Sports

Missing players, interim coaches add to drama of Alamo Bowl

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks and No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners square off tonight in the Valero Alamo Bowl with a harder to predict outcome due to missing starters and interim coaches.

Ducks Coach Bryan McClendon and Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops appear at a Valero Alamo Bowl pregame news conference on Tuesday

The No. 14 Oregon Ducks and No. 16 Oklahoma Sooners square off Wednesday in the Valero Alamo Bowl with a harder-to-predict outcome due to missing starters and interim coaches.

Both teams have seen players opt out for the NFL draft. But the Ducks appear to have seen the most losses, with NFL draft candidates and players seeking transfers.

College Football Hall of Famer Coach Bob Stoops has stepped in to lead the Sooners for the first time since his retirement after the team’s 2016 Sugar Bowl win.

Despite the Ducks missing starters, he believes they have a lot of depth.

“They got guys at every level that are really good football players and have played well through the year,” he said at Tuesday’s final pregame news conference.

Ducks interim Coach Bryan McClendon joked he wished Oklahoma starting quarterback Caleb Williams had opted out for the NFL draft.

“I feel like they have probably the best playmaker in the country at quarterback, you know, regardless of how old or young he is. I mean the guy is a phenomenal player,” he said.

Some college football pundits like OU to win due to Stoop’s storied career as the winningest Sooner coach ever and due to Oregon’s larger loss of players.

The Valero Alamo Bowl kicks off at 8:15 p.m. Tickets were still available at Ticketmaster or the dome box office, starting at $50.

It’s the eighth year the bowl game has matched up the top teams of the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences. The Ducks enter with game with a 10-3 record and the Sooners are 10-2.

McClendon will leave after the game to join the University of Miami as a wide receivers coach. The preceding head coach of the Ducks, Mario Cristobal, is now the head coach at Miami, so it marks a reunion of the two men.

The Ducks recently named Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as their new head coach.

Stoops agreed to serve as interim coach for the Sooners after its head coach, Lincoln Riley, suddenly departed to be head coach at USC.

The Sooners have hired Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables as their new head coach. Venables also had previous coaching roles at OU.

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