I am a big fan of Phil Steele. He is one of the few national analysts that invests time and effort in his analysis. Whether I agree with him or not, I know his predictions have been researched and heavily considered. With this in mind, he has devised a number of interesting and proven theories.
And he has the Sooners at No. 1. The thing is he does this despite a number of intangibles that seem to be working against them.
First of all, there is the theory that turnovers equal turnaround. Briefly, the theory is that teams that have an excessive turnover margin of either plus or minus-12 will have the same or worse record the following year. Last season, OU had a turnover margin of positive-12.
Then there is the theory that teams that are egregiously healthy or egregiously injured turn around the following season. Basically, teams that lose over 32 starts in year A, have the same or better record in year B. Conversely, teams that lose less than six starts in year A, have the same or worse record in year B.
Oklahoma lost four starts in all of 2010.
Finally, there is the net close win theory. Unfortunately, I can't find a link that explains it in detail, but basically, a team that wins the close games in any given year, tends to go in the opposite direction the following season.
In 2010, the Sooners went 3-0 in games decided by three points or less.
I will also note that Steele picks the Sooners as his No. 1 team, despite so many intangibles working against them.