NCAAF: Oklahoma Sooners +2500, Odds to Win the Championship
At half-time of the Rose Bowl Game last season, it looked as though the Oklahoma Sooners and their high-powered offense were heading off to the National Championship Game. It all fell apart in the second half, though, as Georgia rallied to take the game to OT, where they went on to win an absolute classic. It was the last hurrah for Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, a super-talented QB who will be plying his trade in the NFL this season. The Sooners are still going to be an incredibly talented team in 2018, but the question now is whether their window of opportunity has closed with Mayfield now out of the picture. Let’s take a closer look at the 2018 version of the Oklahoma Sooners and their chances to reach the win on the championship.
✌️ weeks until the real thing! pic.twitter.com/npgIFHyFKz
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 18, 2018
The first thing we need to do here is addressing the elephant in the room, which is that Oklahoma need to try and find a way to replace a QB who was undoubted, for better or worse at times, the face of the program. A pair of big-name starters from the O-line is gone, too, meaning some serious holes need to be filled and quickly. Kyler Murray transferred in from Texas A&M and was assumed to be the obvious starter at the QB spot this season, but word is that Austin Kendall has also performed well in spring training, leaving Lincoln Riley with a tough coaching decision ahead of the new season.
Whoever gets the start, they are going to have some very nice targets to toss the football to, with CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown both returning to deliver a deep threat option. The running game looks to be healthy, too, as Rodney Anderson likely to shoulder most of the load this season. He did not earn the starting spot until very late in the year in 2017, yet still managed to rack up over 1,100 yards and 13 TD’s. Anderson is in line to take a big leap forward this season and potentially put himself in Heisman contention.
Here is where the problems could surface for Oklahoma this season. With the offense putting up some massive numbers in 2017, it became a little easier to overlook a defense that was 87th in the nation against the passing game. With the offensive output likely to be less this season, the defense needs to find a couple of playmakers who can make things happen and get opposing offenses off the field in a hurry. The Sooners certainly have enough veteran guys returning, but which of them is going to take the leadership role that this unit so badly needs to succeed.
We are going to know a whole lot more about this team by the time we reach the end of Week 3 in the college football season, as they have a couple of tough ones against UCLA and Iowa State in the opening weeks. If they can come through those challenges unscathed, then you once again need to look at this team as being the one to beat in the Big 12. The Sooners look like a solid pick to be in the Conference Championship Game this season, but those question marks on both sides of the football make it hard to pick them as a playoff team this season.