Southern Football Report Preseason Poll: #24 Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma Logo 2For the first time since the 2009 season the Oklahoma Sooners didn’t reach the double digit win plateau and it’s safe to say that the Sooner fans were upset over it. A lot of programs would be more than happy to achieve eight wins in a season but not in Norman where being in the national championship discussion year-in and year-out is expected but in 2014, the Sooners were barely even in the Big 12 championship discussion. Head Coach Bob Stoops made a change at the offensive coordinator and brought in Lincoln Riley who was previously of at East Carolina where he ran the ‘Air Raid’ offense.

Riley will inherit two quarterbacks with significant playing experience in the Big 12 with

Sophomore Oklahoma runningback Samaje Perine
Sophomore Oklahoma runningback Samaje Perine

Trevor Knight, who had an underwhelming 2014 season in Norman, and Baker Mayfield who earned the starting position as a walk-on at Texas Tech in 2013. There are also two young quarterbacks in the mix but this should be a two horse race heading into fall camp. Offensively, it doesn’t end with the quarterback and never has at Oklahoma where the Sooners have another runningback with the potential to

be great in Samje Perine who finished the 2014 season with over 1700 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. Oklahoma will most likely throw the ball a lot more than they have in the past in 2015 but it would be a dumb move to keep the ball out of Perine’s hands too much; just ask Kansas who allowed him to rush for 427 yards, breaking the NCAA single game rushing record set a week earlier by Melvin Gordon III.

Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops

Oklahoma’s defense was very uncharacteristic in 2014 as it felt at times that teams like Baylor, TCU & even Oklahoma State had better athletes on the field. They return six starters from last year’s squad including their top four tacklers led by junior inside linebacker Dominique Alexander who had 107 tackles in 2014. I expect the Sooners to boast one of the top linebacker groups in the country in 2015 but they will need to get better on the line if they expect to compete with all of the pass happy teams in the Big 12. Oklahoma’s sack numbers have been on a decline over the last five seasons and that will change if they want to climb back to the top of the conference and into the College Football Playoff conversation.

The Sooners open the season at home against the Akron Zips before making the trip to Knoxville for their week 2 showdown with Tennessee. The rest of the month is a snooze fest as Oklahoma will play Tulsa in Norman the following week before their early bye week on the 26th. The Sooners have five games in October which aren’t easy with two home games (West Virginia & Texas Tech), two road games (Kansas State & Kansas) and one neutral site game in Dallas, obviously, against the hated Texas Longhorns. Oklahoma went 4-1 against those five teams in 2014. The month of November will be where we really find out what Oklahoma is made of as it begins with Iowa State in Norman followed by a road game down in Waco against the Baylor Bears who hung 48 points on Oklahoma last November. Next up are the TCU Horned Frogs who were able to hang on in the 4th quarter and defeat the Sooners last season. Then Oklahoma gets to close out the 2015 regular season in Stillwater against the in-state rival Cowboys of Oklahoma State who defeated the Sooners by scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime in last year’s thrilling version of the Bedlam Series.

2014 was a big letdown in Sooner country and Head Coach Bob Stoops knows that he can’t have two seasons like that in a row and expect to not be on the hot seat. As always, Oklahoma is loaded with talent but whether that talent is being used as efficiently as possible has yet to be seen. There were a lot of 300+ passing performances by opposing quarterbacks and that number has to come down if the Sooners expect their win total to go up.

Oklahoma Memorial Stadium - Capacity: 82,112
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Capacity: 82,112

2015 Oklahoma Sooners Schedule

Sept 5th          v. Arkron
Sept 12th        at Tennessee
Sept 19th        v. Tulsa
Sept 26th        BYE WEEK
Oct 3rd           v. West Virginia
Oct 10th         v. Texas (In Dallas)
Oct 17th          at Kansas State
Oct 24th         v. Texas Tech
Oct 31st          at Kansas
Nov 7th          v. Iowa State
Nov 14th        at Baylor
Nov 21st        v. TCU
Nov 28th       at Oklahoma State

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