BRR Countdown No. 1

As we finish up our rather unorthodox countdown, we've seen the good, the bad and the just plain ugly. Teams on the rise, on the decline and teams that should just disband. Now, however, we reach the top and it's the cream of the crop. The question about this cream isn't so much if they are going to be good, but just how good will they be? Let's take a look as we hit the top of our BRR Countdown with numero uno of the Big XII.

I'll give it up to Jason White - the guy is smart. Rather than suffer the indignity of possibly not getting drafted into the NFL, he where he was a legitimate star.

Like his predecessor, Josh Huepel, White won't enthrall you with his physical attributes, but if there is one thing this guy is, it's smart.

He plays within the system he has, takes advantage of the personnel around him and when it comes to OU, there's plenty of that to go around.

Speaking of personnel, OU lost some. Actually, they lost a bunch, especially on the defensive side - OU losing Tommie Harris, Teddy Lehman and Derrick Strait all to the NFL draft.

That's a ton, but with the kind of recruiting classes OU has gotten recently, they are re-loading almost side to side.

On the offensive side of the ball, it's even better news as OU brings back 8 players that have started at least 10 games.

Included amongst this group is the entire offensive line which bodes well for any team, but for a Sooner team that brings in true freshman running back, Adrian Peterson, I can already hear them playing "Boomer Sooner" from the rafters.

Oh, wait. I forgot something. OU doesn't know how to run-block.

You think I'm kidding? Against all of the teams they faced that might be considered even marginal in their ability to defend the rush, OU managed to average just over 3 yards per carry.

Heck, against Texas Tech - a team that was allowing almost 200 yards per game on the ground the entire year, Oklahoma did try to run the ball, toting it 36 times, but tallied a total of 78 yards in the end.

That's just part of the problem that led to the complete undressing at the hands of Kansas State for the Big XII title last year. All those defensive stars didn't matter. Having White back there didn't help and KSU laid the woodshed to the Sooners, prompting questions to head coach, Bob Stoops down at Big XII media days as to whether Kansas State did truly figure OU out. "I would say they played better than we did and coached better than we did." Stoops said of KSU possibly having the blueprint on beating OU. "Was there a master plan? I wouldn't say that. They played similarly that we've seen through the whole year."

"Bottom line, you make a few turnovers in crucial times. You miss some tackles in crucial times and you're going to be beat."

Well, yeah and not once but twice in a row did Oklahoma get beat and now the questions regarding OU's success is that if everyone now has a better idea of just how to beat the Sooners.

Nationally, I think there are a few teams that could handle OU, but within the conference, a combination of the better teams being depleted, some of the teams on the rise still rising but not quite enough and other teams trying to find themselves, OU's conference hopes are typically at the top.

Oklahoma does have to travel to Manhattan to face the Wildcats though and they will be in Stillwater to play the pesky Oklahoma State Cowboys. I would include a road game to Texas to play the Horns, but we've seen how much of a nail-biter that's become lately.

Everything favors OU to make another run at the title. The offense to help the defense, a defense that is mostly loaded across the board and experience in all the right places.

I think they said this last year though and while OU is my conference number one, that isn't to say they can't be undone. OU started off great last year winning 12 games in a row.

Now, they just have to finish.

Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-476-5006


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