College Football 2011: Which Big 12 Team Will Be the Best at Season's End?

Bryan DietzlerSenior Analyst IJuly 16, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on against the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If you look at the college football preview publications that are coming out now you will see that many, if not all, of those publications have Oklahoma as being the best team in the Big 12.  Some even have the Sooners as the No. 1 team in the nation heading into the new season.

But is Oklahoma good enough to be thought of as the No. 1 team in the nation, much less the No. 1 team in the Big 12?  Is it ready to run rampant over the other nine teams in the conference and come out on top?

The Sooners already have one of the best—if not the best—quarterbacks in the Big 12 in Landry Jones.  Jones has a good stable of receivers to throw the ball to, including one of the Big 12’s best in Ryan Broyles.  This tandem is going to be very difficult for any team to stop and is one of the reasons why this team will be so good in 2011.

The Sooners have several players on both the offensive and defensive lines that have experience, and when you have experience on the line things tend to get a little bit easier.  Some of the more seasoned players on the roster at both the defensive and offensive line positions include left tackle Donald Stephenson, center Ben Habern, right guard Tyler Evans, right tackle Jarvis Jones, defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis and defensive tackles Stacy McGee and Casey Walker.

Each of these players is either a junior or a senior and has a lot of experience playing at some of the most important positions on the team.  With that kind of talent it’s hard to imagine that Oklahoma would struggle in the trenches this season.

In addition to having one of the best offensive and defensive lines in college football the Sooners will feature a strong secondary in 2011, lead by free safety Javon Harris and cornerback Demontre Hurst.  They also have senior free safety Sam Proctor there to help them out as well, so their secondary is looking pretty good for 2011.

In fact, they could have one of the better secondaries in all of college football next season.

There is also a lot talent at the running back position despite the fact that their starting backs, Brennan Clay and Brandon Williams, are both young and somewhat inexperienced (Clay is a sophomore, Williams a freshman).  There are several experts out there that feel that both of these players—particularly Williams—could be very good and could end up being the top running backs in the Big 12.

The Sooners have been very good at home in the past few seasons, compiling a 31-0 record since 2006 and a 67-2 record since 2000.  Needless to say, it’s very difficult to beat Oklahoma at home and if it wins out at home this year then it will be poised to have the best record in the Big 12 and possibly the best in college football overall.

The Sooners clearly look like the best team in the nation heading into the new college football season, but will they be able to live up to that billing?  They don’t appear poised for a fall, so expect this team to have a big season and have the best shot at being the No. 1 team in the nation when the dust settles.