Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Oklahoma Sooners season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Oklahoma Sooners
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Oklahoma Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Oklahoma is in a spot all by itself.
At the moment, there’s Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. Those three programs have won the College Football Playoff National Championship and have been to multiple CFPs. And then there’s Wisconsin, USC and Penn State; close-but-not-quite superpower programs that haven’t been able to crack the playoff code.
And in between those two levels is OU, who has owned the Big 12 over the last three seasons – and has the talent to do it again – with the distinction of being the only one to get to the CFP twice without winning or playing in the national championship.
But the key is to keep getting there. At some point, it’s going to work, the right playoff breaks will kick in, and the Sooners will be on the national championship stage. Oklahoma is the epitome of the horrible have-to-be-in-it-to-win-it cliché.
What has to change to get over the hump? What’s missing, and what does the program have to do differently to go from being in the club to into the VIP lounge?
Unlike Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State, Oklahoma went through a regime change and was still able to get into the CFP. Bob Stoops was an all-timer of a head coach, had a heater of a team returning, and everything turned out to be just fine under Lincoln Riley.
Yeah, it might lose an all-timer of a quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but Oklahoma has lost all-timer quarterbacks before and rolled on.
The Sooners lost five starters on offense and five starters on defense, and there’s no real concern – the depth was stunning and the gaps are being filled right away.
The Big 12 doesn’t have a team as strong as last year’s Oklahoma State or even a veteran TCU squad, but it’s full of a whole bunch of okay teams. Even so, for a program used to battling for the College Football Playoff, there’s nothing here worth getting into a twist over.
If the Sooners play up to their capabilities, they can and should get to the Big 12 Championship again with just one loss – there’s nothing on the schedule that’s a problem if OU is really that good.
And now, 18 years after last winning a national championship, as long as the quarterback play is fine and there’s no massive slip against the manageable slate, Oklahoma really might find itself in a truly strange place …
In Santa Clara on January 7th being handed a trophy by Bill Hancock.