College football analysit Phil Steele has received a fair share of criticism this summer for picking the Sooners at the #1 team in the nation. Give the man his due credit because in the face of an onslaught of backlash from his college football preseason magazine he not only still has the Sooners at numero uno at the beginning of the season but he has them playing in the BCS championship game at the end of the season.
In his preseason bowl predictions Steele has the Sooners playing the Ohio State Buckeyes for all the marbles come January. While that may seem like a pipe dream to some Oklahoma fans and a fairy tale to others outside of the Sooner state, let's remember what Bob Stoops did just a decade ago. He took a team that had gone 7-5 the year before and won a national championship. Before 2009 that was the last time a Bob Stoops team had lost five games in a season. He had a returning quarterback who set passing records in his first season at OU, a top notch receiver that was had to cover out of the slot and a running back that people questioned because of his size. Fast forward to 2010 and you've got Landry Jones coming back for his second year of play after a record setting freshman season in 2010, Ryan Broyles who is right now causing sleepless nights in Logan Utah and Tallahassee, Florida and DeMarco Murray who everyone is wondering if he can carry the bulk load of carries that comes with being Oklahoma's only feature back.
Of course Bob Stoops also had a defense in 2000 that was out for blood. They had speed and power off the ends, a linebacker who would crush you and then tell you that you had just been crushed and a head hunter in the secondary. It was a nasty defense with attitude. It was a defense that didn't allow quarterbacks time in the pocket. It was a defense that stuffed running backs behind the line of scrimmage. It was a defense that receivers didn't want to catch passes over the middle against out of feat that Roy Williams would seperate their bodies from their heads. It was a defense much like the 2010 version where Jeremy Beal will be pressuring the quarterback, Ronnell Lewis will be flattening out anything in his path and Quinton Carter will be dislodging heads from bodies.
I'm not saying that Phil Steele is right in his prediction but I'm also not gonna call him crazy either. This OU team is loaded with talent. They're mad about a tough luck season last year and wasted opportunity. They're hungary to win Big 12 Championships like the teams of the last decade before them have done. They're also aware that history has a way of repeating itself.