Oklahoma Sooners

Danny Kanell: Oklahoma Could Be a ‘Dark Horse’ College Football Playoff Contender in 2022

The Oklahoma football program has experienced a massive amount of turnover in the 2021-22 offseason, perhaps more than anyone else in college football.

The Sooners lost their head coach, entire defensive staff, 12 players to the NFL Draft or Free Agency, 13 other players to graduation, and another 13 players to the transfer portal.


Still yet, the Sooners added 12 players from the portal at key positions that are prepared to contribute, along with several highly-touted incoming freshman that are ready to carve out a role immediately and added Brent Venables, who brought in one of the best coaching and support staffs in America.

With all of that turnover, CBS Sports’ personality Danny Kanell thinks that things in Norman might be looking up.

“I think Oklahoma could be just as good offensively as they’ve been in this Lincoln Riley run with Dillon Gabriel coming to town and with Jeff Lebby running that offense,” Kanell said on the “Cover 3 Podcast”. “What has been Oklahoma’s hang-up in the Riley tenure? It was the defensive side of the ball. He brings in Alex Grinch, and they get a little bit better, but they were by no means a juggernaut defensively. Brent Venables is a defensive-minded coach, who is going to try to change the culture and have a tougher Oklahoma team than we have seen. Schedule sets up nicely. I think Oklahoma could be right back where they usually reside at the top of the Big 12, and if things fall their way, they could be right on the cusp of another playoff appearance. I don’t think they’re gonna be a pick many people make to reach the playoff.”


After everything that Oklahoma has had to overcome this offseason, it would be easy to expect a down year, but anonymous coached told Athlon Sports that they believe Venables is the perfect fit for Oklahoma.

“The definition of OU ball is that no matter what they’re doing schematically, they’re mean,” the coach said. “They’re harder than the other team. That’s what Brent loves to do. His identity fits perfectly. They just need to play ball and ignore the noise about their old coach.”

We only have about 10 more weeks before we see what Oklahoma looks like under Venables, and before we see if Kanell is onto something with the Sooners.

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