Each and every year, teams across the nation are exposed to potential trap games. The Oklahoma Sooners are no different and will face the TCU Horned Frogs the weekend before the Red River Rivalry. Here are three quick reasons I believe that Gary Patterson and his squad could potentially upset Bob Stoops and company.
Up front, the schedule appears to be a cake walk with Louisiana Tech and Tulsa. While things could get interesting against the Tennessee Vols before jumping into conference play, I hold the stance that the Volunteers still have a ways to go before making a legitimate push for a win in Norman. Needless to say, Oklahoma very well could be 4-0 heading into October before traveling south to Ft. Worth while not having faced much competition.
As mentioned above, the Horned Frogs play host to the Sooners the weekend before the Red River Rivalry, one of the nation's top rivalries. It is easy to overlook the weekend before in preparation for a "worthy" opponent. That factor alone marks this matchup as a potential trap game. Remember last season when this exact scenario played out. Fans witnessed a late push by the Horned Frogs fall just short, 20-17 thanks to a Brennan Clay TD run as OU escaped with a win.
Strength Against Weakness
The defense remains the true strength of this program behind Patterson's 4-2-5 defense. Literally a spread-killer, the Horned Frogs have been able to get pressure on the quarterback consistently with a just four lineman. In addition to the pressure, the defense is able to stuff the run using a mere two linebackers allowing the secondary to gets hands on passes while limiting long plays.
Even with the news of the Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, DeVonte Fields, transferring, this defensive front remains strong and disruptive anchored by Chucky Hunter. Giving up 356.4 yards per game, TCU ranked 24th in the nation in 2013. Could this be a top-20 defense again in the upcoming season? Absolutely but only time will tell.
On the other side of the things, Trevor Knight has not proven he can remain healthy for the duration of the entire season. But, that is not the only concern. After losing the leading rusher as well as the leading receiver, the only provenIf Oklahoma lacks playmakers at the skill position, it could see limitations of the offense yet again.
Nothing To Lose Attitude
TCU was not far off last season from an entirely different outcome and a bowl berth.
- Adj. Points Per Game (first 5 games): Opponent 23.2, TCU 22.8 (minus-0.4)
- Adj. Points Per Game (next 5 games): TCU 23.8, Opponent 20.0 (plus-3.8)
- Adj. Points Per Game (last 2 games): TCU 34.4, Opponent 17.9 (pus-16.5)
According to the adjusted numbers from Bill Connelly of SBNation, the Horned Frogs could have easily posted a 9-3 record. Instead, the 4-8 mark left the Horned Frogs wanting more. It's almost certain this squad enters the fall hungrier than ever while looking for revenge in the handful of games lost by a single possession.
From here, the only way for this program to go is up and those standing in their way should be on watch.