Oklahoma football: ESPN’s ‘GameDay’ crew picks OU to win it all

ESPN's College Gameday coming to Brookings2016jmuespn Gameday1 151024 04
ESPN's College Gameday coming to Brookings2016jmuespn Gameday1 151024 04 /

Oklahoma football fans, if you missed the season premier of ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program on Saturday morning, you missed the best 2021 season kickoff of all for the Sooners.

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Oklahoma does not play its season opener for another week, but on Saturday Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and the “GameDay: crew previewed the new season, which kicks off this weekend with a brief teaser of college games.

As is customary with the initial show every season, the “College GameDay” panel made their picks on who they thought would win each of the major conference championships, which teams would ultimately make it to the College Football Playoff and which team at the end would walk away with the big prize: the national championship.

Spoiler alert — in the event that you might have recorded the show: All four of the “GameDay” analysts picked Oklahoma to win the Big 12 over Iowa State, which I guess shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to anyone who has followed college football this offseason.

But here’s the bombshell — in a very good way, mind you. Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, both former Big Ten alums, picked Oklahoma not only to be one of the four teams to reach this year’s playoff, but to finally win a game once there and then double it with a second win to claim the national championship.

The other two analysts, Lee Corso and David Pollack, picked Georgia out of the SEC to win the national championship. Full disclosure: Pollack is a former Georgia football player.

Oklahoma has been a trendy pick as one of the top-four picks in the country in most of the college football preview publications and preseason national rankings leading up to the 2021 season kickoff.

Lincoln Riley is trying to ensure that his team doesn’t get too carried away with all the preseason hype. It’s all guess work, he reminded reporters in a press conference earlier this week.

“It doesn’t matter until we (stop) reading and talking and actually play,” the Sooner head coach said.

“I don’t care what year, what team, whatever,” he said. “When we’ve played at a high level and when we’ve controlled the things we can control, we’ve won just about all of them.”

For the past four or five years, the postmortem at season’s end about Oklahoma has consistently been, “If only they had a defense to go along with that prolific offense.”

Well, guess what. This season it appears they do have a defense the offense can be proud of. And that’s why you’re hearing a bigger cry about “Watch out for Oklahoma!” and “2021 is finally OU’s breakthrough year.”

The time for all the talk is over. A week from now, the Sooners are going to go out and play. Over the next four-plus months we will all be able to decide for ourselves.