OU football journal: Lincoln Riley against CFP delay, Austin Stogner's status remains uncertain
NORMAN — Monday, the spate of postponements and cancellations across college football continued when the Texas A&M-Ole Miss game set for Saturday was pushed back to Dec. 19 due to COVID-19 issues with the Aggies’ program.
While OU hasn’t had a game postponed yet, though they’ve been close a couple times this season, Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said he was growing more concerned.
But Riley also said he remained hopeful the season could be completed.
“At least, knocking on wood, right, our conference has done about as good a job as anybody of being able to stay mostly on schedule, especially here as of late,” Riley said on the Big 12 teleconference. “So yeah, hope we do. I mean, but would any of us be shocked right now if it got shut down? No. I mean, not with all we’ve had to deal with over the past whatever it’s been, nine months, 10 months.
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“I would say it’s probably a little bit more in jeopardy I would imagine than it was a month ago.”
Monday afternoon, OU released its latest results from COVID-19 testing, and from Nov. 8-14, athletes were tested 417 times while athletics staff members were tested 159 times. Of the 576 tests, 10 were positive. The positivity rate for athletes dropped from 4% two weeks ago to 2% last week.OU reported 20 active cases of COVID-19 in athletes and three active cases among staff. Even as athletic departments in the Big 12 continue to report new cases, the conference has had just one football game postponed — Oklahoma State at Baylor, originally scheduled for Oct. 17. That game, which was delayed due to COVID-19 issues with the Bears’ program, was rescheduled for Dec. 12.
The Big 12 has had just one game postponed — Oklahoma State at Baylor, originally scheduled for Oct. 17. That game, which was delayed due to COVID-19 issues with the Bears’ program, was rescheduled for Dec. 12.
The conference officially announced Monday that the Big 12 Championship Game would be moved to Dec. 19.
Riley said if the season were paused or canceled, it would likely be due to government officials rather than conferences.
Riley was also asked about the possibility of the College Football Playoff being delayed.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last week that the possibility had been discussed.
While some, including Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott, have pushed for a delay, Riley said he wouldn’t be in favor.
The semifinals are currently set for Jan. 1, with the championship game set for Jan. 11.
“If you’re gonna start the season in the fall, then you start talking about teams being different with players and a senior leaves or guys may not even plan to be in school if it gets pushed back a whole lot longer than that,” Riley said. “I think we’ve got a schedule. I think everybody needs to do the best they can to play games.
“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere and play as many of these as we can and keep it on a schedule in my opinion.”
Stogner’s availability still up in the air
Riley said tight end Austin Stogner, one of the Sooners' leading receivers, was making progress after being injured against Kansas, but that he wasn’t yet sure if Stogner would be able to play Saturday in Bedlam (6:30 p.m., ABC).
“Doing better. Sore,” Riley said when asked about Stogner’s progress. “I imagine the off week, there was some benefit to him there having some time. Haven’t had ’em back on the field yet this week, so we’ll get him back out there, see how he’s doing.”
Stogner has 25 catches for 410 yards and three touchdowns this season. He’s second on the team in receiving yards and tied for second in catches.
OU-West Virginia kickoff time still up in the air
The start time for the Nov. 28 OU-West Virginia game in Morgantown won’t be determined until after Saturday’s games, the league announced Monday.
The Sooners game is one of three up in the air. Unsurprisingly, the Texas Tech at Oklahoma State game that day is another of the six-day selections, along with Kansas State at Baylor.
The race for the top two spots figures to become a bit clearer this weekend with Bedlam and Kansas State at Iowa State featuring teams that are still in the running.
Two games are already set for next weekend — Iowa State at Texas, which will kick off at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27, on ABC and TCU at Kansas, which will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday on FS1.