While we were able to make a decent argument for Oklahoma going over on their 10.5 win total for 2018, we realize that there’s also another side of the argument…and it’s actually a pretty good argument as well.
The Sooners have dominated the Big 12 for well over a decade now, and are the three-peat reigning Big 12 champions. That history alone is good for a boost in predicting the season win total, not to mention a fan’s confidence, but there are certainly some things that raise a cause for concern because they point out that OU could be on the south side of the 10.5 total rather than the north.
Big 12 Road Schedule
With seven home games this season, Oklahoma’s schedule sets up well for them. When you consider the Sooners will play Texas in the Cotton Bowl, as a neutral site game, there’s only four true road games for them in 2018. The bad news is that none of them will be easy and two of them could be down right brutal.
Oklahoma will take to the road to play Iowa State, TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia this fall. The Cyclones are looking to build on last year’s momentum and Gary Patterson will be looking for revenge from losing twice to Lincoln Riley in 2017. Lubbock is basically going into the Twilight Zone and West Virginia will most likely be the strongest contender to knock the Sooners off the throne in 2018.
The saying, “Defense wins championships” hasn’t really applied to the Big 12. Oklahoma’s defense has struggled significantly recently yet the Sooners still managed to win the conference because of their offense. Now they’re down two key pieces of that offense with Baker Mayfield and Orlando Bown off to make their mark in the NFL. Lincoln Riley is still the offensive mastermind but he’s going to need some help from his defense in 2018.
The Sooners were 67th nationally in total defense last season.
The upside on this kid is spectacular. However, there are a lot of intangibles with him that have yet to be seen. Physically he is gifted enough to have been a 5-star recruit, but is he going to be as poised as Baker was and offer the same type of leadership the former Heisman winner brought to the team? How accurate of a passer is he and how steep will his learning curve be? None of those questions have answers yet.