Oklahoma Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

2013 Oklahoma Football Predictions

Bob Stoops has been the head coach at Oklahoma for fourteen seasons, with a record of 149-37, numbers that don’t require a mathematician to determine he’s done pretty well for himself. As he embarks on his fifteenth year in Norman, he faces a situation that he’s rarely encountered; no clear-cut QB with big-game experience (at least in the passing game). Landry Jones, who presided over a school-record 39 wins during his career, is now in the NFL, and to compound the uncertainty, both top receivers are also gone.

Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight are the leading candidates to direct the Sooners attack, but only Bell has seen any appreciable playing time, and that’s primarily been in the situational “Belldozer” package, designed to utilize his short-run prowess. The scheme has usually been used either in blowouts or in certain goal-line situations. Bell has been very effective, scoring 24 TDs on 104 carries, but he’s crossed the goal line more than he’s attempted a pass (20 attempts). His leadership and ability to run has never been questioned, but he’s dreadfully undeveloped as a passer. The other candidates are better suited for Oklahoma’s multiple attack packages, so this fall’s competition should be interesting.

The rest of the offense is more settled, with RB Damien Williams heading up the always-potent ground game. Behind him are the usual group of redshirts and highly-regarded newcomers. WR Jalen Saunders, sure-handed and dangerous after the catch, is a probable future pro, while versatile Trey Millard contributes at several positions, including TE and as a blocking FB. All-Big 12 center Gabe Ikard anchors the O-line, which returns four starters.

With just four starters returning on defense, Stoops and staff have a challenge to find athletes who can deal with the wide-open offenses typical of the Big 12. The secondary is the most solid unit, with all-conference CB Aaron Colvin an All-American candidate as well as being the inspirational leader. The other returnees are consistent, if lacking the desired experience Big 12 coaches look for. JUCO transfers and redshirts are expected to make big contributions. Up front, DT Chuka Ndulue is big, mean and has a nasty streak that serves him well in the trenches.

At linebacker, Corey Nelson calls the defensive signals and is an above-average run stuffer. The rest of the unit needs experience, but the roster is full of elite athletes and Stoops will place them in the best position to benefit the team. Michael Hunnicutt connected on 17 of 21 field goals last season, and has a strong leg. JUCO transfer Jed Barnett has the inside track as punter. The kickoff and punt return teams should also be a strength, with several returnees and speedy newcomers vying for playing time.

Facing a brutal non-conference schedule (Notre Dame, Tulsa, West Virginia) will test the Sooners early on, and within the Big 12, Oklahoma isn’t favored for a change, which will either serve as motivation or find the Sooners with 8-9 wins and making an uncharacteristic middle-tier bowl appearance.

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