Oklahoma Football 2012: One Good Reason Why the Sooners Can Beat Every Opponent

Alex JosephAnalyst IMarch 6, 2012

Oklahoma Football 2012: One Good Reason Why the Sooners Can Beat Every Opponent

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    With spring football underway, it's officially time to make way too early projections as to why the Sooners can win every game this season.

    Does that mean that the Sooners will win every game? No. This is just an explanation for what it's going to take to win each game of the season.

    This should be an interesting season for the Sooners, who welcome newcomers West Virginia and TCU into the conference and host Notre Dame in a non-conference game.

    The Sooners will be looking to improve on last year's letdowns, and the best way to do that is with a Week 1 statement game. Fortunately for the Sooners, that might be a simple task.

Week 1: At UTEP Miners

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    One Good Reason:

    UTEP is outmatched.

     

    Analysis:

    You can't just look at UTEP's 5-7 record last season and assume that they weren't a good team. Sure, the Miners played in a weak Conference USA, but they held their own against better teams (Houston, SMU, Rice).

    Oklahoma is a whole other animal, and after losing arguably their two best (or at least most dynamic) offensive players in running backs Joe Banyard and Vernon Frazier, I find it hard to believe that UTEP will be able to score enough points to keep up with the Sooners.

    Granted, this is a road game, and no team wants to play on the road the first week of the season. Teams will still be testing out different offensive and defensive packages to see what works the best. I don't doubt the Sooners will be rusty coming out of the gate, but if they have to play on the road, it may as well be at UTEP.

Week 2: Vs. Florida A&M Rattlers

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    One Good Reason:

    Non-conference cupcake.

     

    Analysis:

    Florida A&M finished with an impressive 7-4 record last season. However, they play in the MEAC where their toughest competition is Norfolk State (who won the conference).

    There's really not much else to say about this game. This should be a blowout. I suppose it was smart to schedule a non-conference cupcake, because, in the end, all that matters is your wins and losses.

    Also, the Sooners are fortunate to play the Rattlers in Week 2. After what should be a non-taxing victory, the Sooners will have two weeks to prepare for their next opponent, which plays into the reason they'll win that game too.

Week 4: Vs. Kansas State Wildcats

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    One Good Reason:

    Time to prepare.

     

    Analysis:

    Led by senior quarterback Collin Klein, the Kansas State Wildcats are fresh off a 10-3 record and are ready to compete for a Big 12 championship.

    Like last season, the Sooners have a bye before a big game. Last season it was a Week 2 bye that gave them enough time to prepare for Florida State. This season, their Week 3 bye gives them enough time to prepare for the Wildcats' high-powered ground attack.

    The Wildcats could already have a loss on their hands by the time this game rolls around, as they host the Miami Hurricanes in Week 2. If that's the case, the Wildcats could already be slightly demoralized, and playing on the road in a place like Memorial Stadium could be harder than it already is.

    While the Wildcats will certainly feature an offense that will frustrate many defenses, the Sooners actually played their best defensive game last season against Klein and the Wildcats.

    Another 58-17 victory may be out of the question, but the Sooners should come out on top.

Week 6: At Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    One Good Reason:

    Revenge

     

    Analysis:

    Even though I believe Kansas State will be a better team than Texas Tech, this should be a tougher matchup for the Sooners. Last season, the Sooners struggled mightily against the spread offense that the Red Raiders thrive on.

    Granted, cornerback Jamell Fleming didn't play, but I honestly don't think he would have made that big of an impact. The Red Raiders had the Sooners number last year, and because of that, the Sooners will be seeking revenge.

    After facing a dominant run-game in Week 4 against Kansas State, the Sooners will have another bye week to prepare for the Red Raiders passing attack. Hopefully, this will be enough time for the secondary to realize what they have to do to make up for last season's performance.

    The Red Raiders return their most dynamic offensive duo in senior quarterback Seth Doege and junior wide receiver Eric Ward.

    On top of everything, this game will be at Texas Tech, which is always a tough place to play. This should be a good one.

Week 7: Vs. Texas Longhorns

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    One Good Reason:

    The Sooners offense will be better than the Longhorns defense.

     

    Analysis:

    After a 55-17 throttling during last season's Red River Rivalry, the Sooners will look to make another statement during this season's matchup.

    The Longhorns return seven starters on defense and will likely be the best defensive unit in the Big 12 next season. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Jordan Jeffcoat will anchor their defensive line, while Quandre Diggs, Carrington Byndom and Kenny Vacarro will lead the secondary.

    However, essentially the same defense gave up 55 points to the Sooners last season. I know, I know, the Longhorns were young and had many offensive problems which led to the defense being on the field more...but 55 points?

    This season, the Sooners return quarterback Landry Jones, running backs Dominique Whaley and Roy Finch, wide receivers Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds, and a handful of other players that received a respectable amount of playing time.

    The loss of wide receiver Ryan Broyles hurts, but five-star recruit Trey Metoyer and junior college transfer Courtney Gardner should help out tremendously.

    The game will be closer this season, but the Sooners will still prevail due to their superior offense.

Week 8: Vs. Kansas Jayhawks

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    One Good Reason:

    Kansas is still at the bottom of the Big 12.

     

    Analysis:

    Kansas finished dead last in the Big 12 last season after going 0-9 in conference play. The only two wins the Jayhawks managed were in their first two weeks against McNeese St. and Northern Illinois.

    The Northern Illinois victory turned out to be impressive as the Huskies finished 11-3 including a bowl victory, but it was early in the season. Kansas was flat outmatched for the rest of the year.

    This includes when the played Oklahoma, who won on the road by a score of 47-17. Kansas does return their quarterback, leading rusher and leading wide receiver, but, once again, the Jayhawks will be finishing at (or near) the bottom of the Big 12.

