The Oklahoma-BYU matchup is going to be an excellent game for both the teams and the fans. It is getting rare in college football to see a opening game involving two perennial powers slugging it out.
Most teams with title aspirations would rather eat a cupcake opening week than take the chance of tanking the whole season in the first game. For this, I applaud both teams for agreeing to this matchup.
That said, here is what Oklahoma needs to do to ensure a epic victory
1. The Offensive Line needs to find its mojo
The Sooner offensive line is breaking in four new starters. None of them are lacking talent, but all of them are lacking in experience, BYU's defensive line was not all world last season but they are not scrubs either.
The O-Line was called out for their work ethic earlier in the season, so it will be interesting to watch if they show improvement during preseason practices.
2. Wide Receiver Waltz
Sam Bradford lost a good chunk of his veteran receivers to the NFL this offseason, including third-round draft pick Joaquin Iglesias. It will be crucial for Addron Tennel to live up to his recruiting hype when he initially signed for OU as several injuries have pushed him back on the depth chart the last few years. This is his final chance to prove his worth.
Ryan Broyles is a proven commodity who brought a elusive spin move-based look to the offense. In fact, he was so elusive that many fans were left to wonder how he was caught by the cops for stealing gas his freshman year, and also pondered why said cop was not offered a scholarship to play DB.
3. The Pain Train
The Oklahoma Defense has to live up to its preseason hype, the line needs to get pressure every down, and the secondary needs to shut Max Hall and his receivers down hard. None of that give up yards stuff. If the Oklahoma defense gives up one first down to this prolific offense, then why bother playing Texas in October?
But in all seriousness, this improved defensive unit will give the BYU offense a heck of a fight, but Max Hall is a seasoned QB and to expect a shutout is to expect disappointment. BYU will score points The only question is, how many?
4. Special Teams Tactics
Last but not least is special teams. This was a glaring weakness last season in which many pivotal games (Texas, Florida) were lost in part due to poor special teams play. OU needs to find a dependable kicker and the right mix of play makers on coverage units to ensure that the big play is not given up.
If Oklahoma can do all these things and play a solid, error-free game, then they can pull out a win in Dallas. If they cannot, then all hopes for championship redemption will be effectively gone.
My guess is a 35-21 win for Oklahoma, but this one may depend on which way the ball bounces.