same team in the same setting.

OSU: Camping World... They beat Virginia by 40.

TU: To be continued in 2020.

Most valuable players

OU: Jalen Hurts... He earns Heisman consideration into late November, but falls shy of finalists Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence and D’Andre Swift.

OSU: Tylan Wallace... He wins the Biletnikoff Award he deserved to win in 2018.

TU: Cooper Edmiston... The Hurricane linebacker benefits from being really, really good, and from opposing coordinators ganging up on Zaven Collins and Trevis Gipson.

He bursts on the scene

OU: Tre Brown... The cornerback from Union has the instinct, athleticism and ball skills to thrive under new coordinator/safties coach Alex Grinch.

OSU: Tom Hutton... The punter from Australia becomes All-Big 12 thanks to his booming kicks and charming back story.

TU: Keylon Stokes... The Hurricane’s leading receiver would have broken out a year ago with better quarterback play; now he seizes his chance.

Games of the year

OU: The Sooners punch a ticket to New Orleans while dashing Texas’ playoff hopes in a 38-35 Big 12 Championship classic.

OSU: The Pokes dash OU’s playoff hopes in the regular-season finale in Stillwater, 44-38.

TU: The Hurricane catches the Cowboys napping in Week 3, take a narrow lead in the fourth quarter, and fall valiantly, 28-24.

Letdowns of the year

OU: I’d say a rare Bedlam defeat qualifies.

OSU: The Cowboys awaken in time to beat TU, but not West Virginia in the Morgantown sleet Nov. 23.

TU: The Hurricane beats Memphis in a rousing game Oct. 26, then turn around and squander a big lead at Tulane the following Saturday.

Command performances

OU: Trey Sermon has 26 carries, 246 yards and four touchdowns to help grind out a win at Kansas State Oct. 26.

OSU: Malcolm Rodriguez 15 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception in a narrow loss at Iowa State Oct. 26.

TU: Stokes 13 catches for 205 yards and three scores in a 51-49 escape of SMU Oct. 5.

As for the quarterbacks

OU: Hurts is terrific, but that doesn’t keep Sooner fans from salivating over freshman Spencer Rattler, who Lincoln Riley uses to part-time “redshirt rule” effect.

OSU: Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown both struggle in September before Sanders seizes the position in a come-from-behind win at Texas Tech Oct. 5.

TU: Seth Boomer makes more plays in his second year, Zach Smith throws the occasional 60-yard strike, but running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II are the focal points of Philip Montgomery’s offense.

And the head coaches

OU: Riley misses the playoff for the first time, but his star remains bright. When Jerry Jones fires Jason Garrett around the time OU kicks off the Sugar, Sooner Nation starts a vigil similar to when Florida came after Bob Stoops in 2002.

OSU: Mike Gundy goes a second straight postseason without teasing Cowboy fans about Tennessee, Arkansas or any other job. As a bonus, Gundy fends off suitors for Sean Gleeson and keeps his play-caller.

TU: Montgomery takes a step toward restoring his offensive reputation, just not enough to jump to a Power 5 school.

Last hurrahs

OU: Defensive tackles coach Ruffin McNeill retires to his beloved wife, and his beloved boat, after the 2019 season.

OSU: Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles decides two years of Big 12 torture is enough, heads east after the season and resumes his career closer to his Philadelphia roots.

TU: Defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie parlays a second straight season of noticeable Hurricane defense into a job as Gary Patterson’s defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at TCU.

Guerin Emig



Twitter: @GuerinEmig



Sports Columnist

Proud father of Gretchen and Holden. Devoted husband to Christy, who has been my best friend since biology class at Booker T. Washington. I covered the Oklahoma Sooners for 15 years. That was both challenging and rewarding. Now I get to write columns.