Each and every year, fans expect the Oklahoma Sooners to bring back a championship or it was a bust of a season. With that in mind, it is always fun as well as a challenge to predict exactly how the season will pan out. With that in mind, I have complied my list of five predictions for the 2014 season.
Oklahoma Will Have A 1,000 Yard Rusher
Although the running back group is young, the offensive line possesses five players with starting experience. Altogether, Oklahoma has 107 games of starting experience returning in the fall. During the latter half of July, Matt released his offensive line position rankings within the Big XII and the Sooners took the top spot for good reason. Yet, it sets up the rushing attack to have a big season.
While good things have been said about Samaje Perine, the expectation is that Keith Ford and Alex Ross will carry the load. However, I'll take it a step further and say that Ford receives the lion's share of the carries. On the verge of having a 1,000 yard rusher in the past two season, OU's backs fell just short. That trend ends this season as Ford becomes the first running back to eclipse the mark since DeMarco Murray did so in 2010.
Trevor Knight Will Be A Heisman Finalist
Excitement abounds when it comes to Trevor Knight and his potential. Now with the offense squarely in his hands, reports from the "experts" as well as teammates echo one thing...Knight is playing with a command and confidence not experienced last season. That bodes well for this kid who has already landed himself on more than a handful of preseason watchlists. Needless to day, Knight's stock continues to rise.
Following a memorable performance, Knight won't need to battle for the starting role this season. The confidence of the coaches stands behind him as I believe Knight rides the momentum to an unforgettable season. Of course that means he stays healthy.
The Defense Will Rank In The Top 10 In Total Defense
For the first time in a long time, the Sooners closed out a season ranked No. 1 in the Big XII in defense. Giving up 350.2 yards per game placed Oklahoma at No. 20 in the nation. Yet, this is a defense that was considered to be the weakness in 2013 while a new system was being installed. Now with a year of familiarity with the system and returning nine starters, this defense is primed to improve upon that number.
With names like Eric Striker and Charles Tapper it becomes easier and easier to understand why this defense is on the way up...especially considering Jordan Phillips is back to clog the middle.
The Sooners Will Be Featured In The First College Playoff
Oklahoma has multiple things in play with this one. First off, the Sooners host arguably the best teams in the conference as Oklahoma St., Baylor, and Kansas St. travel to Norman. Secondly, after the ongoings in the Cotton Bowl, OU comes out ready to exact revenge on the Longhorns. The trouble comes knowing unexplainable things happen when entering the "Twilight Zone" known as Lubbock to face Texas Tech. But, the Sooners find a way to win collecting their 15th undefeated season and a spot in the College Playoff.
Oklahoma's Tight Ends Dominate The Red Zone
A resurgence of the tight end position has been called upon for several years now. I am fully buying into the notion that 2014 is that year as Blake Bell has been moved from QB to TE. With prototypical size and physicality, Bell presents a nightmare matchup especially in the red zone with deceptively good hands. Combine him with guys like Taylor McNamara and this group has potential. Am I expecting Gresham like numbers? Not exactly but I do think this group has the ability to haul in 50+ receptions and 7+ touchdowns.