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Oklahoma Sooners Football Preseason Predictions: Will the Sooners return to the College Football Playoff in 2018?

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Baker Mayfield has moved on to the Cleveland Browns, but the Sooners look poised to make another run.

West Virginia v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

IT’S (almost) FOOTBALL TIIIIIIIIIIIIIME IN OKLAHOMAAAAAAA, which means it’s time to start preparing yourself for the season and all that it entails. Are your tailgating plans in place? Is your liver in tip-top shape? Do you have a system for battling the hangovers prior to the early kickoffs? There really is a lot to consider.

This also means it’s time for us to give you our predictions for the 2018 season. In 2017, our entire panel of “experts” predicted a loss in Columbus, so feel more than free to disregard everything in this post.

So... will the Sooners reach the College Football Playoff for a third time in four seasons? While the schedule does seem to have its fair share of potential pitfalls, the slate itself seems manageable on paper. Will this defense make the necessary improvements? Will Kyler Murray be able to come up big in clutch situations? There are obviously a lot of variables at play, but Oklahoma is still the most talented team in the Big 12 and seems capable of making another deep run.

Without further ado, here are our preseason predictions for the Oklahoma Sooners and the Big 12 Conference:

Jack Shields

Regular Season: 11-1 (loss to TCU)

Big 12 Standings

  1. Oklahoma (8-1)
  2. TCU (7-2)
  3. Texas (6-3)
  4. Iowa State (6-3)
  5. West Virginia (5-4)
  6. Kansas State (5-4)
  7. Baylor (3-6)
  8. Oklahoma State (3-6)
  9. Texas Tech (2-7)
  10. Kansas (0-9)

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma over TCU

How will the season go? Oklahoma’s defense will get off to a bit of rocky start against the likes of FAU and UCLA, but the D will begin to steady just in the knick of time. A complete team win against Iowa State boosts morale in the Sooner State as the team enters the heart of the season, but the nerves return when OU survives close calls against Baylor and Texas. TCU then wins a matchup of undefeateds in Ft. Worth, which serves as the midseason wake-up call for this team. OU then dominates the likes of Kansas State (this has ‘trap game’ written all over it if OU wins at TCU), Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas before meeting West Virginia, who will be struggling at that point due to issues with depth. OU defeats WVU in convincing fashion and carries momentum into a rematch vs. TCU in Arlington. This time, Oklahoma wins by multiple touchdowns and secures the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. OU meets undefeated Alabama in the Orange Bowl, coming up just short in an instant classic. However, I do think we’ll end up seeing Nick Saban a few more times in Riley’s tenure, and I think we can expect some positive results.

Bold Prediction: Neville Gallimore finally breaks through, stays healthy and lives up to his billing. The position change proves fruitful, and Oklahoma’s defensive front gets the necessary push on a more frequent basis than in years past.

Team Leaders

Rushing Yards: Rodney Anderson

Receiving Yards: Marquise Brown

Tackles: Kenneth Murray

Sacks: Addison Gumbs

Interceptions: Brendan Radley-Hiles


Seth Oliveras

Regular Season: 12-0, baby.

Big 12 Standings

  1. Oklahoma (9-0)
  2. West Virginia (7-2)
  3. Texas (6-3)
  4. TCU (6-3)
  5. Kansas State (5-4)
  6. Oklahoma State (4-5)
  7. Iowa State (4-5)
  8. Baylor (3-6)
  9. Texas Tech (1-8)
  10. Kansas (0-9)

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma over West Virginia

How will the season go? The Oklahoma Sooners open the 2018 season against FAU fast and furiously, scoring early and often. The defense gives up a few big plays in the first half, causing the Fire Mike Mob to start dusting off their picket signs. The D clamps down in the second half and continues to play sound football until the Texas game, where an unexpected offensive shootout breaks loose. Kyler Murray‘s legs are the difference, and the Sooner Schooner rolls on. The only other games that give Oklahoma trouble are the trip to TCU and Bedlam, but the talent disparity proves to be too much for Patterson and Gundy’s squads. With bellies full of ham and turkey, OU annihilates West Virginia in Morgantown one week before the rematch in Arlington, when the Sooners beat down the Mountaineers once again.

Oklahoma makes the College Football Playoff for the third time in four years, and the first time as the No. 1 ranked team. After defeating Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl semifinal, it’s round 2 vs. Georgia for all the CFP marbles. In another instant classic, the Sooners and Bulldogs trade blows until the game is tied with under two minutes to go. Kyler Murray will connects with Grant Calcaterra for a big gain over the middle, setting up Austin Seibert for the game-winning 43-yard field goal.

It’s good.

  • Bold Prediction: Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in turnover margin. The Sooners haven’t led the conference in TO margin since 2010, back when the league actually boasted 12 members.

