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John Harris at Big 12 Media Days

Earlier this week, I was up in Dallas for Big 12 Media days. It was a fast-paced, whirlwind of a day as the Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns, Kansas Jayhawks, West Virginia Mountaineers and Baylor Bears met with the assembled media on hand. Then, near the end of the proceedings on that Tuesday, it was announced that the Big 12 would explore potential expansion candidates.

For the current members of the Big 12, conference expansion wasn’t at the forefront of their minds. September 3rd was, is and will be until that first Saturday of the college football season. The Oklahoma Sooners are going to face off with the Houston Cougars at 11 am on that day at NRG Stadium and couldn’t be more excited about it.

“Oh, just looking forward to it. That’s (U of H) a great team. We saw what they did last year. They’re definitely going to be a real tough match. It’s just good to have good competition to start the season. That adds to the strength of schedule and we’re excited.” Sooners LB Jordan Evans told me. Evans’ injury in the first half of the Orange Bowl kept him out for the rest of the game in the Sooners’ loss to Clemson, so he’s ready to get back on the field to face the Cougars.

Another Sooner has a little different reason to be excited about facing the Cougars on September 3rd.

“I’m really excited. Both my parents went to Houston.” Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield told me when I asked him about the opportunity to play in this game. But, the game, to him, is more than just a chance to knock off his parents’ university.

“I’m real familiar with the program. I saw what they had last year, a top ten program, finished up beating Florida State” he continued.

Mayfield’s a competitor and he knows what, or mainly who, is on the other sideline.

“They have a good quarterback in Greg Ward, so I’m excited to go head-to-head with him and have some fun playing against a good team”

Coach Bob Stoops spent his flight up from Norman to Dallas studying the Cougars.

“On our flight over here from Norman, I was watching their win over Florida State. I can’t tell you how much I respect what Coach Tom Herman has done with that program,” Stoops noted when I asked about that opening day matchup.

It’s going to be a fun one in NRG Stadium on September 3rd and the Sooners, like the Cougars, are chomping at the bit to get on the field and kick the season off.

By: John Harris


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