Redskins

No. 14 Sooners, No. 22 Cowboys gear up for Bedlam

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No. 14 Sooners, No. 22 Cowboys gear up for Bedlam

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Get ready for a Bedlam rivalry with some sizzle.

An outright Big 12 title is back in play for No. 14 Oklahoma after first-place Kansas State suffered its first loss of the season, and even No. 22 Oklahoma State could claim a share of the conference crown after winning five of its last six games to climb back into the Top 25.

The Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) certainly can't afford to breathe a sigh of relief after quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Kenny Stills had huge performances to rescue them in a 50-49 shootout against West Virginia, which had the most yards ever by an Oklahoma opponent with 778.

Switching from wide receiver to running back, Tavon Austin set a school record with 344 yards rushing for a Mountaineers offense that had been struggling on the ground. And Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2) boasts the league's best run game, along with a third-string quarterback who's got the hot hand.

After two months of keeping his starting quarterback a secret, coach Mike Gundy even went as far as announced that Clint Chelf would take the first snap against the Sooners on Saturday in Norman.

``It's exciting but at the end of the day, it's just the next game that you've got to go win,'' said Chelf, who has won his first two career starts against West Virginia and then-No. 23 Texas Tech.

``It doesn't really matter who you're playing, you've got to go out and execute and play hard and hopefully come out with the win.''

Much like Oklahoma did in borrowing Oklahoma State's three-back ``diamond'' formation a couple years ago, the Cowboys took a page from the Sooners' playbook in unveiling a short-yardage running package with an alternate quarterback on Saturday. J.W. Walsh, who Gundy had ruled out with a season-ending knee injury four weeks ago, returned and ran for one touchdown and threw for another out of a jumbo set with an extra offensive lineman and three backs.

``It adds a whole `nother dynamic. To be able to do that and to mix up the offense, it just gives those guys a whole lot more to work on and allows us to be more successful and have a whole lot more productivity out there,'' Walsh said.

As if Oklahoma didn't have enough to worry about already on defense. Coach Bob Stoops acted as though he was OK with it after Baylor became the fourth team this season to surpass 200 yards against his defense. He admitted after an even bigger, record-setting outing by West Virginia that ``it eats at all of us'' and changes could be coming to the seven-defensive back package used the past two weeks.

``Definitely, some of it's what we're doing but some of it's also guys are in position and didn't make plays. When you miss a tackle, you miss a tackle and a guy goes for another 50 yards. You're doing the right things. You've just got to play better,'' Stoops said.

``So, it's on both of us. The players can play better in some instances and we can hopefully move them in better position in some instances, too.''

Defensive captain David King said he's not sure what's wrong ``but we can't make any plays, we can't get any pressure on the quarterback, can't tackle. Just all out, just poor defense.''

``It's embarrassing,'' added King, a defensive end. ``That's two weeks in a row that we have been exposed by high-powered offenses.

``It's all out there on tape now, so OSU's going to come in and try to expose us again for a third week.''

Oklahoma State holds the Bedlam bragging rights at the moment, having blown out the Sooners 44-10 in Stillwater last season to end an eight-game losing streak in the series and wrap up the team's first Big 12 title.

The Cowboys haven't won in Norman since 2001.

``Big game,'' said Jones, who broke his own school record with 554 yards passing and tied his own mark with six touchdown passes Saturday night.

``Final home game for the seniors. Final home game for myself, so obviously I'd love to go out there and I'd love to play to the best of my capabilities.''

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AP Sports Writer John Raby contributed to this report from Morgantown, W.Va.

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These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.

Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done

But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.

"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.

Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.

So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.

"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"

Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.

Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.

"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."

Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.

"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Nickeil Walker-Alexander

School: Virginia Tech
Position: Guard
Age: 20 (turns 21 in September)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 204
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.5 bpg, 47.4 FG% (5.6/11.8), 37.4 3PT% (1.7/4.6), 77.8 FT%

Player comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Tomas Satoransky

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 19th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 18th, Sports Illustrated 20th, Ringer 16th

5 things to know:

*Walker-Alexander is a big guard known for his offensive skillset. He can handle the ball, pass and score in a variety of ways. He can play both point guard and shooting guard and affect games with his passing at either spot. 

*He was an excellent three-point shooter in college. As a freshman, he shot 39.2 percent from long range on 4.5 attempts per game. His percentage dipped as a sophomore to 37.4 percent, but that was still impressive given he attempted 4.6 shots per game. 

*Walker-Alexander has a plus wingspan, which he uses to his advantage on defense. He averaged 1.9 steals per game this past season in Blacksburg and his highlight reels are flooded with open court dunks off turnovers. He appears to have strong instincts as a perimeter defender, but could struggle initially at the NBA level against quicker and stronger guards.

*Though he has great size and length for a guard, Walker-Alexander is not considered a premier athlete for the position. He does not have elite quickness or the ability to play consistently above the rim. Because of that, some wonder how high his ceiling will be in the NBA. He may, however, have a high floor given his well-rounded game and basketball IQ.

*Walker-Alexander is from Canada. He has played for the national team as a junior and is part of a new wave of players from the country in the NBA. Walker-Alexander was a high school teammate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who just enjoyed a strong rookie season with the L.A. Clippers.

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards need help at just about every position, so even a guard can't be ruled out. Walker-Alexander would give them more backcourt depth and that is needed long-term, even after John Wall returns from injury.

If Walker-Alexander can develop into an above average perimeter defender, he could be very useful for the Wizards. They need to improve at stopping dribble penetration and three-point shooters. They could use more players with Walker-Alexander's length and ability to force turnovers. Also, he would help spread the floor with his shooting.

All that said, the Wizards could probably find a player with more upside than Walker-Alexander with the ninth overall pick. He would be more in line with their decision to take Troy Brown Jr. last June.

Like Brown, he is smart and a safe bet to carve out a long NBA career. But could Walker-Alexander become an elite player at his position? He seems like a better option if they trade down into the teens and acquire more picks.

Best highlight video:

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