We’ve officially made it through the first half of the first round of this tournament. Although it may be true that there were some lopsided matchups in the first round, the Vessels vs Gresham matchup was very close. As we get into the round of 32, the matchups will begin to generate more buzz and more discussion. But, for now, we continue with the results of the Baker Mayfield region as we look at the greatest players in Oklahoma football history.
Baker Mayfield Region First-Round Matchups
(1) Baker Mayfield vs (16) Anthony Phillips
The only thing missing from Mayfield’s legacy is a national championship. However, outside of perhaps Brian Bosworth, Mayfield will go down as one of the most charismatic players in program history. Multiple Big 12 championships, All-American honors, and a Heisman Trophy award are just a few of his accomplishments as a Sooner. Comparatively, Phillips was a hometown boy from just up the road in Jenks, Oklahoma. As a freshman, Phillips started on the 1985 national championship team. He was also a consensus All-American in 1988. However, there is no 16 over one upset here as Mayfield rolls, 686-16.
Winner: Baker Mayfield
(8) Josh Heupel vs (9) Rickey Dixon
Winning a national championship can win the hearts of many. And, that’s just what Heupel did for the Sooners in 2000. Although, he may not have the numbers of a Mayfield his leadership helped resurrect the program in 1999 and 2000. Dixon gets the emotional vote based on his health situation currently. But, Dixon is probably the second-best defensive back in Oklahoma history. Dixon was a consensus All-American in 1987 and was the first Sooner to win the Jim Thorpe award. He was also the fifth overall selection in the 1988 NFL draft. Even though it was relatively close, Heupel still comes out on top here 480-247.
Winner: Josh Heupel
(4) Tommie Harris vs (13) Tony Jefferson
Harris is arguably the best defensive lineman in the Bob Stoops era. One of the attributes of a great player is making your teammates better and Harris did exactly that in 2003 as Oklahoma had one of the best defenses in the country. In 2003, Harris won the Lombardi and was a consensus All-American for the Sooners. Jefferson had a very up and down career for Oklahoma. However, in 2010 he was a freshman All-American and Big 12 Freshman of the year. He had eight interceptions in his Sooner career. But, Jefferson was no match here as Harris takes this matchup 469-53.
Winner: Tommie Harris
(5) Greg Pruitt vs (12) George Cumby
It can be difficult to get noticed at a school that is known for outstanding running backs, but Pruitt set the bar pretty high in 1971 and 1972. He came in third and second in Heisman voting in those seasons, but 1971 was his best overall year. He averaged nine yards per carry and ran for over 1,700 yards with 18 touchdowns. George Cumby was an outstanding linebacker for the Sooners. He was a three-time All-American from 1977-1979. Cumby was described by then-head coach Barry Switzer as “the only person I know who could go one-on-one with Earl Campbell and knock him backward.” The offense again wins the day here as Pruitt logs the victory by a score of 425-62.
Winner: Greg Pruitt
(6) Jason White vs (11) Uwe von Schamann
White is one of the most decorated quarterbacks to play at Oklahoma. Aside from winning the Heisman Trophy in 2003, he was also a two-time Davey O’Brien award winner and the Maxwell Award recipient in 2004. White’s career flourished after back to back ACL injuries threatened his career. Von Schamann’s claim to fame will always be the game-winning kick against Ohio State in 1977. However, he is still one of the best kickers in Sooner history. He only missed one extra point in his career and made 30 field goals overall. A tough matchup here for von Schamann and White takes it 487-179.
Winner: Jason White
(3) Joe Washington vs (14) Granville Liggins
Affectionately known as “Little Joe”, Washington could stake a claim as the best running back in Sooner history. Many experts think Washington could and should have won the Heisman Trophy if not for the Sooner probation. Still, Washington ranks number three in Oklahoma history with 4,071 rushing yards for his career. Liggins was a two-sport star at Oklahoma in football and wrestling. In 1967, he was a consensus All-American as a noseguard. He actually finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting that year. Even with Liggins spectacular career, the silver shoes streak to an easy 535-28 win.
Winner: Joe Washington
(7) Steve Davis vs (10) Derrick Strait
When you think of Davis, you can’t help but think of greatness. In his career as a starting quarterback, he was 32-1-1 and holds the record today with the best winning percentage as a starting quarterback. He was also named the most valuable player of the 1976 Orange Bowl where the Sooners claimed their fifth national championship. On the other side, Strait may have been one of the most opportunistic defensive players in school history. Strait was a starter on the 2000 national championship team. But, in 2003 he went on to capture the Jim Thorpe and Bronco Nagurski awards. In the closest matchup to date, Davis edges Strait 311-291.
Winner: Steve Davis
(2) Roy Williams vs (15) Reggie Kinlaw
It’s debatable, but many consider Williams in the top three in terms of best defenders in Sooner history. Although, he is widely known for his “Superman” play against Texas in 2001 he was clearly the best defensive player in the nation that season. Like Strait, he also came away with the Thorpe and Nagurski awards in 2001. Kinlaw was a nose guard for the Sooners in 1977 and 1978 where he was an All-American both seasons. Incredibly, he finished 1978 with 120 tackles from his defensive lineman position which would be unheard of in this day and age. However, Williams wins this matchup easily by a score of 450-28.