20199-07-29 sp-emigcolumn Riley

OU head coach Lincoln Riley at the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, TX, July 15, 2019. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

Thirty days to college football season. I think we’re going to make it.

As for the last seven ...

This made me think and then laugh

I was having a bite with colleagues Kelly Hines and Dekota Gregory before the TU football press conference last Wednesday, when I wondered if Philip Montgomery might announce his starting quarterback that day (answer: nope).

Then we wondered which of the state’s three coaches might be first to make his call: Montgomery, Mike Gundy or Lincoln Riley?

The safe answer is Riley, since Tanner Mordecai starting the opener over Jalen Hurts would be the biggest Oklahoma football upset since Brian Bosworth said, “Sir, yes sir!” to Barry Switzer.

Montgomery must choose between transfer Zach Smith and incumbent Seth Boomer. Gundy swears it’s dead even between Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown.

So we agreed it’ll likely be Riley.

Now that it’s public record, watch Gundy announce his starter this week, Montgomery announce his guy halfway through camp and Riley keep us wondering right up to pregame warmups Sept. 1, when we find out by watching Hurts take practice snaps from starting center Creed Humphrey.

And now that that’s public record, watch Mordecai take those snaps instead of Hurts.

This made me laugh and then think

Question to Baker Mayfield during his media briefing at Browns camp last Thursday: “What’s the most important lesson you learned in college preparing you for the pros?”

That got some chuckles from the attending press. I giggled at first.

But man, I don’t know. ...

Watch that Fayetteville police tape again. See the impact of Mayfield’s head slamming into that wall as he is tackled. See him bounce from the wall to the sidewalk, and how lucky he is not to have slammed his head on the pavement as well.

Mayfield did something stupid that 2017 spring night. He is fortunate he didn’t do something dangerously self-harmful.

Don’t run from the cops.

If Mayfield is serious about his message, fine. If he’s being self-deprecating, well, he does have that tendency.

It’s just I’d choose another topic to crack wise about. I’d probably shut up about that night, and keep thanking heavens it didn’t take a worse turn.

This made me think

LSU unveiled its $28 million football facilities renovation last week, framed by a locker room that is half space ship, half cruise ship. Tiger players celebrated it.

Some LSU academicians bristled about it, one professor tweeting: “Meanwhile, across campus, I vacuum my faculty office with a Dust Devil I bought at Walmart.” LSU students bristled, too, one tweeting a picture of a shabby, leaky section of the university’s library.

LSU’s PR department sprang into action and reminded the Baton Rouge Advocate that the project was privately-funded through the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

Still skeptical about the great divide between a university’s athletic and academic missions and operations?

One side of campus is all ivy (browning in this era of education budget cuts) and blue books. That’s the institution.

The other side is all neon and donor checks. That’s the corporation.

This made me cry

It got out last week Adrian Peterson, worth $100 million in NFL earnings, is struggling to pay his debts. Another pro athlete victimized by his own careless spending and others’ sycophantic behavior. It’s like a cliche, right?

All I know is Peterson was still a teenager the day I approached him after an OU practice. The Tulsa World was putting together a preseason section at the time, and we needed pee-wee football photos from some of the players.

I asked Peterson if he might had a picture he could loan me. He was friendly about it and said he’d call his mom, which he did. I arranged to pick up the photo from his mom at an east Norman convenience store.

She was very sweet. I remember her telling me during the handoff: “Please be careful with this. I don’t have too many.”

The little boy smiling in the photo ... The young man running the ball for the Sooners ... It was so easy to think, “No way this goes wrong. No way.”

I should have been thinking, “Gosh, I hope it doesn’t.”

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.