This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011
We spent last week wrapped in great conversation about past seasons and past heros but now its time to look ahead a bit. Today's topic of conversation is expectations. What should we realistically expect from our 2010 Oklahoma Sooners? I'm expecting history to repeat itself. You know, it is an even year and over the last decade (2000,2002,2004,2006,2008,????) that has meant the year of the Sooners.
With Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander on the ends I'm expecting Oklahoma to lead the Big 12 in sacks. These two guys could very well end up being the best defensive end tandem in the conference and when Venables decides to send the blitz its sure to make things interesting.
Even with replacing two starters at linebacker I'm expecting Oklahoma to have the top rushing defense in the Big 12. Last season the Sooners were third in the conference in rush defense but with the insertion of Tom Wort andRonnell Lewis along side two-time leading tackler Travis Lewis, seeing improvement shouldn't be a stretch.
I expect the secondary to struggle initially. Brian Jackson and Dominique Franks are gone and it could take Demontre Hurst and Jonathan Nelson a bit to adjust. Throw in a new starter at strong safety and you've got three out of four starters being replaced from last season. With Florida State coming up in the second week of the season they're going to get an early test.
I'm expecting improvement from the offensive line. This is a must in order for the 2010 season to have any measure of success. You know it, I know it, opposing defenses know it and most importantly the guys who'll be in the trenches for Oklahoma know it. They've had a year to sit on the disappointment and frustration from last season. There's no way this unit isn't improved in 2010.
I'm expecting a career year from DeMarco Murray. He's as healthy as he's been since the start of his freshman year and he'll be the work horse/feature back in 2010.
I'm expecting a great season from Landry Jones. He's not prepping to go into the season as the backup this year. He's going in as the starter. He's got a year under his belt and keep in mind that the only Sooner quarterback to have a better freshman season than Jones was a guy named Sam Bradford.
Tress Way was very good last season as a punter and can only get better through off-season workouts. I expect him to have another stellar season.
I expect Oklahoma to select one place kicker and stick with him. Right now Patrick O'Hara has the nod on the latest depth chart but whoever goes into the season as #1 needs to be the guy all season long.
I believe that this is a season where a 10-2 regular season will win the Big 12 South and call me a homer but I still like the South over the North. A Big 12 championship would put Oklahoma back into a BCS bowl game and most likely a Top 10 finish in the final rankings. That's where I expect Oklahoma to be and with a few breaks here or there we could easily see something even greater.