We are now into the top 5 teams in the nation and these are the best of the best and likely BCS contendors. Here is team #3 and the 2010 Oklahoma Sooners Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football predictions season preview from Maddux Sports.
No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners
2009 record: 8-5
2009 Bowl Game: 31-27 win over Stanford in Sun Bowl
2009 ATS: 4-7-1
Returning starters: 13 (8 on offense, 5 on defense)
The Sooners lose only tree starters on offense. Sphomore quarterback Landry Jones took over for Sam Bradford last season, due to Bradford’s shoulder injury that required surgery. Jones threw for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns, and has shown that he is ready to lead the team. He completed 58.1 percent of his passes and was picked of 14 times.
The Sooners lose top rusher Chris Brown, who carried the ball 182 times last season and scored seven touchdowns. However, DeMarco Murray has shown that he is dangerous, running for 741 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. He averaged only 4.1 yards per carry, mainly due to problems on the offensive line.
The line loses left tackle Trent Williams, a three-year starter, Brody Eldridge who played on the line and as tight end, and left guard Brian Simmons. However, they look more experienced than last year, with eight players that have started returning.
The receiving corps stays intact, with Ryan Broyles leading the way. The junior hauled in 89 passes for 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Murray caught several passes out of the backfield and will be another valuable option in the Sooners’ passing game.
Oklahoma’s offense once again looks dangerous, and should be even better than last year with Jones having almost a full season of starting experience under his belt.
The defense has to make up for some tough losses. The secondary loses both starting corners in Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson. However, senior Jonathan Nelson, who moves in from safety, and sophomore Demonte Hurst are ready to step in. They look like they can be another ball hawking cornerback tandem.
The Sooners’ biggest loss comes at tackle, where Gerald McCoy provided a monster pass rush. He had six sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss in 2009 and was the third overall pick in this year’s draft. However, Oklahoma has plenty of talented players to step in and will barely miss a beat.
Senior end Jeremy Beal, tackle Adrian Taylor, and end Frank Alexander will anchor a strong defensive line and once again create a dangerous pass rush. Linebacker Travis Lewis has 13 starts and was the team’s top tackler in 2009. He also provided some penetration in the backfield, getting one sack and 8.5 tackles for a loss. He broke up two passes and snatched one interception.
The safety position looks solid, with Quinton Carter leading the way at free safety. He had 88 tackles last season and broke up five passes. He caught four interceptions and recorded 2.5 tackles for a loss. Sam Proctor played in 13 games last year and recorded 44 tackles.
Junior Jimmy Stevens handled most of the kicking in 2009. He went 27-for-29 on extra points last year and connected on 11 of his 13 field goal attempts. He was perfect from 39 yards and under, but didn’t make a single filed goal from 40 or more yards. His season long was 39.
Patrick O’Hara made a 47-yarder, but was inconsistent on his other field goal tries. The Sooners tried three different kickers last season, but they haven’t had much success. They will most likely give Stevens another shot, but he needs to improve on long kicks to keep the job.
Punter Tress Way showed off his big leg with a 45.7 yard average on 61 attempts. He forced nine fair catches and downed the ball within the opponent’s 20-yard line 17 times.
Ryan Broyles handled punt returns and was very dangerous. He scored one touchdown and averaged 15.9 yards per attempt. Mossis Madu averaged 21.4 yards on kick returns.
Against the spread
The Sooners went 4-7-1 against the college football lines in 2009. They were 3-2 as the home favorite and 1-3 when favored on the road. They went 3-4-1 ATS in conference matchups and 1-3 when playing teams from other conferences. Oklahoma has gone 67-60-5 ATS in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
Bet on the Sooners at home against Utah State in the season opener. Oklahoma is 4-0 against the Aggies and has scored at least 49 points in every game. They have beaten the Aggies by an average margin of victory of 51 points. In the teams’ last meeting in 2007, the Sooners won 54-3 despite pulling their starters after the third quarter.
Favor the fade
Fade the Sooners against Colorado. The Buffaloes return their two leading passers, their leading rusher, their two leading receivers, and all of their offensive linemen with starting experience. I’m not saying the Buffaloes will beat the Sooners, but Oklahoma could fail to cover here. The Sooners are 2-5 at home against Colorado and lost the last meeting 27-24.