By Arnie Leshin
It’s the furthest thing on the collective thoughts of the Oklahoma football team, for right now, the 7th ranked Sooners are on the road to play at 22nd ranked state rival Oklahoma State Saturday night.
But it’s still interesting to hear through the grapevine that current Notre Dame starting quarterback Ian Book, who is a senior looking ahead to graduation, and who could be following in the footsteps that led to Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and presently Jalen Hurts, spending their one eligible season by transferring to Sooner nation.
No comment from Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, and don’t expect one. He does not have tampering on his agenda. But he is the coach who has a system that wins at the collegiate level, that transfers to the modern NFL, and prepares quarterbacks to play at the next level, and Mayfield and Murray winning back-to-back Heisman Trophies, and Hurts now up among the front runners. Oh, and Mayfield and Murray the number one college draft picks also back-to-back.
But it’s known around South Bend that Book is an accurate passer, an above-average athlete at the position, and a smart guy just like Mayfield, Murray and Hurts, and has the ability to step into the Oklahoma offense and excel immediately. He has already been compared to Mayfield.
Thus, unless he has unfinished business at Notre Dame following graduation, transferring to the Sooner land in Norman almost makes too much sense. He will have a Notre Dame degree. he will likely lead the Irish to consecutive 10-win seasons that includes a college football playoff berth, and he’ll have just as good a shot — and probably even better — at making the college football playoff playing in Norman as he would in South Bend.
But to get on with the Saturday college grid games, the Sooners are favored by 13 over the Cowboys. And in the noon kickoff contest in Ann Arbor, Ohio State, No. 1 in one poll and No. 2 the other, has had its odds drop from 10 to 8 when it visits 13th ranked Michigan.
Now if the Wolverines cooperate and end their 5-game losing skein to the Buckeyes, it will come the day after former “Fabulous Four” first-year Michigan head basketball coach JuwanHoward’s undefeated, unranked team first stunned 6th ranked North Carolina on Thursday and No. 8 Gonzaga on Friday to celebrate the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
This was special, especially since the Wolverine football team watched the contest on television. And can’t forget the Michigan baseball team getting to the NCAA baseball championship in Omaha, Neb., before losing to Vanderbilt. Now if only the football upset over Ohio State can complete the triple success of these major sports programs.
Elsewhere, LSU, dropped to co-leader of the top spot on the football field, is home to Texas A & M and favored by 17. Number three Clemson is at 22-point pick at South Carolina, No. 4 Georgia is 28 points over visiting state rival Georgia Tech, No. 5 Alabama only 3 1/2 at its state-rival,16th ranked Auburn, No. 6 Utah at home and a 28-point choice over Colorado, No. 8 Minnesota at home but 13th ranked Wisconsin the 2 1/2-point pick, No. 9 Florida favored by 18 over visiting arch-rival Florida State, and No. 10 Penn State heavily favored by 39 1/2 against visiting Rutgers.