Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.
1. The indefatigable Bob Stoops
This was some significant change. The moves make sense, but the amount of change could backfire; the staff could struggle to gel, the defense could regress and the offense could find it doesn't quite have the right air raid personnel.
OU isn't standing still. The new staff could press just enough new buttons to make OU an immediate Big 12 contender. Stoops' house could fall down around him quickly. If forced to make a prediction, I lean former.
Remember last year, when the marriage between Oklahoma and head coach Stoops had finally gone stale? When the writing was on the wall? When it was time for a fresh start? When the Sooners were miles behind Baylor and TCU, the new dominant forces in the Big 12?
No? Me neither. Let's just all pretend the 2014-15 offseason did not occur. It's best for all parties.
When you stay in the same job for long enough, the narrative will change a few times. But for Stoops and his Sooners, it's an almost annual occurrence. They were back! after going 11-2 in 2013 with a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. They were toast! after a disappointing 8-5 campaign in 2014. Now they're back! after another 11-win season and Playoff appearance.
The fluctuations have been particularly funny, considering how steady the product on the field has been. On paper, OU has been the most predictably good team this side of Tuscaloosa. The Sooners ranked between first and seventh in S&P+ every year from 2006-12, stumbled to 27th in 2013 (and got lucky to win 11 games), rebounded to 13th in 2014 (and got unlucky to lose five), and reasserted themselves as a top-five team last fall. They were on the right side of the bounces again but didn't play in many games close enough to be affected.
Not everything was perfect in Norman last year. The handling of Joe Mixon's arrest, suspension, and reinstatement was, among other things, too guarded -- by quarantining him from media for so long, they created a terribly awkward situation when he was mandated to show up for media day before the Orange Bowl.
On the field, though there were only two losses, both were demoralizing. In between a 20-point win over WVU and a 55-point win over Kansas State, the Sooners laid an egg in Dallas, falling behind Texas 14-0 in the first quarter and succumbing, 24-17. And while they shouldn't have been four-point favorites in the Orange Bowl, they were, which made Clemson's resounding victory seem like more than simply a loss to a better team.
Still, a year after shuffling his staff, Stoops is once again in charge of the most proven entity in the Big 12, a favorite to reach another Playoff and win a Big 12 title. He's won nine conference rings, engineered 10 top-10 finishes, and won at least 10 games in a season 13 times. He has survived advances from usurpers, and he is still the reigning king of the conference. You may knock the king down here and there, but he always gets back up.
|Record: 11-2 | Adj. Record: 11-2 | Final F/+ Rk: 4 | Final S&P+ Rk: 4|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|17-Oct||at Kansas State||81||55-0||W||99%||100%||+52.9||+50.0|
|28-Nov||at Oklahoma State||40||58-23||W||95%||99%||+29.5||+28.0|
|Points Per Game||43.5||4||22.0||28|
2. Little left to chance
Oklahoma benefited from nearly three points per game in good turnovers luck, but that only matters much when you're playing in close games. Only three of OU's 13 contests were decided by one possession, and only five were decided by under 20 points.
OU was one of the more consistently excellent teams in the country. But the Sooners didn't go halfway. When they suffered a glitch, it was an all-caps-and-italics GLITCH.
- Oklahoma in wins:
Avg. percentile performance: 91% (~top 12) | Avg. win expectancy: 91% | Yards per play: OU 7.2, Opp 4.6 (+2.6) | Avg. performance vs. S&P+ projection: +14.5 PPG
- Oklahoma in losses:
Avg. percentile performance: 43% (~top 75) | Avg. win expectancy: 21% | Yards per play: Opp 5.6, OU 4.7 (-0.9) | Avg. performance vs. S&P+ projection: -26.7 PPG
S&P+ had a pretty good read on a lot of teams last year, but both S&P+ and Vegas were consistently underestimating the Sooners, either how good they would look or how bad.
