College Confidential

Stoops says OU ready for big challenge in opener at Houston

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says his team, ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press’ preseason poll, must play its best to knock off No. 15 Houston in a Saturday season opener with College Football Playoff ramifications for both schools.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says his team, ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press’ preseason poll, must play its best to knock off No. 15 Houston in a Saturday season opener with College Football Playoff ramifications for both schools. AP

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops said Monday that his third-ranked team must “be at our best Saturday morning and play our best” if the Sooners are to knock off No. 15 Houston in a season opener that will have College Football Playoff ramifications for both teams.

Oklahoma, the reigning Big 12 champion, lost to Clemson in the semifinals of last year’s CFP playoff to finish 11-2. Houston posted a 13-1 record last season but did not receive a playoff berth. The Cougars return dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr., a Heisman Trophy candidate, and will play Saturday’s game at NRG Stadium in Houston (11 a.m., WFAA/Ch. 8), five miles from the school’s campus in what Stoops considers a less-than-neutral site: the stadium that is home to the NFL’s Houston Texans.

“We’re aware we’re not at home. So we’ve got to bring some extra attitude and extra effort,” Stoops said. “You want to win them all. That’s what you try to do at Oklahoma.”

Stoops made his comments during Monday’s teleconference with Big 12 football coaches.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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