Oklahoma spent the last two seasons dominated the Big 12 winning back-to-back championships with a conference mark of 18-1. There will be some changes for the Sooners in 2018, most notably with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Baker Mayfield going No. 1 in the NFL Draft. So can they make it a three-peat?
Oklahoma 2018 regular season win total
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
A heartbreaking double overtime loss to Georgia in the Rose Bowl kept the Sooners out of the National Championship game. Besides a loss to Iowa State, it was a magical year for Oklahoma led by Mayfield taking the top honor in college sports.
Big road wins at Ohio State and Oklahoma State and taking the first Big 12 Championship Game since 2010 against TCU made winning the conference a little more special as well. But can the Sooners keep winning without Mayfield?
What Will Change This Year
Mayfield is out and someone else has to move in. Perhaps one of the best examples of easier said than done. Junior Kyler Murray has been waiting for his chance and appeared in seven games completing 18-of-21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns while running for 143 yards. The problem with Murray is that he also bats .292 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, three triples 46 RBIs, a slugging percentage .557 and he is eligible for the MLB Draft.
If it’s not Murray, which it still likely will be, look to redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall who was Offensive Scout Player of the Year last season and his freshman year appeared in two games completing 16-of-22 for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Outside of quarterback, Rodney Anderson is back after going off for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns in the backfield along with fellow returner Trey Sermon who went for 744 and five touchdowns. At receiver, Marquise Brown (57 receptions, seven touchdowns, 1,095 yards) and CeeDee Lamb (46/7/807) are back as well.
Defensively, the Sooners have a lot of replacing to do, but key returners in linebacker Kenneth Murray, defensive back Parnell Motley and defensive end Kenneth Mann will lead. But Oklahoma will need to guys to step up if they don’t want to be in shootouts week in and week out with a new quarterback.
Outlook & Prediction
Oklahoma has plenty of firepower around the new quarterback, so the offense shouldn’t take too much of a drop off. But some drop off is to be expected. Maybe more importantly the defense is also in transition and with the strong offenses all around the conference, a young quarterback might be asked to do more than capable.
The Sooners get home games against Oklahoma State, Kansas State and their toughest non-conference game against UCLA, as well as Baylor and Kansas. On the road, Iowa State was the Oklahoma’s one lone loss in two years and they have to go to Ames, Iowa. The Sooners will also travel to TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech.
The Sooners will be good, but perhaps it is time, for one year at least, for another team to take the top spot in the Big 12.
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