Spring football is over and we now all begin the countdown to the Big 12 Media Days, Fall Camps, and then, yes, the start of the 2018 college football season. So, with that being said, let’s have some fun and look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for every team in the Big 12 conference. We will start rolling these out throughout the month of May. Agree? Disagree? Don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments below!
We now take a closer look at the Oklahoma Sooners, who begin Year Two under head coach Lincoln Riley and are coming off an 12-2 season with a Big 12 title and a playoff appearance in 2017. With Heisman winner Baker Mayfield gone, how will the Sooners season play out without him? Is the defense fixed? Let’s look at the best and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma Sooners: Best-Case Scenario
Quarterback Kyler Murray lives up to the hype coming out of high school as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in the 2015 class. He shows his own unique style of play and makes people say, “Baker Mayfield who”? Just kidding folks, he won’t make people forget him, but he shows off his unique style of play behind the best offensive line in the Big 12. Combine that with a talented backfield (Rodney Anderson, Trey Sermon, TJ Pledger and Kennedy Brooks) and some serious weapons on the outside (Ceedee Lamb and Hollywood Brown) and it equals a recipe for success. Oh yeah, that Lincoln Riley guy has one hell of an offensive mind. As for the defense, Mike Stoops finally makes it respectable enough to help win ball games. The defensive line steps up and linebacker Caleb Kelly leads the front while Brendan Radley-Hiles (AKA Bookie) ends up being one of the best safeties in the country as a true freshman. Let’s pump some sunshine, shall we?
The Sooners first two games are against FAU and UCLA at home. While FAU has some interesting characters (*Cough* Lane Kiffin *Cough*) they should win based on talent alone and the same goes for the UCLA game. The third game is trick at Jack Trice Stadium against Iowa State, but they will revenge last year’s loss at home and pull off the late victory. Follow that up with Army and Baylor at home which should be two easier victories and the Sooners are in good shape heading into the Texas game undefeated. As Tom Herman is still figuring things out, the Sooners win a hard-nosed match up at the Cotton Bowl. That puts the Sooners at 6-0 before their bye week.
Then the tough match ups really start kicking in in the second half of the season. They travel to TCU which to me could be a toss up game against a great Horned Frogs defense. Follow that up with a home game against K-State (Could be tricky) and at Texas Tech which is always interesting. The next two shouldn’t be too tough considering they play Oklahoma State at home and Kansas at home. The Cowboys are rebuilding, and Kansas is well, Kansas so mark down two more wins. Then comes the best match up maybe in the entire conference. Oklahoma travels to Morgantown against a high-powered offense in West Virginia. I’ll say that is another toss up game.
The three toughest games for this team to me are against Texas, at TCU and at WVU. Best case they go 2-1 in those three games which puts this team at 11-1 like last season. That’s good enough to earn another trip to the Big 12 title game in December.
Oklahoma Sooners: Worst Case Scenario
Kyler Murray isn’t the answer at quarterback and he splits time with Austin Kendall. Both guys are wildly inconsistent and neither take the job and run with it. Meanwhile, behind a solid offensive line, Rodney Anderson still manages to carry the offense, but the lack of a stable passing game hurts. Defensively, Mike Stoops doesn’t have the answers as the loss of superior pass rusher Obo Okoronkwo forces him to take more gambles. The defensive line is shaky, and the Sooners continue to struggle up front. Even though the secondary should improve, the front seven is the weak link. Let’s throw on those negativity shades, shall we?
No matter what, mark the home games against FAU an UCLA as wins. As for the trip to Jack Trice in Ames, the Cyclones manage to beat the Sooners in back to back years and becomes the first Big 12 team since Baylor (2013 & 2014) to beat the Sooners two years in a row. Follow that up with two home games against Army and Baylor (Should be wins) and the season still seems not too shabby but then things take a turn.
The Cotton Bowl doesn’t go as planned and Texas beats Oklahoma for the first time since 2015 which puts the Sooners at 4-2 before the bye week. After the bye week, they travel to Fort Worth to take on a tough TCU team and fall short. Then the Sooners start making a run as they go 4-0 in games against K-State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas. At 8-3 before the final game, the Sooners still have hopes to sneak in the Big 12 title game, but the dream ends as they fall to a high powered WVU team in Morgantown. The 2018 Sooners finish the year 8-4 in a disappointing season.