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Oklahoma has started in the preseason AP Top 11 in each of the past 12 years. This year, the Sooners will likely find themselves ranked a little lower as they'll have to deal with a good amount of departures, including starting quarterbacking Landry Jones. Not only that, but Bob Stoops brought in a few new faces to the coaching staff as finishing 10-3 was a bit of a disappointment for him.
The Sooners could be another team with some value. Considering Oklahoma is in the mix each and every year, they could be worth a shot at 55 to 1 odds to win the BCS Title. Those odds are currently available at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Blake Bell will probably be the starting QB, but by no means does he have the job locked down. He ran for 11 touchdowns last year, but only attempted 16 passes. Is this a guy that can continually move the ball with his arm? The good news is that Bell will have plenty of help surrounding him. Damien Williams returns in the backfield as does Jalen Saunders to lead the receiving corps. In addition, four starters will be returning on the offensive line. For a team that scored 38 points per game last year, their only real change will be at the QB position.
The main problem for the Sooners comes on the defensive side where only four starters are back. Only one of those was a top five tackler on the team last year. In a conference that has a multitude of teams that can score at will, defense is not the area you want to lack in as seen last season with West Virginia. Their front seven is quite thin and only one starter (Aaron Colvin) is back in the secondary. Luckily, he made the first team on the All-Big 12 squad in 2012. Of course, this is Bob Stoops we're talking about so he'll still have plenty of abled bodies.
2013 Oklahoma Sooners Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 7 vs. West Virginia
Sept. 14 vs. Tulsa
Sept. 28 at Notre Dame
Oct. 5 vs. TCU
Oct. 12 vs. Texas (Dallas)
Oct. 19 at Kansas
Oct. 26 vs. Texas Tech
Nov. 7 at Baylor
Nov. 16 vs. Iowa State
Nov. 23 at Kansas State
Dec. 7 at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma's schedule doesn't stand out as too frightening, but there will be some difficult games for them. They'll have to go to Notre Dame in late September which could be a problem if their offense isn't clicking by then. The Fighting Irish will once again have a very strong defense after stopping the Sooners to 13 points last year, in Oklahoma.
The end of the season is what Stoops and company have to worry about with road games at Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State in three of their last four games. If their defense struggles at all, it's going to show up even more in those three games. The battle against Texas should be much closer than the 42-point beat down the Sooners had last year.
The Sooners have high hopes as usual, but there are a lot of question marks for this team. Reaching 10 wins for the fourth straight season will be more difficult this time around. No matter, at least nine regular season wins should be expected from this squad.
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