Three reasons OU will go undefeated:
1. Experience-- The Sooners are loaded with veterans all over the field, including quarterback Landry Jones, linebacker Travis Lewis, slot receiver Ryan Broyles and others. Indeed, the team got a big boost when Lewis and Broyles announced just days after their Fiesta Bowl win that they would return to OU and again pursue a national championship, but it doesn't stop there. This team will have the most upperclassmen on an offensive line since OU's national title game appearance back in 2008-09. The defensive line features four uppers, and other positions have very talented youngsters scattered around these veterans. OU's experience across the board is a great reason to believe it will run the table.
2. Depth-- Not only is this team filled with veterans, but it's deep as well. Even head coach Bob Stoops addressed this factor during spring ball when he said the Sooners are "1 3/4 deep at each spot." Do the math on that, and it's 39-40 on a two-deep roster, which is remarkable for any college football team. There are players who can step in at all positions, should their names be called upon. This will certainly come into play down the stretch.
3. OU is just that talented Experience and depth can go a long way, but without the necessary talent, it could be all for naught. That won't be the case with this team. There are playmakers and gamers all over the field. Jones is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, same with Broyles at the receiver position and Lewis at linebacker. Defensive end Ronnell Lewis is among the league's top defensive ends, cornerbacks Jamell Fleming, Demontre Hurst and Gabe Lynn are electric in the secondary. And that's just naming a few positions. Get the point? This is one of, if not the most, talented teams in the country.
Three reasons OU won't go undefeated:
1. Schedule stumbling blocks-- The Sooners will have to be road wary or they'll be road weary after contests with likely Top 10 opponents Florida State and Oklahoma State away from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. And there are a couple formidable opponents set to come to Norman as well in Missouri and Texas A&M. Both of those figure to be at least in the Top 25 for most of the season if not higher. Throw in the annual Red River Rivalry battle against Texas in Dallas, and it's easy to get a grasp of just how tough this schedule is.
2. Inconsistency in special teams-- Yes, Jimmy Stevens was pretty good in the kicking game last year. He was 19-for-23 on field goal attempts and a perfect 53-for-53 on point after attempts. But Sooner fans probably still cringe in situations where games come down to a field goal, and Stevens is set to be the kicker attempting to put it through, considering his inconsistencies in the past. And will the Sooners have their coverage team issues fixed from a year ago? It cost them in both of their losses to Missouri and Texas A&M. And it could cost them an undefeated season, if it's not resolved.
3. Potential of injuries Nothing is ever given, including health. The Sooners would know that best, as evidenced by Sam Bradford's 2009 injury that wrecked OU's season from a possible national championship run to an 8-5 mark. Right now, it appears OU is healthy for the most part, outside of right tackle Jarvis Jones' torn patella tendon that required surgery in the off-season. But if OU is bitten by the injury bug, the chance for an undefeated year could come to an end quickly.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's version of the series.