Week 9: Vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    One Good Reason:

    Home-field advantage.

     

    Analysis:

    I know what's coming. "Home field advantage? Yeah, like that always works out in the Sooners favor? Y'all remember Texas Tech, don't ya?!"

    Yes, I'll concede that the Sooners did have a terrible loss against Texas Tech at home last season. However, what does that make the Sooners' home record in the Bob Stoops era (1999-present)?

    77-3.

    That's a pretty solid record to get behind, right?

    The crowd is going to be itching for a good game. The only home games before this have been against Florida A&M, Kansas State and Kansas, and Kansas State is the only opponent that could potentially pose a threat.

    Notre Dame may be worn out by the time they get to Memorial Stadium, as they go head-to-head against Miami (FL), Stanford, and BYU before they take on the Sooners.

    Look for the Sooners to dominate this game.

Week 10: At Iowa State Cyclones

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    One Good Reason:

    Iowa State will not go overlooked.

     

    Analysis:

    Despite beating the Cyclones by 20 last season in what was one of the most sloppy games played by the Sooners, the Sooners know (or at least should know) that the Cyclones are a good team.

    The Cyclones picked up good wins last season over Iowa, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, and they return key starters this season on both sides of the ball.

    Two of these key starters are linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. The two of them together make up the best one-two punch at linebacker in the Big 12.

    Alas, Iowa State is still going to be outmatched by an improved Sooners squad. As long as the Cyclones don't go overlooked, the Sooners should have this game in the bag.

Week 11: Vs. Baylor Bears

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    One Good Reason:

    Too many key losses.

     

    Analysis:

    Normally I'm not one to project how a team is going to do the next season based on the player's they are losing (see: Oklahoma State, two slides away). However, it's really hard to say that Baylor is going to have another 10-3 season with Robert Griffin III under center.

    RG III was the Baylor Bears. Wide receiver Kendall Wright was nice, but how good would he have been without Griffin? Running back Terrance Ganaway is a big loss for the Bears' offense, too. Ganaway averaged 6.1 yards per carry last season, but how much of that was because Griffin constantly beat defenses with the deep ball?

    The Bears do return wide receiver Terrance Williams (pictured), who caught the game winning touchdown pass against the Sooners in Waco last season. But why was he so wide open? Could it be because Griffin drew all the attention by scrambling out of the pocket?

    Griffin will be missed, and the Sooners should take this game.

Week 12: At West Virginia Mountaineers

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    One Good Reason:

    The beginning of hell. The Sooners will have to gut-out this victory.

     

    Analysis:

    What's "the beginning of hell," you ask? It's the Sooners three-week stretch to end the season. It starts with this game at West Virginia, moves back home against Oklahoma State, and finishes on the road at TCU.

    In my opinion, this will be the Sooners toughest game of the season. West Virginia is going to be a very impressive team, and that all starts with their quarterback Geno Smith.

    Last season, Smith led the Mountaineers to a 10-3 record, including an impressive throttling of Clemson in the Orange Bowl (70-33). Smith threw for 4,385 yards, 31 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season.

    The Mountaineers return all their playmakers on offense, including standout wide receiver Tavon Austin. Head coach Dana Holgorsen has turned West Virginia's offense into something to marvel. Sooner fans are all too familiar with Holgorsen, who was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State before accepting the West Virginia job.

    This is going to be a high-scoring game, and the atmosphere in Morgantown is going to be intense. Oklahoma knows that if they win this game, then they'll have legitimate national championship hopes.

Week 13: Vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    One Good Reason:

    This will be a statement game.

     

    Analysis:

    We're all aware that the Cowboys lost two of the best offensive talents in the country in quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, but don't be so quick to write them off just yet.

    Is backup quarterback Clint Chelf the next Weeden? While it's not likely, what we do know is that he'll have plenty of help next season with running back Justin Randle still in the backfield.

    The Cowboys also return eight starters on what was a surprisingly solid defense. With Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert at cornerback, the Cowboys should have one of the best secondaries in the Big 12, and maybe the country.

    But the Sooners should retaliate with one of the best offenses in the nation and (hopefully) an improved defense. If the Sooners can get by West Virginia the week before, there will be an awful lot on the line.

    This will be a statement game not only for the Sooners' confidence, but also for pollsters. This week could be make or break when it comes to a BCS berth and possibly a national championship bid.

    The Sooners will do all they can to come in prepared to take down their in-state rival. Luckily for the Sooners, they don't have to play at Stillwater for a third year in a row.

Week 14: At TCU Horned Frogs

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    One Good Reason:

    Experience

     

    Analysis:

    This game officially ends the Sooners' three week stretch of hell. If they can get by both West Virginia and Oklahoma State, the Sooners will likely be going into TCU with national championship hopes.

    Like West Virginia, this will be TCU's first year in the Big 12, and although this is the last game of the season, the Sooners experience should be a major factor in determining the outcome of this game.

    While TCU did beat Boise State last season, playing Baylor in their season opener (a 50-48 loss) was their only other "tough" game all year. TCU earned a bowl bid after finishing the season 10-2, but they narrowly escaped defeat by the hands of a lesser Louisiana Tech squad.

    After a great sophomore season, junior quarterback Casey Pachall will be leading the Horned Frogs up against the toughest schedule they've faced in years.

    Even though I think TCU has a good team, they will be lucky to come into this game with less than three losses.

    Like Oklahoma, TCU's schedule gets the most difficult towards the end of the season. If TCU rolls two or three losses off in a row before facing Oklahoma, then there's no way they'll be able to get psyched up enough to take down the Sooners.