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Fast 40 countdown: Oklahoma Sooners

August 31, 2011  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Oklahoma Sooners

Last season: 12-2, 6th in the MRI

The good: Sixteen starters return from last season's team, which finished higher in the computer rankings than last year's champion, Auburn. In other words, this team was good last season, despite two losses and should be even better in 2011.

Landry Jones will garner the majority of the attention this year, and should be in the running for a Heisman invite in December. He has all of his top targets from last year back, including Ryan Broyles who caught an outstanding 131 tosses last year.

The line should again be among the nation's best and no matter who is the lead back, they will game a lot of yards. Replacing DeMarco Murray is not an easy task, but that is what has been said about every running back who has left Oklahoma's program in the Bob Stoops era, and every time, someone steps up.

The defense is even better despite losing three of the top four tacklers from last season, including Jeremy Beal who totaled
19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Every one of the losses is filled with a major contributor from last year. Every one of the losses can be overcome, including the untimely loss of Austin Box.

The Sooners will challenge Alabama for the most talented team on the field this year, and should be headed toward a title run...

The bad: Except Oklahoma has the same problem as Virginia Tech. Every time that the Sooners look to be unstoppable, someone finds a way to stop them. Even in years when they looked like the favorites to win in the National Title game, they have been stopped.

It is as if Bob Stoops hasn't quite found the right formula to win them all since the title run in his second season.

This year, the main candidates to pull the upset are Florida State (somewhat unlikely) and Oklahoma State (somewhat more likely, but doubtful) who both get Oklahoma on the road. Tulsa has the offense to put up numbers on the Sooners, but they don't have the defensive chops to hold down this Oklahoma team.

Which means, someone will have to step up and be that team that gives Stoops a reason to throw his visor on the ground.

Oklahoma doesn't have the same "doomed to lose" feeling that Alabama, or the Hokies do, but it is still there. Just a more unlikely.

Best name: Chuka Ndulue

Trending: Up - Oklahoma has nowhere to go but up. This team could rival 2003's team that so far outpaced the rest of the pack in the MRI that two losses at the end of the season still had them comfortably in first place. It helps that Oklahoma will not have an FCS opponent on the schedule and therefore will remain high in the strength of schedule debate (despite Ball State's presence). As with some of the other projected top teams, the only thing that should stop Oklahoma from winning it all is itself. The Sooners will be at the top of the MRI top 25 all season and should place high on the list of all-time scores should they go undefeated.

   

Posted August 31, 2011 2:28 PM

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