Still, it was mostly good. And that should be the case again in 2016 ... as long as a certain star quarterback stays healthy.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||46.3%||19||Succ. Rt. +||115.5||16|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||28.0||32||Def. FP+||26.9||15|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.9||26||Redzone S&P+||111.3||32|
|Q1 Rk||43||1st Down Rk||10|
|Q2 Rk||5||2nd Down Rk||1|
|Q3 Rk||12||3rd Down Rk||43|
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Baker Mayfield||6'1, 212||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8385||269||395||3700||36||7||68.1%||39||9.0%||8.1|
|Connor McGinnis||6'4, 194||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8111|
|Austin Kendall||6'1, 206||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9212|
3. Wrap Baker in bubble wrap
Mayfield was everything OU fans could have possibly hoped for in 2015. He was far more consistent than Trevor Knight (2014's starter, who transferred to Texas A&M after the season), and his strengths were perfectly aligned with new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
There were times when Riley's pass-first approach took too much focus from a running game that featured Samaje Perine and Mixon, plus the mobile Mayfield. But Mayfield still made it work. On first downs, he completed 77 percent of his passes (passer rating: 202.3) while Perine averaged 6.5 yards per carry and Mixon averaged 7.3. OU ranked fourth in the country on standard downs, and this mix was the primary reason why. Defenses had to mind the run, and Mayfield's quick decision-making and delivery meshed perfectly with a sideline-to-sideline passing attack.
Mayfield loses his go-to weapon, Sterling Shepard. But the run game should still be strong, and the receiving corps still has potential. I'm curious how much Shepard's absence will hurt on passing downs, but OU should still be adept at avoiding those because of the Perine-Mayfield mix.
And yes, this is all dependent on Mayfield staying healthy. Whereas Perine has Mixon backing him up, Mayfield has either true freshman Austin Kendall or redshirt freshman walk-on Connor McGinnis. Knight is gone, and third-stringer Cody Thomas quit football to focus on baseball.
Kendall held his own in spring ball and is well-regarded, but the potential dropoff from showman Mayfield to mistake-prone first-year guy is significant.
|Samaje Perine||RB||5'10, 234||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9033||226||1349||16||6.0||6.3||40.3%||2||2|
|Joe Mixon||RB||6'1, 226||So.||5 stars (6.1)||0.9898||113||753||7||6.7||7.0||45.1%||1||1|
|Baker Mayfield||QB||6'1, 212||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8385||102||608||7||6.0||5.8||44.1%||4||0|
|Daniel Brooks||RB||5'8, 184||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||NR||28||150||0||5.4||5.0||42.9%||0||0|
|Dede Westbrook||WR||6'0, 170||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9025||5||17||0||3.4||8.2||40.0%||2||1|
|Rodney Anderson||RB||6'0, 211||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9296|
|Abdul Adams||RB||6'0, 205||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8912|
4. Whole vs. sum of parts
When Oklahoma's offense struggled, the run game was the likely culprit. Against Tennessee, Texas, and Clemson -- OU's two losses and the closest thing to a third -- Perine and Mixon carried a combined 67 times for 238 yards, just 3.6 per carry.
They averaged 6.9 yards per carry in the other 10 games, but while the full-season numbers were good, this does suggest a smidge of concern. OU ranked only 28th in Rushing S&P+ and 58th in Rushing Success Rate+, not nearly what you would expect to see from a backfield that features such ridiculous talent.
Without Shepard and his otherworldly 63 percent success rate (he was the country's best possession receiver, only he also averaged 15 yards per catch), OU might need the run game to click a little bit better to avoid passing downs. Perhaps in anticipation of this, Stoops made efforts to shore up potential weaknesses up front.
