As usual, Oklahoma lost several players to the NFL Draft including three of the top four picks and four players total in the first round. As always the Sooners look to have reloaded and are as dangerous as ever.
Once again, the Cincinnati defense will be tested and will be one of the biggest factors in the outcome of this matchup. Here's a look at some of the Sooner's offensive weapons.
They replace the No.1 overall pick in the draft, Sam Bradford, with sophomore Landry Jones. Jones gained a wealth of experience last year with Bradford's injury, playing in all but one game in 2009. Jones put up some good numbers throwing for 3198 yards, 26 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and completed 58 percent of his passes.
Jones has several of his favorite targets coming back as well, including 2009 leading receiver Ryan Broyles. Broyles had an impressive season last year in the slot position racking up 89 catches for 1120 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Running back DeMarco Murray split carries with now-departed Chris Brown and put up 705 yards, 8 touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry. Murray also adds the dimension of being able to catch the ball out of the backfield. In 2009 he caught 41 passes for 522 yards and four scores, making the second leading receiver on the team.
The Sooners will be the most balanced team UC will have faced to date will need to find a way to make the Sooners one dimensional.
The offensive line could potentially be an area of concern for OU. According to the depth chart on Oklahoma's official website, which was done before spring ball, the Sooners could be starting three juniors, one senior and one sophomore. However, one of the juniors, left tackle Donald Stephenson, did not play in 2009. But as always, the OU o-line is stacked with talent.
The Cincinnati offense will also receive its toughest test of the young 2010 season. Last year the Oklahoma defense ranked eighth in the country in total defense, surrendering 272 yards per contest, and only 179 yards through the air.
As stated many times before this is the toughest game of the season to date for UC, and will need to be clicking on all cylinders to win this game.
While it's probably the toughest game of the year for the Bearcats it is also the toughest one to predict. Cincinnati has upgraded its overall talent from the last time these two met, a 52-26 OU win in 2008, but is it enough?
Call me a homer is you want, but the crystal ball has the Bearcats edging the Sooners in a close one. UC has enough weapons on offense to keep it close and the defense will come up with the big play or stop when the team needs it. Also, the team will be spurred on by the likely 65,535 in attendance at Paul Brown Stadium.
Prediction: 38-35 Cincinnati.