NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 1: Running back Dominique Whaley #8 of the Oklahoma Sooners rushes up field during the first half against the Ball State Cardinals on October 1, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Ball State 62-6. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
There are going to be plenty of talented teams coming into the 2012 Season. From the USC Trojans to the LSU Tigers and from the Oklahoma Sooners to the Michigan Wolverines, there will be tons of talent to go around. However, with the goal being to win the conference first followed by a national championship win, there can only be one winner in the end. While each team possesses a unique set of strengths, here are three for the Oklahoma Sooners. Could they not only play for but win a national championship in the chase for eight?
1) The Sooners have the experience
Landry Jones sat behind all-time great Sam Bradford during the 2008 season in which Jones red-shirted. However, the chance to learn from one of the greats has it benefits as Jones learned the ropes while taking in the atmosphere of the BCS Championship game. While playing in the national championship is foreign territory to Jones, he will have an idea of what to expect. But, Jones has something else going for him...he is a fifth year senior. In his time at Oklahoma, Sooner fans have seen him mature and come into his own while smashing school records left and right. Currently, Landry boasts a 3-0 bowl record as a starter. Could he make it 4-0? A great test will come as OU takes on the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown with little to no fan support in the stadium.
2) Oklahoma has revamped the secondary
One of the major concerns during the 2011 season was the over the top play. Time and time again, fans watched as the Sooners secondary was torched not only in the open field but also up the middle. Yet, the one consistent piece has been Demontre Hurst. Add to him Aaron Colvin and Oklahoma could have one of the best cornerback duos in the nation. Outside of this fact, Tony Jefferson will be making the move back to safety. For a while now, we here at CCM have been saying that safety is more of a natural fit for him. If Mike Stoops ferocity permeates through the defense, this could be a unit that once again strikes fear into the opposition. It will be no secret that OU will continue to work on the secondary, but no one thinks they are the best unit amongst the Big XII as that still belongs to the Texas Longhorns.
3) On paper, OU has one of the most talented rosters
This is a fairly simple concept that does not always play out in the end. Many times the most talented teams over look a game or two and end up getting caught while the underdog crushes their BCS Title hopes. Underdogs have done this time and time again and while history continues to repeat itself, some teams never seem to learn. If anyone were to stack up the Sooners against any team in the Big XII, it is certain that Oklahoma would come out on top. Talent only gets you so far in this game as hard work along with a team mentality often trumps raw talent. The Sooners have work to do with their receiving corp. but it could pay off resulting in the top unit in the nation.
The season is long and drawn out over several months. Injuries are sure to happen and drastically change the landscape of college football. On the flip side of that coin sits surprise freshmen/transfers who were merely a blip on the radar coming out of high school. On the college level, the breakout occurs thrusting players into the spotlight. Dominique Whaley has experienced both and will hopefully make the return at 100%. He will be a key factor that tips the scales in the favor of Oklahoma once again.