That, according to Phil Steele and his recently announced 2011 preseason All-American teams. Now, many of you probably remember Mr. Steele picking our Sooners as his preseason national champion this time last year and all the grief he received for doing so. At the time, most of the "experts" believed that Alabama was the clear favorite and openly questioned Steele's selection of OU. Surely those same "experts" are already aware of the fact that while OU did not win the national championship as Steele predicted, the Sooners did win their conference (Bama didn't), win a BCS bowl (Bama didn't), and finish well ahead of the Crimson Tide in the final polls. The point is, it is really easy to criticize some like Steele who will make a bold prediction from time to time rather than simply drink the national media Kool-Aid and follow the herd.
So it's in that same vein that Steele has named our own Landry Jones as his 2011 preseason first team All-American selection at quarterback. Now this will be, and in some instances at least to some interviews I've already heard, just as criticized as his pick last year. Primarily because of the near universally assumed awarding of the Heisman to one Andrew Luck of Stanford. Again, many people will mistakenly assume that by choosing Jones over Luck that Steele is saying Landry is a better QB. Which, again according to interviews I've heard with Steele, is not necessarily the case at all.In fact, Steele has openly stated that he believes Luck is a better overall quarterback and will surely be taken, if not #1 overall, ahead of Landry in the NFL draft. However, his reasoning (which will surely be ignored by said "experts) is sound for naming Landry first team and Luck second team. His though process involved, in my opinion, several valid points. Like the fact that OU is a better overall team than Stanford and will therefore have a better chance at actually playing for a national championship. Also, we're all aware of the high powered offense OU employs and the propensity for Landry to put up ridiculous stats as he's done the previous two years. So while Luck may be a more talented overall QB, he simply does not have the offensive weapons at his disposal that Landry will have in 2011. So if OU is undefeated, playing in the national championship game, and Landry is putting up 4,000+ yard and 35-40 TDswhile Luck is playing for a three loss Stanford team with lesser statistics, why is it unreasonable to assume that Landry would be first team and Luck would be second?
Look, I'm not naive enough to believe that at least part of this wasn't about being different than almost everyone else. Just like his pick of OU last year, it generates conversation and gets him all kinds of interviews which he can then use to promote his site/magazine. But that doesn't automatically eliminate the fact that there is still a great deal of validity to his reasoning behind the selection.
Other Sooners also chosen for his preseason All-American team: Ryan Broyles-1st team, Travis Lewis-1st team, and Ben Habern-4th team.