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Last year, Oklahoma won the Big 12 and made it to the College Football Playoff. With most of their starters back, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, the expectations are high for the Sooners. Of course, whenever this team has high expectations, they tend to underperform. Their schedule will be tough, but nothing insurmountable that won't allow them to reach at least 10 wins again.
Currently Oklahoma is listed at odds of 13 to 1 to win the National Title and they are favored to win the Big 12 at a price of -120. Odds change, so be sure to check for updates at 5 dimes sportsbook and betonline.
Mayfield was a revelation for the Sooners last season at quarterback as he tossed for 36 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions to go with a 68.1% completion rate (also ran for 405 yards and 7 TDs). After a couple years of inconsistent play under center, Mayfield was the answer. His main goal should be to match those numbers as he won't have Sterling Shepard to play catch with this season. The Sooners need someone that can fill that receiving role with Dede Westbrook (743 yards, 4 TDs), Geno Lewis (Penn State transfer) or even sophomore A.D. Lewis. Tight end Mark Andrews should also be able to help in the receiving game.
In addition to a solid passing unit, the Sooners have one of the best running back duos in the country with Samaje Perine (1,349 yards, 16 TDs) and Joe Mixon (1,109 total yards, 11 total TDs). Even Rodney Anderson was getting touted in the spring and he's their third option. The offensive line loses two pieces, but will still have both tackles and the starting five already looked set in the spring. The Sooners will again have one of the better offenses in the Big 12 and country.
Oklahoma's defense was great last season, holding high-scoring Big 12 offenses down for the most part; a shutout at Kansas State was probably the most impressive. However, the Sooners did give up 37 points in the CFP to Clemson and that was their season.
Fortunately, the defense returns a good portion of its starters with Jordan Evans the key at inside linebacker. He'll be joined by Tay Evans, who won the job in the spring. The secondary will be the strong suit of the defense with almost everyone returning, starting with all-conference guys in Jordan Thomas and Steven Parker. The back end is filtered with upperclassmen and experience. The main issue for OU will be developing a pass rush after their starting ends left.
Nothing will come easy for the Sooners in the early going as they travel to Houston in their first game and then only two weeks later host Ohio State. This is probably the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. And immediately following that, Oklahoma has to travel to TCU before playing Texas at AT&T Stadium. In all, the Sooners don't really get a break before hosting Kansas at the end of October. The road tests at TCU and West Virginia may decide the winner of the Big 12 and even though the Sooners are the favorite, the schedule could be their undoing. Nevertheless, this team is stacked and should make it to at least 10 wins again, although that would be considered a disappointment, especially if they don't reach the College Football Playoff again.
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2016 Oklahoma Sooners Football Schedule
Sept. 3 at Houston
Sept. 10 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 17 vs. Ohio State
Oct. 1 at TCU
Oct 8 vs. Texas (AT&T Stadium)
Oct. 15 vs. Kansas State
Oct. 22 at Texas Tech
Oct. 29 vs. Kansas
Nov. 3 at Iowa State
Nov. 12 vs. Baylor
Nov. 19 at West Virginia
Dec. 3 vs. Oklahoma State
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