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Oklahoma Football 2022: Best-Case vs. Worst-Case Scenario

The Oklahoma Sooners have had one of the most intriguing offseason’s of any program in the country, but in just a couple of weeks that will be old news as it will be football time in Oklahoma.

New head coach Brent Venables has assembled a terrific coaching staff and has pieced together a “Frankenstein” roster of blue-chip talent that many feel is tops in the Big 12. Southpaw quarterback Dillon Gabriel just might be the single-most important player to his team in all of college football and the offensive talent around him is immense. If Venables can figure out the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma could be among the best teams in the country once again.

However, what are realistic expectations for the Sooners in Year 1 of the Brent Venables’ era? Here are the best-case, worst-case, and most-likely scenarios for Oklahoma in 2022.

 

Best-Case Scenario

Dillon Gabriel’s knowledge of the Jeff Lebby offense makes the Sooner offense click from the get-go. A vastly improved offensive line and an impressive set of skill players becomes one of the most lethal offenses in the country. Defensively, Oklahoma goes back to its roots of being aggressive and hard-nosed and works their way into being a Top-35 unit nationally. An underrated defensive line and linebacker corps quickly becomes one of the best in the Big 12. The combination of a high-tempo offense and a punishing defensive gets the Sooners to the Big 12 Championship and a win there puts them in the College Football Playoff.

Record: 12-0

Worst-Case Scenario

Brent Venables’ inexperience as a head coach shows early as the Sooners drop an early road game in Lincoln, Nebraska. The defense struggles to keep up with Venables’ system and midway through the year starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel goes down. Oklahoma is forced to use an inexperienced backup at QB and growing pains start to multiply as the Sooners lose a couple more games down the stretch. Ultimately, OU’s roster is talented enough to keep its head above water, but the Sooners fail to reach double-digit wins for the first time since 2014 (excluding COVID-19 shortened year in 2020).

Record: 8-4

 

Most-Likely Scenario

While there are growing pains along the way, Oklahoma’s brand of football is night-and-day different in Year 1 under Brent Venables as the Sooners play mirrors the intensity and passion of its new head coach. While inconsistent out the gate, Oklahoma’s defense finds its stride midway through the year and becomes one of the top units in the Big 12 by season’s end. The offense under Jeff Lebby isn’t quite as flashy as what Sooner fans were used to in year’s past, but it remains the pace car in the conference and keeps Oklahoma in the Big 12 title hunt. By winning difficult games down the stretch, OU gets back to the Big 12 championship and a chance at a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

Record: 10-2

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