The OU line was solid last year but must replace four players who combined for 33 of the 65 starts up front. Three starters return, but Stoops signed two JUCO transfers (Ashton Julious and Ben Powers); Powers finished the spring as the first-string right guard, and redshirt freshman Cody Ford finished as the top left guard. So in a way, OU's line is young and experienced at the same time. Hard to know what to expect. But it only has to be good for Perine and Mixon to do serious damage.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Dede Westbrook||WR||6'0, 170||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9025||71||46||743||64.8%||17.1%||10.5||53.5%||54.9%||1.79|
|Geno Lewis||WR||6'1, 201||Sr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9341||37||17||196||45.9%||9.4%||5.3||43.2%||35.1%||1.41|
|Joe Mixon||RB||6'1, 226||So.||5 stars (6.1)||0.9898||33||28||356||84.8%||7.9%||10.8||69.7%||57.6%||1.72|
|Jarvis Baxter||WR||5'11, 165||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8274||31||20||218||64.5%||7.5%||7.0||71.0%||58.1%||1.00|
|Mark Andrews||TE||6'5, 244||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9387||28||19||318||67.9%||6.7%||11.4||46.4%||64.3%||1.89|
|Samaje Perine||RB||5'10, 234||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9033||18||15||107||83.3%||4.3%||5.9||55.6%||50.0%||0.97|
|Michiah Quick||WR||5'11, 183||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9703||12||9||103||75.0%||2.9%||8.6||91.7%||41.7%||1.91|
|Jeffery Mead||WR||6'5, 187||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8906||12||6||66||50.0%||2.9%||5.5||41.7%||41.7%||1.27|
|Dimitri Flowers||FB||6'2, 252||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8321||8||8||130||100.0%||1.9%||16.3||75.0%||87.5%||1.88|
|Daniel Brooks||RB||5'8, 184||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||NR||5||2||40||40.0%||1.2%||8.0||60.0%||40.0%||1.88|
|Grant Bothun||WR||5'11, 193||Sr.||NR||NR||4||3||34||75.0%||1.0%||8.5||50.0%||75.0%||0.99|
|A.D. Miller||WR||6'3, 189||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8525||3||2||16||66.7%||0.7%||5.3||33.3%||33.3%||1.40|
|Dahu Green||WR||6'4, 201||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8656||3||0||0||0.0%||0.7%||0.0||66.7%||0.0%||0.00|
|Connor Knight||TE||6'4, 248||Sr.||NR||NR||2||1||17||50.0%||0.5%||8.5||50.0%||50.0%||2.07|
|Dallis Todd||WR||6'3, 190||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9127||2||1||9||50.0%||0.5%||4.5||50.0%||50.0%||0.82|
|Carson Meier||FB||6'5, 245||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8517|
|Mykel Jones||WR||6'0, 180||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9091|
5. Life without your security blanket
If I hadn't watched OU play a lot last year, I would point out that, while Shepard was fantastic, per-target averages for players like Dede Westbrook, Michiah Quick, tight end Mark Andrews, and Mixon suggest that they'll be fine in his absence. Mayfield is enough of a play-maker to make things happen with this group, even if the second- and third-leading wideouts (Geno Lewis and Jarvis Baxter) weren't that effective.
But since I did watch the Sooners a lot, I'm a little concerned. He was capable of carrying a heavy load (at least six catches in eight games) and of burning defenses deep (at least 15 yards per catch in eight games). He was the best of all worlds for this type of passing game, and defenses had to mind him at all times.
That said, Westbrook was particularly strong. If he gets at least a little help, and if nothing comes of a recent trespassing charge, he should be a fine No. 1. But players like Lewis, Baxter, Quick, and sophomore A.D. Miller will need to raise their games. There's enough youth to assume some year-to-year improvement, but let's just say that just because you have a wonderful, scrambler-gambler play-maker at quarterback, you don't want him to be scrambling and gambling on every play.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Nila Kasitati||RG||13||25||2015 1st All-Big 12|
|Ty Darlington||C||12||26||Wuerffel Trophy winner,
2015 2nd All-Big 12
|Orlando Brown||LT||6'8, 357||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8731||13||13|
|Jonathan Alvarez||C||6'3, 315||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7785||10||10|
|Dru Samia||RT||6'4, 274||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8986||9||9|
|Josiah St. John||RT||4||4|
|Erick Wren||C||6'2, 317||Sr.||NR||NR||0||0|
|Jamal Danley||RG||6'3, 323||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8686||0||0|
|Christian Daimler||RT||6'7, 311||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8241||0||0|
|Alex Dalton||C||6'3, 290||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8775||0||0|
|Quinn Mittermeier||OL||6'5, 265||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8689||0||0|
|Bobby Evans||LT||6'4, 299||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9229|
|Cody Ford||LG||6'3, 317||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8674|
|Ashton Julious||LG||6'5, 354||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8706|
|Ben Powers||RG||6'4, 320||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8647|
|Erik Swenson||OL||6'7, 285||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8916|
|Johncarlo Valentin||OL||6'4, 330||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8811|
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||37.5%||24||Succ. Rt. +||118.9||9|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||31.7||32||Off. FP+||32.8||15|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.2||51||Redzone S&P+||108.1||33|
|Q1 Rk||4||1st Down Rk||5|
|Q2 Rk||18||2nd Down Rk||4|
|Q3 Rk||21||3rd Down Rk||15|
6. Opponents knew to run (but most couldn't do it)
When Texas beat Oklahoma, in part by rushing 54 times for 332 yards (not including sacks and kneeldowns), everybody decided they had found the blueprint. And to be sure, in what is basically a 3-3-5 system, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is willfully sacrificing size for speed. But that doesn't mean run defense was an actual weakness.
