I’m not a betting man but if I were I think I would definitely take the over on Oklahoma’s 9.5 win total for the 2017 season. In fact, I think it’s automatic. Sure, I’m a bit of a homer but there may not be a safer prediction in college football this season, outside of Alabama winning the national title.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Even with a new crop of receivers, a new head coach, and a set of backs coming out of the stable, many of the experts saying to pick the over on 9.5 games for the Sooners’ win totals this year.
Think about it this way for just a second. Oklahoma’s two most difficult games this fall are undoubtedly going to be Ohio State and Bedlam. Sure you could throw a hat-tip to Texas, in Dallas, trips to Baylor and Kansas State as possible stumbling blocks but the reality is that if the Sooners are going to drop games it’s happening in Columbus or Stillwater.
The Buckeyes may be young on the offensive side of the ball this season, but they have a defense chalked full of upperclassmen that will give Oklahoma’s reloaded offense its strongest test in just the second week of the season.
The Sooners will have plenty of time to find their offensive stride before heading to Stillwater for Bedlam on November 4th. It won’t be Oklahoma State’s defense that presents the challenge in Boone Pickens Stadium but the Pokes will challenge Oklahoma’s defense like no other team on the schedule. OSU features one of the top NFL quarterback prospects in the country and one of the nation’s top receiving corps as well. Two teams, two road games, two extreme challenges on different sides of the ball.
Don’t get me wrong here and try to revoke my fan pass. I’m not chalking up either of these games as a definite loss, I’m just pointing out the potential pitfalls that are along the way to Oklahoma’s bid for a third consecutive Big 12 title and another potential playoff berth. Those are absolutely two winnable games for the Sooners but they could also very easily result in a loss as well.
Here’s the thing though, I don’t see a third loss on the schedule. OU gets UTEP, Tulane, Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU, and West Virginia at home this season and, barring a rash of injuries, there’s just not a valid argument for a loss there. That means if the Sooners are going to stumble then it’ll be on the road. Where though? Possibly Columbus, and Stillwater, and…
Now you see why the over would be a safe bet! An 11-2 season seems (including conference championship game) to be the most realistic “worst case scenario” for Oklahoma in 2017. That certainly would be adequate enough to achieve the three-peat as conference champs, but would it get them into the playoffs?