Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 – Team #2

#2 – Oklahoma Sooners
Norman, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (82,112)
2013 Record: 11-2 (7-2)

The Sooners ended the 2013 season on as big of a high note as any team in America after defeating Alabama 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma has taken that momentum into the offseason on the recruiting trail and in their training and are looking to be a serious contender in the new College Football Playoff. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight returns after finished the 2013 season as the starter over Blake Bell who has now moved over to tight end. Knight didn’t even have 200 pass attempts last season but made them count as he threw for 12 touchdowns and even managed to rush for two and it seems like Oklahoma has found their next quarterback. I’m not going to call him the ‘next great quarterback’ yet because inconsistency to haunt Knight last season when he took the field but I believe he turned the corner in that Sugar Bowl game. The only returning runningback with any experience for the Sooners will be Keith Ford who only had 23 carries last season and incoming freshman Joe Mixon has been suspended for the entire 2014 season after being charged with assault over the summer. Oklahoma has

Charles Tapper will lead the Sooner defensive line in 2014.
Charles Tapper will lead the Sooner defensive line in 2014.

always been able to reload at the runningback position but this season may be the toughest for the Sooner coaching staff to date. Adding the athleticism of former Sooner quarterback Blake Bell to the tight end group will help the offense immensely as ‘The Belldozer’ as Bell is known around Norman checks in at 6’6″ and 265 pounds. The other top target returning for Oklahoma will be junior wide receiver Sterling Shepard who caught 51 balls for 603 yards and 7 touchdowns and he will need to lead a group with experience but not a lot of production. The strength of the Sooner offense in 2014 will definitely be the offensive line which returns 3 of the 5 starters from a group in 2013 who paved the way for well over 200 rushing yards per game. Led by senior tackles Daryl Williams and Tyrus Thompson the offensive line will be even better in 2014 with junior Ty Darlington at center who started 8 games last season.

The Oklahoma program has hung their hat on defense under head coach

Frank Shannon led Oklahoma with 92 tackles in 2013.
Frank Shannon led Oklahoma with 92 tackles in 2013.

Bob Stoops and the 2014 squad has the opportunity to be the best Sooner defense in the Stoops era. Nine starters return from a team that only allowed 22 points per game in 2013 and has play makers all over the field. Junior defensive end Charles Tapper will lead the defensive line that returns all three starters from a year ago who combined for almost 100 tackles. You heard it here first; this will end up being one of the best defensive lines in the country. The defensive line will be extremely good but the linebacker group will be the strength of the Sooner defense in 2014 with Frank Shannon (92 tackles), Dominique Alexander (80 tackles) and maniac Eric Striker (50 tackles) all returning. And even behind those three starters, the Sooners have unrivaled depth at the linebacker position. The weakest of the three defensive position groups will be the secondary who returns three starters from a year ago including cornerback Zack Sanchez who had 2 interceptions last season when some silly quarterback was dumb enough to throw to his side. Behind him Oklahoma has one of the best safeties in the country in senior strong safety Quentin Hayes who was third on the team in tackles in 2013 with 75.

Can Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight ascend to the ranks of college football's elite?
Can Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight ascend to the ranks of college football’s elite?

Oklahoma opens the season with two fairly easy games (Louisiana Tech and Tulsa on the road) before their first real test when an improved Tennessee team travels to Norman. After a bye week, the Sooners travel to TCU and then to Dallas to play the arch-rival Texas Longhorns at the fried food capital of the world known as the Texas State Fair in the Red River Showdown. The next week the Sooners will be in one of those classic trap game scenarios as they play a pesky Kansas State team at home. The second half of the season starts with a three game stretch which includes the big game against Baylor in Norman sandwiched between road games at Iowa State and Texas Tech. Oklahoma will end the season December 6th at home in the Bedlam Series against hated in-state rival Oklahoma State.

The Sooners have everything in place to be one of the best teams in the country in 2014 but their reputation precedes them. The Sooners have opened the season in the top 5 in four of the last five season but always find a way to play their way out of the national championship discussion by losing to a team that they have no business losing to. ‘Big Game Bob’ Stoops will be riding the momentum that was created in that Sugar Bowl game and if the young quarterback pans out, the Sooners will definitely be in the College Football Playoff in the first year.

Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

Stay logged on to for the number one team on the Southern Football Report Preseason Top 25 tomorrow and tune in to the Southern Football Report every Saturday from 10am-Noon starting on August 23rd! Here is a hint for Team #1: This team’s symbol was conceived in the early 60’s but didn’t come to fruition until the late 70’s. 

#1 – ?????????????????????
#2 – Oklahoma Sooners

#3 – UCLA Bruins
#4 – Ohio State Buckeyes
#5 – Alabama Crimson Tide
#6 – Auburn Tigers
#7 – Baylor Bears
#8 – Oregon Ducks
#9 – Georgia Bulldogs
#10 – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#11 – USC Trojans
#12 – LSU Tigers
#13 – Michigan State Spartans
#14 – South Carolina Gamecocks
#15 – Ole Miss Rebels
#16 – Wisconsin Badgers
#17 – Stanford Cardinal
#18 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#19 – Florida Gators
#20 – Texas Longhorns
#21 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#22 – Arizona Wildcats
#23 – Boise State Broncos
#24 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Michigan Wolverines

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