Team Leaders

  • Rushing Yards: Rodney Anderson
  • Receiving Yards: Marquise Brown
  • Tackles: Kenneth Murray
  • Sacks: Kenneth Mann
  • Interceptions: Parnell Motley

Austin Brown

Regular Season: 11-1 (loss to Kansas State)

Big 12 Standings

  1. Oklahoma (8-1)
  2. West Virginia (7-2)
  3. TCU (6-3)
  4. Oklahoma State (5-4)
  5. Kansas State (5-4)
  6. Baylor (4-5)
  7. Iowa State (4-5)
  8. Texas (4-5)
  9. Texas Tech (1-8)
  10. Kansas (1-8)

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma over West Virginia

How will the season go? Look, I don’t actually think Oklahoma will lose to K State. However, I am 100% convinced Bob Stoops made a deal with God in 2000. In exchange for that National Championship, OU football has to suffer one very stupid loss to a tragically inferior team every year for the rest of time. That one loss is coming, and it’s not going to come when you think it is. If not K-State, it’ll be Texas Tech or Baylor. OU will be the better team in all 12 games on this schedule. This is the first time in a while we can say that, so I still think Kyler and company win the Big 12 and make another trip back to the CFB Playoff. What will happen when they get there? Well, I’m sort of with Jack. I think OU loses to ‘Bama, but I think it happens in the title game.

Bold Prediction: Bookie will win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. I think he’ll rack up impressive stats in multiple categories (interceptions, sacks, tackles) to stand out. He reminds me a lot of Jabrill Peppers with his versatility, so anything is on the table

Team Leaders

  • Rushing yards: Rodney Anderson
  • Receiving yards: CeeDee Lamb
  • Tackles: Caleb Kelly
  • Sacks: Mark Jackson Jr.
  • Interceptions: BOOKIE

Kartik Rajendran

Regular Season: 11-1 (loss to Kansas State)

Big 12 Standings

  1. Oklahoma (8-1)
  2. West Virginia (7-2)
  3. TCU (6-3)
  4. Kansas State (6-3)
  5. Oklahoma State (5-4)
  6. Texas (5-4)
  7. Iowa State (4-5)
  8. Baylor (3-6)
  9. Texas Tech (1-8)
  10. Kansas (0-9)

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma over West Virginia

How will the season go? Despite the losses from the team’s special and experienced core from a year ago, a deep and talented Oklahoma squad still comfortably sits a tier ahead of the rest of the conference, setting up well for a run at a fourth straight Big 12 title. Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia could be tough road tests for first-year signal caller Kyler Murray and the new-look Sooners. College football is crazy and I just can’t bring myself to predict an undefeated season, so OU’s only regular-season loss will be another perplexing October surprise against a sneaky Kansas State in Norman. The Sooners will bounce back strong in Morgantown and leave Burning Couch country with a win and a rematch against the Mountaineers in the conference title game. A second win against WVU and a fourth consecutive Big 12 Championship should keep the Sooners in play for a spot in the College Football Playoff at season’s end. OU earns a matchup with ‘Bama, but Saban’s team comes out on top.

Bold Prediction: The Oklahoma defense, despite its’ persistent Mike Stoops problem, will be vastly improved this season and finish in the top 35 in the country. Safety Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles and defensive end Ronnie Perkins will be breakout performers in their first collegiate seasons, while Kenneth Murray will be in play for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors after making a big sophomore leap.

Team Leaders

  • Rushing Yards: Rodney Anderson
  • Receiving Yards: Marquise Brown
  • Tackles: Kenneth Murray
  • Sacks: Ronnie Perkins
  • Interceptions: Parnell Motley

Sam Camp

Regular Season: 11-1 (loss to Texas)

Big 12 Standings

  1. Oklahoma (8-1)
  2. Texas (7-2)
  3. Iowa State(7-2)
  4. TCU (6-3)
  5. West Virginia (5-4)
  6. Oklahoma State (4-5)
  7. Kansas State (3-6)
  8. Texas Tech (2-7)
  9. Baylor (1-8)
  10. Kansas (1-8)

Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma over Texas

How will the season go? I think Oklahoma gets off to a good start against FAU, UCLA, Iowa State, Army and Baylor to open the season. However, the offense will hit a momentary snag and have some trouble putting up points against a stout Texas defense. After losing to the Longhorns in a tight one, the Sooners will rally and beat Texas in a revenge game for the Big 12 title. I think they make the CFP again, but I’m going to side with Jack, Austin and Kartik in saying that OU gets knocked out by ‘Bama (semifinal). OU will once again have a top-five offense, but the defense will not be quite good enough to win it all. I think they show some improvement this year but will not take that necessary next step with Mike Stoops running the show. Here’s to hoping Mike proves me wrong and can find some of his old magic.

Bold Prediction: Rodney Anderson struggles to get going during the first few games. As a result, Trey Sermon gets some early shine and has a bigger year than many expected. Sermon has all the tools to be the next great Sooner RB, and he may even challenge Anderson as the featured back.

Team Leaders

  • Rushing Yards: Trey Sermon
  • Receiving Yards: CeeDee Lamb
  • Tackles: Kenneth Murray
  • Sacks: Kenneth Mann
  • Interceptions: Tre Norwood