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2013 Oklahoma Sooners Gambling Odds | Predictions

2013 Football Previews – Big 12 – Sooners

The Sooners have their usual wealth of talent on the roster, but it’s unlikely that the transition from longtime starting QB Landry Jones to bulldozing goal-line threat Blake Bell will occur without some (likely considerable) growing pains.

Big 12 Conference 2013 College Football Previews: Oklahoma Sooners (team Link)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
2012 Record: 10-3
Oklahoma Gambling Odds to win BCS Championship: 40/1
Oklahoma Gambling Odds to win Big 12: 3/1

Make no mistake: OU has some veteran leaders on offense – it returns four starters on the offensive line – but pivot play is such a vital aspect of success in the NCAA these days. What may be even more concerning than the graduation of Jones is the out-of-character crappiness of the OU defense.

The Sooners defense in 2012 was the worst statistically in school history, and it was also the trough of a two-year downward cycle. This regression led to three assistant coaches being fired last season; head coach Bob Stoops hope the new blood and a fresh season slate is enough to turn things around.

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This season, Oklahoma must use offensive prowess to best opponents. Senior RB Damien Williams just narrowly missed out on 1,000 yards rushing last year (946 to go with 11 TDs) and the Sooners also have veterans Brennan Clay and Trey Millard toting the pigskin.

The aforementioned offensive line should be excellent, and OU also has a pair of tantalizing slot receivers in the undersized duo of Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard.

The emergence of more prototypical targets like Trey Metoyer or Jaz Reynolds would be huge for the newly-minted Bell. OU’s starting pivot this season has lots of game experience, but Bell has more rushing TDs (24) than pass attempts (20) over the past two seasons. Especially with Kendal Thompson’s recent injury, Bell must soothe concerns about his passing.

On a defense with plenty to prove this year, the stand-outs are LB Corey Nelson and senior CB Aaron Colvin. Newcomers must emerge at other positions on “D”, otherwise it could be another long season for third-year defensive co-ordinator Mike Stoops (Bob’s brother).

The Sooners consistently field high-caliber recruiting classes, however, so there should be a quick turnaround in a search for impact defensive players. Keep an eye on JUCO transfer DT Quincy Russell and defensive backs Stanvon Taylor and Hatari Byrd to make a leap in the not-too-distant future. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

The kicking game will be just fine, with accurate junior Michael Hunnicutt booting the field goals and thick-legged junior college transfer Jed Barnett handling the punting duties.

A loaded offense could maybe carry OU to the conference title, especially if junior Bell adapts well to his new role as the full-time starter.

The Sooners can thrive using a ball-control offense, because the experienced O-line can blast open holes for the talented runners, while the receivers have the talent (if not the track record) to be ascendant.

This Sooners team is not perfect, but they should have their sights set on the Big 12 title – even with a scary non-conference game at Notre Dame looming on Sept. 28.

Sooners 2013 Schedule

8/31/13 7:00 PM ET ULMON
9/7/13 7:00 PM ET WVIRG
9/14/13 12:00 PM ET TULSA
9/28/13 3:30 PM ET @NOTRE
10/5/13 TBD TCU
10/12/13 TBD @TEXAS
10/19/13 TBD @KANS
10/26/13 TBD TXTCH
11/7/13 7:30 PM ET @BAY
11/16/13 TBD IOWST
11/23/13 TBD @KANST
12/7/13 TBD @OKLST

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