Oklahoma Sooners Season Wins O/U Pick
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley enters his third season in Norman after having led the team to back-to-back Big 12 conference titles and BCS Playoff appearances while also helping to guide two straight Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. They will need his offensive guidance early with just four starters returning to that side of the ball, but with eight back on defense and a very manageable schedule, Riley and the Sooners appear ready to continue their recent run of success in not only the conference but also the nation.
A NEW QB AWAITS
With a number one pick in the NFL Draft gone from the quarterback position, big shoes will have to be filled for the second consecutive year. Thankfully the drop off shouldn’t be as bad as once feared with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts coming in to take over the position after he left the Crimson Tide due to the success of Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts had a 24-2 record as a starter in Tuscaloosa and should find the transition made significantly more manageable with a variety of weapons available at his disposal.
THE TARGETS OF HURTS
Another Sooner to go in the first round was standout wide receiver Marquise Brown, who went 25th to the Baltimore Ravens. Plenty of talent is still available, with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the best of the bunch. Lamb finished last season with 65 catches for 1158 yards and 11 touchdowns, and it would be of no surprise to see him go pro after his junior year. Joining Lamb in the arsenal is third-year tight end Grant Calcaterra, who scored six touchdowns a season ago, and Lee Morris, who averaged 21.8 yards per catch while posting eight scores.
A double-headed monster at running back awaits Big 12 opponents with junior Trey Sermon and sophomore Kennedy Brooks both looking to build on strong performances a season ago. Sermon ran for 947 yards and scored 13 touchdowns while Brooks put up 1056 yards and 12 scores in his first season at Oklahoma. The only issue facing the backfield is the departure of four starters from their offensive line, but despite the new faces up front, the Sooners are still expected to have one of the better front fives in the conference.
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A NEW LEADER ON DEFENSE
Eight of the top nine in tackles return to the Oklahoma defense, including junior linebacker Kenneth Murray who finished in the NCAA last season with 155. The best of the defensive line are Ronnie Perkins and Neville Gallimore, while the dbacks feature junior Tre’s at cornerback in Tre Brown and Tre Norwood. The problem for the Sooners is the fact these are eight people who were also part of a defense that finished 101st in scoring, 114th in yards allowed per game and dead last in the country at 130th in pass defense. New coordinator Alex Grinch was brought in from Ohio State and has plenty of room for improvement taking over a unit that certainly has the talent to turns things around.
An easy schedule awaits Oklahoma, with their yearly tilt in Dallas against Texas the only game on the slate in which they are not a lock to be favored by double-digits. Their non-conference schedule should be no issue with home games against Houston and South Dakota, and a road trip to UCLA to begin the year. After that, they got two of their possibly tougher matchups at home against Iowa State and TCU and benefit from an easy Big 12 slate against a handful of teams they have dominated in recent years, as you can see from the below records in order of who they play this season-
- Texas Tech – 7-0 in their last seven games
- Kansas – 14-0 last fourteen
- West Virginia – 7-0 last seven
- Kansas State – 10-2 last twelve with no losses at Kansas State since 1996
- Iowa State – 19-1 last twenty, or 46-2-1 in last 49
- Baylor – 25-3 last 28
- TCU – 8-1 last nine
- Oklahoma State – 14-2 last sixteen
Texas is the only team they do not have such a dominant streak against, though they have gone 7-3 against the Longhorns over the past decade. Their main issue in that series has been their struggle against the number, having not covered in the last six Red River matchups. Neutral field games have also not been kind of late to Texas, with them going just 5-6 in their previous eleven.
The only thing preventing the Sooners from being a lock to eclipse their over/under win total is themselves, as they have had an issue in recent years in losing games they should win. From 2011-2017 they lost at least one game in each when they were favored by double-digits, and all that prevented them from having an undefeated season last year was their loss to Texas when they were giving seven. Despite that issue, I still think the schedule just lines up to well for them not to overtake their win total, and I will strongly be backing the Sooners to surpass their mark of 10.5.