By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
It’s been quite a year in sports around our area and across the state. In today’s Enid News & Eagle we have our list of top 10 local and area sports stories, but this also is a good time to look ahead.
All three of our state’s major collegiate football teams will be in bowl action as 2013 approaches, providing a nice kick start to the new year.
• First up will be Tulsa, which is coming off a 10-3 season in which the Golden Hurricane claimed the Conference USA crown Dec. 1 with a 33-27 overtime win over UCF. That win landed Tulsa in Monday’s Liberty Bowl opposite Iowa State, which finished with a 6-6 mark. The teams met early in the season with the Cyclones defeating Tulsa 38-23 in Ames, Iowa, in the first game of the season.
A victory should land Tulsa in the Top 25, and area fans have plenty to cheer about with five northwest Oklahoma standouts on the Tulsa roster, led by senior center Trent Dupy of Enid, who has been a starter since his freshman season. Also on the Tulsa squad are former Hennessey standouts Derrick and Matt Luetjen, Kingfisher’s Derek Patterson and Enid’s Colby Scott, who was a medical redshirt this season. Iowa State is a 1-point favorite. Prediction: Tulsa 41, Iowa State 38.
• Oklahoma State (7-5) kicks off the new year Tuesday in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue (6-6) with former Plainsman Clint Chelf expected to start his fifth straight game at quarterback.
The redshirt junior has been a feel-good story this year for Enidites after he was relegated to third-string duties before the season began. Chelf leads the Cowboys with 12 touchdown passes. Prediction: OSU 48, Purdue 27.
• Oklahoma (10-2) landed in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4 against ex-Big 12 foe Texas A&M (10-2), which initially brought about disappointment among Sooner faithful after OU was left out of the BCS bowl mix. But the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas has emerged as one of the marquee bowl contests after Aggies’ freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy.
The Cotton Bowl already is a sellout and you can rest assured Sooners’ quarterback Landry Jones wants to go out on a winning note and remind people Manziel is not the only hotshot QB in the contest. Texas A&M is favored by three points. Prediction: OU 31, Texas A&M 30.
• And, if that isn’t enough to get Oklahoma sports fans excited for the new year, the Oklahoma City Thunder are doing their part. The Thunder have arguably been the best team in the NBA so far this season, and the preseason trade that sent James Harden to Houston and brought Kevin Martin to OKC is making Thunder GM Sam Presti look like one shrewd wheeler-dealer.
The Thunder are one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win an NBA title this season, and with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Martin, Serge Ibaka and company playing at the top of their games, Thunder fans could well be celebrating a title this spring, making it a very happy new year.
Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.