The Oklahoma Sooners come in at No. 7 in the CFN Preseason Rankings. Here are five things that matter heading into Sooners’ 2016 season.
The offense should keep on rolling
Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma coaching staff realized there had to be a change. The offense had to be able to keep up with Baylor, TCU, and the other high-octane Big 12 attacks. In came the sped up, Air Raid – even though everyone at Oklahoma hates that term – offense that maximized the talent of Baker Mayfield and all the weapons around him.
Mayfield’s back along with the devastating running back tandem of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. The receiving corps needs a little work, but it’ll be fine if Penn State transfer Geno Lewis can help replace Sterling Shepard. So as long as Mayfield is on one piece, expect more of the same from the Sooners.
Oklahoma has a defense, too
Mayfield and company got all the headlines last year with the fun and exciting offense cranking up the numbers on a weekly basis, but the Sooners also got a great year out of the defense – especially the pass defense – on the way to the Big 12 title. The secondary is loaded again, and as always, the Sooners have good linebackers who should put up big seasons. As long as the pass rush is in place – and all indications are that it’ll be fine – this would be one of the league’s best defenses again.
Can Oklahoma avoid going all Oklahoma?
It’s nitpicking for a program that’s been such a major player year-in-and-year-out, but there always seems to be the out-of-character performance just when it seems like everything is rolling. Last year it was the Texas loss, and it took way too much to get by a Trevone Boykin-less TCU. The schedule this year should work out well, and there shouldn’t be too many problems as long as the Sooners beat all the teams they’re supposed to, and …
Beat Ohio State
The Sooners have to deal with a fired up Houston to start the season, and they have their share of statement moments throughout the Big 12 season, but the national perception comes down to the Ohio State game. The Buckeyes can lose a close one and be fine – they’ll get a little bit of credit for fighting the good fight on the road – but the Sooners probably can’t lose the big home game and reach the CFP without getting through the rest of the slate without a scratch.
What’s going to happen?
It’ll be a lot like last year with the offense having its unstoppable moments, and overall, the team getting better as the season goes on the way to another Big 12 title. However, the Sooners will lose a classic to Ohio State at home, and will sputter yet again against a Texas team that comes up with another inspired effort. Will 10-2 be good enough to get back to the CFP? If the Buckeyes roll to a Big Ten title and have a huge season, and as long as that loss is close, maybe.