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No. 10 Oklahoma aims for more after Texas blowout

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No. 10 Oklahoma aims for more after Texas blowout

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) At Oklahoma, there's no feeling quite like plopping the Golden Hat trophy on your head and walking off the Cotton Bowl field with a victory against rival Texas in hand.

Even so, the 10th-ranked Sooners (4-1, 2-1 Big 12) know it can get much better than that. When Bob Stoops has his teams playing at their best, a Red River Rivalry win often means there's a championship in store when the end of the season comes.

It didn't happen that way after last year's Red River Rivalry blowout, with the Sooners scuffling through a win at Kansas that foreshadowed three losses in the second half of the season. They want to reverse that trend when the last-place Jayhawks (1-5, 0-3) visit Norman on Saturday night after this year's Red River rout.

``This year, we're not just peaking. We're going to continue to work,'' safety Javon Harris said. ``We're not going to stop doing what we've been doing.

``I don't think that we're done. We're really just getting started.''

Under Stoops, the Sooners have never suffered enough of a letdown after the emotional Texas game to lose their next time out. They're a perfect 13-0, including five wins against Kansas. But last season, the 55-17 blowout of the Longhorns ended up being the high point of the season. Losses to Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State spoiled a promising start and Oklahoma settled for a trip to the Insight Bowl after holding the preseason No. 1 ranking.

``You can look back on that and just learn from your mistakes and learn that one game doesn't determine your season,'' quarterback Landry Jones said. ``Each game will determine where you want to go at the end of the year.''

The Sooners provided a strong response after losing to Kansas State last month, bouncing back with consecutive wins against Texas Tech and Texas. Now, they're dealing with the return of high expectations and even talk that the national championship could be a possibility if a handful of teams lose.

But will that atmosphere have an adverse effect?

``I don't know,'' Stoops said. ``I guess it all depends on the team or the person. In the end, it shouldn't. Hopefully when you have a mature team, they understand what they're doing correct, they understand what they're not doing as well as they should, regardless of what anyone else says about them.

``Hopefully our guys will do that, continue to improve in the areas we feel we can and keep pushing for more. The mature teams do that.''

Part of that maturity will be require keeping the same standard of preparation for Kansas, which has lost 15 straight conference games and 26 of its last 27, even with No. 5 Notre Dame next on the schedule.

``You can't think that now that we've had some success, we've made it and we don't have to work anymore and we don't have to go out and practice hard anymore,'' Jones said. ``Those are the things that have got us to this point, so we have to keep building on the way we're practicing.''

The Jayhawks have been pulling out all the stops to stay competitive in games, faking punts and field goals and last week replacing starting quarterback Dayne Crist with redshirt freshman Michael Cummings. With Cummings taking the snaps, Kansas scored 14 straight points and had the ball with the chance to take the lead late in a 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State.

First-year coach Charlie Weis wouldn't say who would start against Oklahoma.

``Dayne's a competitor,'' quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus said. ``He wants to play. He doesn't want to come off the field. If he's not on the field, he'll be supportive, he'll be engaged - which he was on Saturday - and anything other than that, I would be disappointed if that was the case.''

``There is a drastic difference between Dayne and Michael, there's no doubt about it, but Michael has come a long way.''

Whoever gets the call will face an Oklahoma defense that came up with eight three-and-outs, three takeaways and a safety while overwhelming the Longhorns.

``They're going through a lot of different schemes, trying to find an identity and that's always going to be the case with an offense starting for the first year,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. ``They show a variety of different looks. They change it week in and week out.''

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Caps announce preseason schedule to kick off a busy week

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps announce preseason schedule to kick off a busy week

The Stanley Cup champion Caps will open their seven-game exhibition schedule on Sept. 16 season against the Bruins at TD Garden, the team announced.  

Washington will face Boston, Carolina and St. Louis twice apiece—once on the road, once at home—and the 

Canadiens one time. The game against the Habs will be played at Videotron Arena in Quebec City.

NBC Sports Washington’s preseason broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the preseason entire slate:

Date                    Opponent           Location                      Time
Sun., Sept. 16      at Boston          TD Garden                  1 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 18    vs. Boston         Capital One Arena     7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 20  at Montreal      Quebec City, Que.      7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 21        at Carolina        PNC Arena                  7:30 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 25    at St. Louis        Enterprise Center      7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 28        vs. Carolina       Capital One Arena    7 p.m.
Sun., Sept. 30      vs. St. Louis      Capital One Arena     3 p.m.

Monday's announcement kicked off a busy week for the Caps.

On Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin will pick up his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Nicklas Backstrom will also be on hand for media interviews; key members of the Cup-winning team are typically in attendance.

On Friday and Saturday in Dallas, Washington will make selections in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th rounds of the 2018 Entry Draft at American Airlines Center. (Their fifth-round pick was dealt to Minnesota in the Tyler Graovac deal.)

Next Monday, many of the organization’s prospects, including this year’s picks, will report to Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the start of development camp. The schedule and roster will be announced this week.

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Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes

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Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams drop slightly but still near top in MLB All-Star Game votes

The MLB All-Star Game is at Nationals Park and is now less than a month away, so let's check in on how D.C.'s top players and fan favorites are doing in the voting. 

After the first National League All-Star Game ballot update last week, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Matt Adams were the three Nationals among the top players receiving votes. And while that's still the case, they've all dropped one position since last week. Perhaps because of the Nats' recent slump?

Opening as the No. 1 outfielder, Harper is now No. 2 in the voting with 1,002,696 tallies, behind Atlanta Braves right fielder Nick Markakis with 1,173,653 votes. They are, however, the only two outfielders with more than a million votes and 2-of-5 overall in the voting. 

Adams — who was 14th among outfielders last week — slid one spot to No. 15 with 237,165 votes.

Last week, Turner was the No. 4 shortstop on the ballot, but he has since dropped to No. 4 with 279,071 votes. He's behind San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford, Braves' Dansby Swanson, Chicago Cubs' Addison Russell and Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story — who was the one to jump Turner this time around. 

If you're a Nats fan who doesn't like these results, don't worry. You can keep voting until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and you can vote up to five times every 24 hours. Read more about how to vote for your favorite players in the MLB All-Star Game HERE

The 2018 NL-AL matchup is in Washington, D.C. on July 17.

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