By Austin Payne
The Oklahoma Sooners will likely be down some key contributors for their game against the undisputed best team in college football next Saturday, LSU. having been dealt a suspension by the NCAA, three Sooners players were hit with drug violations, two of which being key contributors and starters.
Ronnie Perkins, Rhamadore Stevenson, and Trejan Bridges were suspended for a failed drug test earlier this week. Oklahoma will be appealing the suspension, and according to NCAA standards an “effort” will be made to hear the appeal on time, but whether or not that happens…remains to be seen. (Full story)
Rhamadore Stevenson has been a key contributor on offense, especially as the season has gone along deeper into the year. Having Racked up 515 yards on 8 yards per carry and 6 touchdowns as Kennedy Brooks backup, hes been an essential complimentary piece to the top dogs in Hurts, Lamb, and Brooks. Ronnie Perkins has been comparatively productive for them, totaling 38 tackles and 6 sacks along with a forced fumble in his sophomore campaign, putting up similar numbers to his previous season. Trejan Bridges is only a freshman, and though he was a highly coveted four star prospect, he’s been playing behind some heavy talent at the receiver position, and has not played a prominent role in the offense.
If the appeals process does not complete, or the appeal is rejected, being without these two players will definitely hurt the Sooners chances of upsetting a team they were already very unlikely to beat. In Stevenson’s stead, look for sophomore T.J. Pledger to serve as the backup running back, (though obviously we would likely just see more Jalen Hurts carries) and more of Marcus Stripling in place of Ronnie Perkins. (Sooners depth chart)
The question at hand really seems to be, to me anyway, will it even matter? Their opponent, LSU, has been so insanely good this season on both offense and defense that they have to be in consideration for one of the best college football teams we’ve seen. Whether it’s up there with the 2013 Noles’ and Auburn teams? The Clemsons of the last few years, any number of Alabama Squads, 05’ USC? You name it, i think they’re in the conversation. Because of this, could we really expect a few players missing, not named Jalen Hurts and CeeDee lamb, to matter?
With their chances already a bit dim despite how good Jalen Hurts, CeeDee Lamb, and Lincoln Riley are, losing starters and important contributors doesn’t help them much at all. This should not change the outcome of the game at all, and though it would be fun to see a barn burner, i find it hard to believe that LSU’s defense would allow that to happen. That being said, i’m taking the Tigers 52-33.