Oklahoma Sooners Football: 5 Bold Postseason Predictions
With the college football regular season approaching its dramatic final weeks, the Oklahoma Sooners are on the outside looking in with respect to the national championship race.
However, with two games and a highly-anticipated Bedlam contest with No. 2 Oklahoma State still on the table, the Sooners have an opportunity to finish the 2011 season on a high note.
So, although it's early, why not consider how OU's postseason will play out?
No. 5: OU Will Play in the Fiesta Bowl
Getty Images/Getty Images
With a tough BCS landscape and a loss to Texas Tech, OU's hopes of going to New Orleans are virtually nonexistent.
So, that leaves the Fiesta Bowl, OU's favorite shop of horrors. The Sooners have played well since their loss to the Red Raiders, and are in good position to beat Baylor and Iowa State and shock the Cowboys in Bedlam.
If OU wins out, the Sooners will earn a berth in the Fiesta Bowl (assuming they don't make the title game). Possible opponents include Stanford, Boise State, Oregon and Houston, among others.
No. 4: Landry Jones Will Enter the NFL Draft
Brett Deering/Getty Images
Landry Jones has come a long way in less than three seasons in Norman. He was thrown into the fire by having to attempt to fill the shoes of Sam Bradford and has done very well with his opportunity overall.
Although Jones will not win a national championship this season, he will have led the Sooners to their second straight Big 12 title, and will realize he's done just about all he can at Oklahoma to enter the NFL Draft.
Jones' departure will set up an interesting duel between Drew Allen and Blake Bell for the chance to be OU's next star quarterback.
No. 3: Mike Stoops Will Rejoin the Coaching Staff
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The OU defenses during Mike Stoops' tenure were truly a different animal. Although he was recently fired from Arizona after failing to win consistently, it is doubtful a defensive mind as valuable as his will stay off the sidelines for very long.
Bob Stoops had said that he would love to hire his brother back, given the opportunity.
Considering OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables' rising stock in recent years, it wouldn't be surprising to see Venables take a head coaching job elsewhere and Mike Stoops take his place at OU.
Even if Venables stays, it isn't hard to imagine Mike Stoops having a position on OU's coaching staff next year.
No. 2: Bob Stoops Will Receive Unwarranted Criticism
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
After entering the season No. 1 in the polls, and with many analysts and fans thinking this was the Sooners' year, it will be disappointing to see OU come up short once again.
But this disappointment is a reflection of the insanely high standards for OU year in and year out. They are expected to win the national championship every season.
Despite emerging from this season as Big 12 and possibly Fiesta Bowl champions, Bob Stoops will again be the target of ridiculous criticism for failing to attain the crystal ball this season.
But attacking Stoops is wrong. He is winning conference championships on a consistent basis at Oklahoma and putting his team in a position to compete for the national championship on a perennial basis.
As long as he continues to do so, he will be the best man for the job at OU.
No. 1: OU Will Enter the 2012 Season in a Favorable Position
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
A solid finish to the 2011 campaign and a good amount of returning talent will set up OU nicely in the preseason polls for next season.
The Sooners' will be a contender next season for sure, but will likely be considered an under-the-radar team. This will be beneficial: OU will embrace the underdog role and be motivated to prove their worth and be assertive.
In other words, they will play to win every game as opposed to playing not to lose.
Although the stars will be gone (Jones, Ryan Broyles and Travis Lewis), Oklahoma will set itself up for an intriguing 2012, and will have a legitimate chance at being a national title contender once again.