College Football Preview: The 2014 Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma Sooners 0-0
2014 College Football Preview
Odds to Win National Championship: 12-1 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Oklahoma Sooners won double-digit games for the fourth straight year under head coach Bob Stoops and capped their season off with a BCS bowl victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Sooners finished second in the Big 12 and had wins over ranked opponents such as Notre Dame, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Sooners have now won 10 or more games in seven of their last eight seasons, and you can bet the Oklahoma fan base is expecting to be one of the four teams making the playoffs this season.
Offense: Trevor Knight will be the full-time starter for the first time in his career, as he threw for 819 yards and nine touchdowns, while rushing for 445 yards and two touchdowns in limited action. Knight really caught the attention of college football fans everywhere when he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns in Oklahoma’s win over Alabama. Knight will have to take his game to another level, as Oklahoma is without its top two rushers from last year and its top wide receiver in Jalen Saunders. Inexperienced players such as Alex Ross, Keith Ford and Joe Mixon will split playing time at running back. Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal will be carrying the load at wide receiver. Oklahoma’s offense struggled at times with consistency and unless guys are able to step up, that could be the case again this year.
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Defense: The Sooners defense should be just as good as it was last season with the return from just about every key player. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Dominique Alexander, returns which means the Sooners have their top three tacklers from last year back. The Sooners relentless pass rush is going to be just that with Eric Striker and Charles Tapper forming a duo that racked up 12 sacks last season. Cornerback Zack Sanchez has the potential to be a shutdown cornerback in the conference and Dakota Austin has shown promise in limited playing time. Overall, the Sooners have talent and depth along the defense and that’s going to be the difference between them and the rest of the pack.
Special Teams: Michael Hunnicutt returns at kicker after making 24 of 27 attempts, and Jed Barnett returns at punter after averaging nearly 42 yards per boot.
Outlook: In a conference that isn’t loaded with great defensive teams, Oklahoma will have the chance to bully its way through the Big 12. The Sooners should have the best defense in this conference and that’s going to be good enough to win a lot of the games on their schedule. Oklahoma now just needs consistent production from its offense and for Knight to start scratching the surface of his potential. Oklahoma has more than enough to win the Big 12 and is worth a look to win the national championship with the odds we’re getting.