2011 is nearly upon us! As great as 2010 was, the mindset is always that the upcoming year needs to be better than the previous year. In order to get there, we implement these little things called New Year's resolutions.
By definition, a New Year's resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.
These New Year's resolutions range from anything to losing weight to making better grades, reading more books or spending more time with family.
Unfortunately, the achievement of these resolutions is really low. Only 12 percent of people who set goals actually achieved them according to recent research. Goal setting has been the most successful way to increase the success rate of these resolutions.
While these resolutions are great for individuals, they're not out of the realm of possibility for groups or teams. That being said, here are 10 New Year's resolutions for the Oklahoma Sooners.
Nothing would start the year better for Oklahoma than getting a very large monkey off of its back. OU has lost five-straight BCS bowls, a statistic that every single Sooner coach, player and fan know very well. New Year's Day offers an opportunity to break that when the Sooners take on the UConn Huskies in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
While OU is predicted to roll in this game, history says that the Sooners have to come out focused and ready to play in order to get the win. 2011 could start with a bang if OU comes away with a big win in this one.
Oklahoma is hardly going to be hurting for stars at key positions next year, but having Broyles and Lewis back to anchor the receivers and linebackers respectively would almost certainly vault the Sooners to the top of almost every national title contender list in 2011.
Both are the best potential returning players on their respective sides of the ball, but Lewis is more vital because of his leadership and the fact that the Sooners' defense is losing two veteran leaders in safety Quinton Carter and defensive end Jeremy Beal. Oklahoma is good without these two, but with them, they're scary good.
As of now, according to Rivals.com, the Oklahoma recruiting class ranks fourth in the country behind Texas, Alabama and Florida State. If everything holds up as it stand right now, the Sooners would be loading up on the offensive side of the ball with two five-star recruits in running back Brandon Williams (pictured above) and wide receiver Trey Metoyer.
The Sooners are also adding several defensive linemen, an area that needs some attention in terms of depth. Oklahoma is a prestigious program, so accomplishing this resolution won't be terribly difficult.
John Blake was a loyal assistant for the Sooner defense from 1989-1992, a prime reason why he was given the head coaching reigns in 1996. In the three years with Blake at the helm, the Sooners went 12-22 before firing him and replacing him with Bob Stoops.
Since then, Blake has become quite the popular figure across the country for his involvement in the agent allegations at the University of North Carolina. Blake resigned his position of defensive line coach on September 5, and it goes without saying that OU should avoid hiring him once again. Success rate on this resolution is also fairly high.
2010 was a year in which scandal reigned supreme in college football. Things got off to a great start with a South Beach party that ended in the suspensions of UNC defensive tackle, Marvin Austin and Alabama defensive tackle, Marcel Dareus. Soon after, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended for selling his jersey. And just in the past week, Ohio State players were suspended for selling Ohio State memorabilia in exchange for tattoos and other discounted services.
In order for Oklahoma to avoid being caught up in this mess, Bob Stoops shouldn't allow his players to go to parties, get any new tattoos or host any yard sales during the off season. Or ever for that matter.
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson was hired as the new head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers earlier this month. To fill the vacancy, Bob Stoops promoted wide receivers coach, Jay Norvell, and quarterbacks coach, Josh Heupel, to co-offensive coordinators, with the play calling duties falling on the shoulders of Heupel. Although the people may have shifted, OU needs to keep the same scheme in place and not make any drastic changes to the offense.
It works fine as it is and with all of the offensive talent that the Sooners have coming in for 2011, both returning and new players, there is the potential for the Sooner offense to be 2008 good once again. A dramatic shift in the offense is not what the Sooners need.
The Sooners will be entering 2011 with a 36-game home winning streak. That's something Oklahoma would very much like to continue for as long as possible. With games against Ball State, Tulsa, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Iowa State and Missouri, stretching the streak to 42 games is well within the realm of possibility. While Miami's record of 58 consecutive home wins is still a long ways off, that's not out of reach either. But one game at a time.
Oklahoma has gained a reputation for playing very poorly on the road in big games and they didn't disappoint in 2010. Both of the Sooners' losses came away from the friendly confines of Owen Field in rabid environments at Missouri and Texas A&M. By winning both of those games, the Sooners could have kept themselves in contention for a shot at a national title.
While Oklahoma has indeed struggled, they closed 2010 strong, winning three games away from Norman, two of them true road games. One, a blowout of Baylor in Waco, and the other, a huge win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater that clinched a Big 12 Championship game berth. Overall, the Sooners won five games away from Norman and could get a sixth in the Fiesta Bowl. However, improving that total to zero losses is certainly something the Sooners would like to do in 2011.
All the talk about the new, ten-member Big 12 Conference has had to do with it being Texas and nine other followers. It's easy to forget that on the field, it's anything but. In football, Oklahoma won seven of the 15 Big 12 Championships, while Texas was only able to win three. Doesn't seem at all that Texas was EVER the dominant force in the Big 12. Oklahoma can set the pace for how the new conference is going to go by winning the first Big 12 championship without a title game. Maybe that will quiet all the people who say that it's "Texas' conference."
Oklahoma hasn't won a national title since 2000, which given the expectations of Sooner fans, is a very long time. Like every year, 2011 is a golden opportunity for the Sooners to break that streak and bring an eighth national title to Norman. At the very worst, Oklahoma could return 15 starters and that's with Ryan Broyles and Travis Lewis leaving early for the NFL. Everyone else is projected to return and with a top five recruiting class, more playing time for what Stoops has called his best freshman class ever, another year of maturation for Landry Jones, and a less difficult schedule than normal, the pieces are in place for the Sooners to be spending some time in New Orleans next January.