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Eight bold predictions for the 2018 Oklahoma football season

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I tried this last year, but maybe I’ll have more success in 2018.

TCU v Oklahoma Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Hello, Sooner fans!

One year ago, I attempted to make some bold predictions about Oklahoma’s 2017 season. As you might have expected, I didn’t hit on too may of them. Let’s take a look:

  • Three backs will reach the 600-yard rushing mark: Nope, but I was close!
  • Jeff Badet will be OU’s leader in catches and receiving yards: I wasn’t close at all.
  • Kenneth Murray and CeeDee Lamb will be Freshman All-Americans: WOOOOO! Both were named Freshman All-Americans by at least one major publication.
  • Neville Gallimore will emerge as a star: Unfortunately, the injury bug bit him, and I’m not too sure he was on that trajectory anyway. Perhaps this year will be different.
  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo will lead the Big 12 in sacks: Nope. He finished third with eight sacks on the season, but he did share Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year with Malik Jefferson.
  • Oklahoma will beat Oklahoma State twice: TCU earned that honor.
  • Mark Andrews will be an All-American: He did it, and he even surpassed expectations by becoming a Unanimous All-American.
  • Lincoln Riley will be named National Coach of the Year: His name was definitely mentioned, but Scott Frost ended up taking most of the honors on that front, including the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (ESPN College Football Awards Show).

So... not great, but that sort of comes with the territory here. Anyway, let’s try this again.


Three players will rush for at least 800 yards

Rodney Anderson is a no-brainer if he stays healthy, and Trey Sermon has a pretty decent chance, as well. The third? Let’s go with quarterback Kyler Murray, who is capable of breaking a big one on any given play. I don’t think he’ll surpass this mark by much, but it’s doable.


Grant Calcaterra will lead the team in TD receptions

Marquise Brown is a safe bet to lead the team in receiving yards, and CeeDee Lamb isn’t exactly a bold pick to lead the team in receptions. I’ll go with Calcaterra — aka Sunshine — for touchdowns due to how lethal I think he’ll be in the red zone. Mark Andrews led the Oklahoma Sooners in this category last season, but only by one.


Oklahoma will win Bedlam by at least 24 points

My Big 12 prediction may not show it, but I think Oklahoma State will have a decent team in spite of the losses at QB, WR and elsewhere. I definitely don’t think they’ll lose to Boise State in non-con play, so I’d expect a 13th consecutive bowl berth for Mike Gundy’s program. Having said that, I’m confident that OU’s rushing attack can really wear down OSU’s defense, which will allow the Sooners to run away late.


OU will defeat TCU in Arlington for the second consecutive season

Which Big 12 team is OU’s biggest challenger in 2018. The West Virginia Mountaineers are legit at the skill positions, but I’m not buying their quality or depth across the board. Let’s go with the TCU Horned Frogs, who should be pretty salty on defense despite some big losses and the season-ending injury for DT Ross Blacklock. I’ll go ahead and buy into the hype on offense, as well. Once they get to Arlington, I’ll take OU’s running game and overall talent. I am, however, predicting a loss in Ft. Worth. OU is prone to suffering puzzling losses, but this wouldn’t really fall into that category.


Kenneth Murray will earn All-Big 12 First Team Honors

Putting it simply, Murray is an impressive human being, and his dedication to improvement stands out. At Big 12 Media Days, he claimed to have watched the replay of the Rose Bowl 128 times. Hell, I haven’t even rewatched it once. It’s far too painful. Murray, however, is dedicated to not only watching it, but truly studying it.

Murray has the physical tools, but expect him to truly grasp the MIKE linebacker position as a sophomore.


Brendan Radley-Hiles will lead the team in interceptions

Oklahoma’s five-star nickel/safety may be a true freshman, but the consensus seems to be that the kid is wise beyond his years. He also has great instincts and isn’t afraid to take risks, making him an ideal candidate to get some oskies. Bookie and the other young dudes have a chance to turn the tide for an OU defense that has failed to turn the ball over with any frequency over the past two seasons.


Kyler Murray records a TD reception (on a pass from Austin Kendall)

When asked about Lincoln Riley as a play-caller, Murray gave an answer that probably shouldn’t surprise you.

At Big 12 Media Days, our own Seth Oliveras asked Lincoln Riley and Ben Powers about the potential for a gadget play involving a pass to the senior offensive lineman. Powers was all about it, but Riley was predictably coy. While I’d certainly love to see that, a throw to Murray seems a bit more probable. However, let’s stick with the theme and make the bold prediction that the throw comes from Austin Kendall.

In the Rose Bowl, we saw the package that included both Mayfield and Murray in the backfield, so seeing both QBs on the field at some point this season seems likely. Would they both be in the backfield? Would one be out wide? Could Riley roll out the Wildcat and put both out wide? The possibilities are endless.

Anyway, Kendall to Murray for six.


Let’s try this again — Neville Gallimore will emerge as a star

For the third consecutive offseason, the Neville Gallimore hype machine is up and running. This time, however, it comes with a position change, as Big Canada is now a nose tackle in this defense. There’s talk of him being stronger, faster and more agile — which is saying something — but will it actually translate to him being the dominant force we’ve all been anticipating since his commitment at the 2015 Army All-American Bowl? I think it will happen this year. It needs to happen this year.

Poll

Will Oklahoma have three players rush for at least 800 yards

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Yes
    (325 votes)
  • 50%
    No
    (332 votes)
657 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Grant Calcaterra lead the team in TD receptions?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Yes
    (277 votes)
  • 57%
    No
    (369 votes)
646 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Oklahoma play TCU for the 2018 Big 12 title?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Yes
    (356 votes)
  • 45%
    No
    (303 votes)
659 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State by at least 24 points?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Yes
    (387 votes)
  • 40%
    No
    (265 votes)
652 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Kenneth Murray earn All-Big 12 First Team honors?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Yes
    (532 votes)
  • 16%
    No
    (106 votes)
638 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Bookie lead the team in interceptions?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Yes
    (429 votes)
  • 33%
    No
    (214 votes)
643 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Kyler Murray have a TD reception, and will it come from Austin Kendall?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Yes
    (176 votes)
  • 31%
    No, Kyler will not have a TD reception
    (201 votes)
  • 40%
    Kyler will have a TD reception, but it won’t come from Austin Kendall
    (259 votes)
636 votes total Vote Now

Poll

By your definition, will Neville Gallimore emerge as a star in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Yes
    (458 votes)
  • 28%
    No
    (179 votes)
637 votes total Vote Now