Public enemy number one. On paper, this is looking to be one of the best games of the early part of the college football season. The Sooners are the favorites to win the Big 12. Again. TCU received a handful of first place votes, but in almost every major poll, OU is the favorite. The praise for the Sooners is well deserved after last year's campaign that saw them win the Big 12 after losing to Texas and going on a Max Payne-esque spree of cutting down their opponents (albeit they did play the other top 3 teams without their respective starting quarterbacks, but insert kermit drinking tea meme here).
Offense: The Usual Suspects
You know him, you probably don't like him, but Baker Mayfield makes his return (sort of?) to Fort Worth and will be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder thanks to the well documented beef that he has with Gary Patterson and TCU. The quarterback is probably the favorite to win the Heisman behind Clemson's Deshaun Watson, LSU's MAMMOTH Leonard Fournette, and Stanford's White Stallion: Christian McCaffery.
Last year Mayfield threw for 3,700 yards, with 36 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He also was able to add 405 yards with seven more scores with his legs. As noted by his seven picks, Mayfield rarely turned the ball over last year, which is evident by his QB rating of 173.3 (which was highest in the country among power 5 QB's that played a full season).
Even though the Sooners lost Big 12 darling Sterling Shepard to the draft, don't sleep on the Sooner's passing game. It appears that at this moment, junior Dede Westbrook is going to be the new number one target in Norman. Last season Westbrook caught 46 receptions for 742 yards and four scores. However, along with the usual crop of recruits, good Ol Bob Stoops received a transfer via Penn State. Geno Lewis, who while playing in a underwhelming offense in 2015, was capable of making plays such as this one. The man can go up and get the ball, so don't sleep on him either. However, even though the offense returns Mayfield, it isn't even the most potent part of the Sooner offense....
Because that honor would belong to their run game, which is arguably the best backfield in America. The dynamic dangerous duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon is very very real. Last year Perine rushed for 1349 yards on 226 attempts (188 of said yards came against us last year). Meanwhile Mixon racked up 753 yards on the year on 113 attempts (87 yards against us). Say what you will about the Big 12 being a quarterback's league, this duo absolutely bull-dozed over defenses all last year, and something tells me they won't be taking a step back. If you want to be intimidated here are some highlights
....and here are some more.
Also for what it's worth, I don't see Lincoln Riley being an offensive coordinator for much longer, if you know what I mean (cough cough Texas).
Defense: Locked and Reloaded
Similar to a G-Patt defense, a Bob Stoops defense is almost always reliable. Even though the Sooners lost a lot of big names, they tend to reload quickly. Bob has done a really good job of adding depth to the front seven by saving redshirts for when they are truly ready to blossom. However, they did lose star corner Zack Sanchez, OLB Eric Striker, and edge rusher Charles Tapper.
Losing stars like that, the defense will surely take a step back, however knowing Bob Stoops, it probably won't be that big of a step. You can expect some saltiness and stinginess from the Sooners when they make their trip to Cow Town USA.
Special Teams: Sterling Shepard graduated so we can rest a little easier
That's all you really need to know about their special teams...
But man you know what, I really miss Tyler Lockett returning punts and kick offs against Big 12 teams.
Oh and one more thing: The Match Up
Now I don't really know what is going to happen in this game. Every time that Stoops and Patterson play one another, a good game almost always follows. Just look at all of the games that TCU and OU have played since being together in the Big 12. It's frightening and fun at the same time.
So TCU had the good sense to make this game against the Sooners our annual Blackout Game. Fun fact: TCU is undefeated in official black out games at night. So hey all of my Amon G. Carter Stadium folk... get hyped. Get loud. And be sure to wear black.
- Jamboogie out.