OU ranked 23rd in Rushing S&P+ -- a weakness compared to the pass defense, but still not something that drags you down too far. Tennessee's Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara rushed 28 times for just 113 yards (4.0); Baylor's Shock Linwood and Devin Chafin rushed 34 times for 152 yards (4.5). It wasn't until the Orange Bowl, when Clemson ran roughshod, that anyone else was really able to take advantage of this supposed weakness, and it took someone as awesome as Clemson's dual-threat Deshaun Watson.
OU was one of the nation's worst in short-yardage situations (which is where the size thing was particularly costly), but otherwise the speed to flow to the ball more than overcame a girth deficit.
This could be the case again, but OU will need some new linebackers. The line still appears stocked with talented guys like tackles Charles Walker and Matt Dimon (combined: 17 tackles for loss), but the Sooners have to replace five of their top six linebackers. Not only that, but those five combined for 37 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, and 11 passes defensed.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Charles Walker||DT||6'2, 299||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8656||12||30.5||4.0%||10.0||6.0||0||1||1||0|
|Matt Dimon||DT||6'2, 265||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8984||13||25.0||3.3%||7.0||2.5||0||0||1||0|
|Jordan Wade||DT||6'3, 311||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9382||13||18.5||2.5%||2.0||1.0||0||1||0||0|
|Matthew Romar||DT||6'0, 298||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8585||12||18.5||2.5%||1.5||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|D.J. Ward||DE||6'2, 250||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9415||13||12.0||1.6%||1.0||1.0||0||0||0||1|
|Marquise Overton||DT||6'1, 292||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9170||8||5.5||0.7%||2.0||2.0||0||0||0||0|
|Austin Roberts||DE||6'6, 279||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8681|
|Neville Gallimore||DT||6'3, 320||RSFr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9615|
|Gabriel Campbell||DE||6'6, 257||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8700|
|Amani Bledsoe||DE||6'5, 265||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9288|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Jordan Evans||ILB||6'2, 233||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8286||11||66.0||8.7%||5.0||1.0||0||4||1||1|
|Tay Evans||ILB||6'2, 239||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8504||10||6.5||0.9%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Ruben Hunter||LB||6'2, 222||Jr.||NR||NR||12||6.5||0.9%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Ogbonnia Okoronkwo||OLB||6'2, 238||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8659||9||6.0||0.8%||1.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Curtis Bolton||ILB||6'0, 232||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8650|
|Ricky Deberry||OLB||6'2, 250||RSFr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9575|
|Arthur McGinnis||ILB||6'1, 248||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8686|
|Kapri Doucet||OLB||6'2, 225||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8474|
|Emmanuel Beal||OLB||6'2, 215||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8083|
|Caleb Kelly||OLB||6'3, 225||Fr.||5 stars (6.1)||0.9836|
|Mark Jackson Jr.||OLB||6'3, 235||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9191|
7. How much does the pass rush suffer?
In linebacker Eric Striker and end Charles Tapper, the Sooners must replace their two most dangerous pass rushers. Young ends D.J. Ward and Marquise Overton did some damage in limited opportunities; they could be ready to shine. But at linebacker, there are far more questions than answers. Junior Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Tay Evans finished the spring on the first string; the two combined for 12.5 tackles and a single sack last year.
