2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Oklahoma Sooners
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No. 4: Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma Sooners Prespring Status
The two-time defending Big 12 champion might not have gotten back to the College Football Playoff last season, but it rolled to a ten-game winning streak to close things out, including a Sugar Bowl win over Auburn. It might not have beaten the big boys early, but it sure did late.
But that’s hardly the focus going into spring football.
With the Joe Mixon fiasco still lingering, now the OU coaching staff has to answer for Baker Mayfield, the superstar quarterback who got in big, big trouble after being charged with resisting arrest, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.
Will this be an issue going into the season, or will this matter any way in spring ball? If it’s not Mayfield under center, Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray will be ready to give it a go for an offense that gets back eight starters, as does the defense, to go along with the return of P/PK Austin Seibert.
Oklahoma Sooners Biggest Issue
Besides the Mayfield fiasco? Who’s going to run the ball? The passing game will be just fine no matter who’s under center, and even without Dede Westbrook, but Mixon and Samaje Perine are gone after combining for 2,334 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Abdul Adams and Rodney Anderson are the most interesting veterans, while Marcelias Sutton and Trey Sermon are newcomers who could play a big roles right away. No matter who’s running the ball, OU has to replace two dynamic stars – that’s not going to be as easy as it seems.
Oklahoma Sooners Biggest Positive
The defense might just be as good as the offense. Okay, no it won’t, but it’ll be very, very good. There weren’t a slew of massive NFL early defections, but there are some key losses in the interior, and with LB Jordan Evans and S Ahmad Thomas gone.
Fortunately, six of the top eight tacklers, and eight of the top 11, are back. There have to be more sacks, and there could stand to be more big plays, but the D should be better than it’s been in the last few years, and two of those teams won Big 12 titles.
Really, Why Are The Oklahoma Sooners Ranked Here?
Mayfield’s situation matters, of course, but OU is loaded no matter what. The system matters just as much as the talent at this point for the high-octane attack – at least that’s the hope, and this should still be the Big 12’s best team going into the season, considering how deep and talented it is on both sides of the ball. This is hardly a perfect squad, but if you liked what you saw over the last two seasons, get ready for more of it – with or without No. 6.