A good Sunday in Norman
Oklahoma’s players did not gather en masse Sunday morning to find out if the Sooners were in the College Football Playoff. With no team festivities, players scattered around Norman.
Some of the offensive linemen were together for an early Sunday feast and were heading back to their homes when the official announcement neared.
“I was driving back from lunch with some of the O-line guys and we were watching it on the way home and we were actually pulled over to make sure we saw the results,” tackle Cody Ford said on Monday. “Once we found out, we were pretty ecstatic though. Enjoyed the rest of the ride home.”
The fourth-ranked Sooners (12-1) will face No. 1 Alabama on Dec. 29 at the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The Sooners are making their third trip to the College Football Playoff in the past four seasons. In retrospect, the victory over Texas to win a fourth straight Big 12 Conference title, secured the spot.
But there was still some sweating to do.
“I found out while I was at church,” linebacker Kenneth Murray said. “It was a great place to find out.”
Murray said his pastor was watching the selection show on his phone and gave him the good news.
“He was like, ‘Look, they’re fixing to decide right now.’ We were watching anxiously, then a commercial came up,” Murray recalled. “Then finally it came back on and we found out we were in. I did a little celebration outside the church before I went inside and give to the Lord.”
The Sooners enter the College Football Playoff as a 14-point underdog to the Crimson Tide. This will mark the first time OU hasn’t been the betting favorite in a game this season.
“Great challenge going up against a great team. They have tremendous players,” Ford said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for us, definitely, to go out there, prove what we’ve been working for and to let everyone know that we have been working for something, that on the big stage, we can play.”
The last time the Sooners were an underdog was last season’s Rose Bowl. OU wasn’t the betting favorite three times in 2017. It lost to Georgia in the Rose Bowl but won in the Bedlam game and at Ohio State.
“I think that we like when people doubt us. We like to prove people wrong,” Ford said.
Seibert feels lucky
Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert is the No. 2 all-time scoring kicker in FBS history after kicking three field goals and four extra points Saturday.
That final field goal was dicey. His 31-yard boot early in the fourth quarter banked off the left upright before sneaking through.
“I hit it cleanly and I saw it drawing left. It was one of those moments,” Seibert said Monday. “It hit it (the upright) and went in. I usually don’t have that kind of luck, getting a hook or a pull to go in. Luck was on my side that day.”
Seibert heads to the Orange Bowl needing six points to set the FBS record for career points by kicker. He currently trails former Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez, who set the mark from 2013-16.
— John Shinn, for the Tulsa World