I'm more concerned about the pass rush than the run defense here. The line should hold up to run blocking about as well as it did lat year, and goodness knows there are plenty of blitz candidates -- Okoronkwo, blue-chip redshirt freshman Ricky DeBerry, JUCO transfers Kapri Doucet and Emmanuel Beal, etc. And if a blue-chipper like Caleb Kelly is ready to roll from Day 1, there will be a role. But if this defense regresses, it will be because a pass defense that was elite at all levels (pass rush, safety play, corner coverage) regressed a bit too much.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Ahmad Thomas||FS||6'0, 199||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8668||13||62.0||8.2%||1.5||1.5||3||3||0||0|
|Steven Parker||SS||6'1, 208||Jr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9466||13||50.5||6.7%||4||1.5||0||4||0||0|
|Jordan Thomas||CB||6'0, 187||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8706||12||40.0||5.3%||0||0||5||4||0||0|
|Dakota Austin||CB||5'10, 159||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8322||11||24.0||3.2%||1||0||2||3||0||0|
|William Johnson||NB||6'0, 185||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8687||11||12.5||1.7%||3||0||0||1||0||0|
|P.J. Mbanasor||CB||6'1, 189||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9390||10||6.0||0.8%||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Kahlil Haughton||FS||6'1, 195||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8970||12||6.0||0.8%||0.5||0.5||0||0||0||0|
|Will Sunderland||SS||6'2, 197||So.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9290||8||2.5||0.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Stanvon Taylor||CB||5'11, 67||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9366||5||2.0||0.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Prentice McKinney||S||6'1, 181||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8752|
|Jordan Parker||CB||6'1, 170||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9283|
|Chanse Sylvie||NB||5'11, 179||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8813|
8. If the front holds, the back will too
It's strange not feeling too concerned about the pass defense when OU must replace an awesome, longtime play-maker in Zack Sanchez. But both junior Jordan Thomas and senior Dakota Austin both proved themselves to some degree, and at the least, players like sophomore P.J. Mbanasor and Stanvon Taylor have gotten their feet wet.
Plus, safety is loaded. That always helps. Ahmad Thomas and Steven Parker as proven as you need your safeties to be, William Johnson seems well-suited for nickel back (he had three TFLs in limited action), and sophomores like Kahlil Haughton, Will Sunderland, and Prentice McKinney come with quite a pedigree. OU might be even safer at safety than TCU is, and that's saying something.
There are questions to answer on this defense, but if Stoops can dial up a pass rush, it appears everything should operate similar to last year.
|Austin Seibert||5'10, 214||So.||57||42.0||2||30||20||87.7%|
|Austin Seibert||5'10, 214||So.||70-72||13-17||76.5%||5-6||83.3%|
|Special Teams S&P+||20|
|Field Goal Efficiency||50|
|Punt Return Success Rate||95|
|Kick Return Success Rate||75|
|Punt Success Rate||1|
|Kickoff Success Rate||32|
9. Seibert will be a huge weapon for years
Austin Seibert was about as well-touted as a kicker/punter can be in high school, and he lived up to as much hype as you can as a freshman. His place-kicking was a little bit scattershot (he missed four field goals under 40 yards), but he bombed in five longer field goals, and his punts were unreturnable. OU had the most efficient punting game in the country, and when you're winning both the efficiency battles and the special teams battle, you're tilting the field drastically in your favor. And the Sooners have three more years of Seibert.
Because of Seibert alone, OU's special teams unit should be a net positive. But losing Alex Ross and Shepard in the return game hurts. New return options are wanted.
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|22-Oct||at Texas Tech||43||11.9||75%|
|3-Nov||at Iowa State||71||17.2||84%|
|19-Nov||at West Virginia||33||9.3||70%|
|Projected wins: 9.6|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||41.1% (6)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||16 / 16|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||9 / 1.6|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||+2.8|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||69% (72%, 66%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||10.4 (0.6)|
10. No seriously, keep Baker healthy
It feels dicey previewing a team that has depth issues at the most important position.
If Mayfield is healthy, OU is going to be awesome. The Sooners have maybe the best quarterback and two of the best running backs in the conference, and in the areas where new play-makers are needed -- pass rushing, pass catching -- there are quite a few options.
With Mayfield, OU is the safest bet to win the Big 12, even with a trip to Fort Worth on the docket (and sandwiched between Ohio State and Texas, no less).
Without Mayfield, though? With an only solid receiving corps and a freshman quarterback, plus a line that might only be decent? A team without Mayfield cedes control of the Big 12 to TCU, I think.
We'll see, huh? OU could be positioned to make another nice run to the postseason. And since we preview teams based on what they have (and not what they might not have), that makes OU a really damn good, top-10-caliber team and potential title contender.
As you see above, the Sooners are given at least a 69 percent chance of winning in each game they play (here's your reminder that S&P+ is not a fan of either TCU or Houston -- I'm personally viewing TCU as a tossup), and very few teams will have odds that consistently good.