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Bob Stoops and his Sooners were coming off a solid Fiesta Bowl victory over Connecticut (48-20), and they were rewarded with the No. 1 ranking in college football’s preseason.
They received so much hype, and many thought their road victory at Doak Campbell Stadium over Florida State would be what put them over the top.
They thumped Texas by 48 and later crushed Kansas State by 41, but mixed in between was a disappointing loss to Texas Tech after a 90-minute delay due to inclement weather.
Landry Jones turned down the NFL, and although he did not throw a TD pass in his final three games without Ryan Broyles, he looked a bit more like himself in their Insight Bowl victory over Iowa.
Kenny Stills and Trey Metoyer must fill in more for the losses of Broyles as well as Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks (scholarships removed, currently not on team).
Nobody is anticipating the return of those two key pieces at receiver, so it may be up the “Belldozer” in Blake Bell and running backs Dominique Whaley and Roy Finch (Brennan Clay and all-everything fullback Trey Milliard too) to carry more of a billing.
The defense was not Oklahoma-caliber, and losing two of their best players (Ronnell Lewis, Frank Alexander) will not help matters heading into the season, but the back seven will be the strength of the defense.
Athletic and fast, these Sooners should be improved, and they will be led by star safety Tony Jefferson, who, as a junior, is one of the elite talents in the Big 12.
If it can once again get by Texas, we might see OU capture the Big 12 title, albeit West Virginia and TCU should be give it all it can handle.