User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Sooners will face all 3 Heisman finalists

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - So which of the three finalists for the Heisman Trophy really has been college football's best player this season? Check back with the Oklahoma Sooners after the Cotton Bowl and they could offer an educated opinion.

Advertisement
No. 12 Oklahoma (10-2) will complete a Heisman trifecta of sorts when the Sooners face No. 10 Texas A&M (10-2) in the Jan. 4 bowl game in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies are led by quarterback Johnny Manziel, who became the first freshman to win the Heisman this month and on Tuesday was named as the AP Player of the Year.

Oklahoma already has faced the other two players who finished in the top three in this season's Heisman balloting: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.

``Yeah, I've thought about that, believe me,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Tuesday, addressing reporters for the first time since the Sooners closed the regular season with a 24-17 win over TCU. ``They're excellent players, all of them. They're always a challenge.''

Oklahoma will become the first team to face the top three finishers in the Heisman balloting since 1993, when Florida played Florida State and Heisman winner Charlie Ward, Tennessee and runner-up Heath Shuler and Alabama and third-place finisher David Palmer.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, a four-year starter for the Sooners, entered the season on most Heisman watch lists, but fell off with a couple of subpar early season performances. He never moved back into serious Heisman contention despite passing for 3,989 yards and 29 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

Jones, who has a 39-10 career record as a starter, said he is curious about seeing the player dubbed ``Johnny Football,'' but doesn't think he needs to measure himself against Manziel, who passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns with eight interceptions and rushed for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns.

``You play against so many good players throughout the year,'' Jones said. ``I don't know if it's necessarily a chip on your shoulder. It's just more of a way where you want to go out and you want to compete the way you know you can compete. If he has a great game, he has a great game. I don't really have anything to do with his playing and what he'll do on Jan. 4.''

Defensive tackle David King might, however, and said Manziel poses a different challenge to Oklahoma's defense than other quarterbacks, comparing him to last year's Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III of Baylor.

``We can't allow him to just run on us all day,'' King said. ``Obviously, that's what he's been doing and he's been very successful. That's a lot of how he won the Heisman. He's a playmaker. If it's not there, he's going to just run and teams have had a hard time stopping him. We just have to have our best game of the season by far in containing him and not letting him do what he wants to do all night.''

Stoops agreed.

``He has a great knack, even on his blind side, for feeling people getting close,'' he said. ``He'll spin a couple times and work his way out. It's something you have to work really hard at to contain him and keep him in (the pocket). Also, you don't want to be tentative and not rush. There's a fine line we'll work hard at trying to get pressure and keep him in there.''

Texas A&M was in the Big 12 Conference with Oklahoma until this season, when the Aggies made the move to the Southeastern Conference under coach Kevin Sumlin, a former Stoops assistant at Oklahoma. The Aggies, using a spread offense similar to those popular in the Big 12, rank third in the Bowl Subdivision in both total offense and scoring offense.

That success should put to rest the notion that Big 12 offenses couldn't hold their own against SEC defenses, Stoops said.

``It's interesting to me . they seem to have done pretty well in that league offensively,'' Stoops said. ``I think they lead that league in every single category and it hasn't hurt their winning. They won a bunch of games, too. They're doing pretty good against all those defenses.''

Oklahoma's only two losses this season - both at home - came against teams with Heisman finalists. Te'o had a key interception and 11 tackles as Notre Dame beat the Sooners 30-13, while Klein passed for 149 yards and rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown to lead Kansas State to a 24-19 win. Getting a third chance to beat a Heisman finalist - indeed, the guy who won the trophy - is ``extra motivation,'' King said.

``We have to sit around here for a month and watch ESPN and all they talk about is Johnny Football or Johnny Heisman or whatever they call him now,'' King said. ``We sit around and we get tired of watching it. The whole national media is scrutinizing our defense and that we can't stop the run. We're underdogs in this game. We have a lot to prove and, on Jan. 4, we'll be ready to play.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
News: 2016 Heisman Odds
Smith breaks ground he's broken before
Ole Miss to investigate Tunsil's comments
Alabama DL coach Bo Davis resigns
Lattimore moving on without football
Charges dropped against ex-PSU officials
Ray Lewis' son charged with sex crime
Iowa rehires Kirk Ferentz's son-in-law
Parents name children after Pat Tillman
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
Live Odds
2015 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 2379
Scott Pritchard + 1370
Marc Lawrence + 1207
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Paul Bovi + 700
Pat Hawkins + 497
Kyle Hunter + 395
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 64 %
Paul Bovi 58 %
Marc Lawrence 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 1775
Kevin Rogers + 1190
Brian Edwards + 856
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1596
James Manos + 1448
Kyle Hunter + 1332
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2072
Bruce Marshall + 1842
Paul Bovi + 1307
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership