1. Texas lost some pivotal pieces that will be tough to replace—It's not to say that head coach Mack Brown's Texas Longhorns won't be a force yet again—they will be high in the national rankings all year—but they lost their powerful quarterback-receiver combination of Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley, as well as guys on the defense like Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas.
2. OU brings experience back in positions where it lost guys—Along similar lines, the Sooners lose a potent quarterback-tight end combination in Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham. But the obvious, yet key difference here is that neither of those guys played much, if at all, during the 2009 season. Quarterback Landry Jones gained valuable backup experience in place of Bradford, and Eric Mensik and Trent Ratterree have moved into their tight end roles. So that's where that's different.
3. The Sooner defense will be devastating—Linebacker Travis Lewis' attitude exemplifies what this defense will be like even with the loss of guys like Gerald McCoy, Ryan Reynolds and others. Tough. Gritty. Confident. Don't expect much of a drop off on the defensive side of the ball.
4. OU's running game should excel once again—DeMarco Murray is healthy and in the right frame of mind for a breakout season, and Jermie Calhoun figures to contribute big time as well. If the offensive line performs, the ground game could be very dangerous.
5. The Ryan Broyles factor—Really who's going to defend this guy in the Big 12? He will have his way with whatever defensive back is on the other side of the ball. Broyles is the biggest home run threat in the conference and one of the biggest in the nation, and he will open it up for the other Sooner receivers.
6. UT and OU's Big 12 North conference schedule—A game at Missouri could be tough for the Sooners, although they should win it, but home games against Colorado and Iowa State won't challenge them much. Texas, on the other hand, has to go to Nebraska, and they could easily lose that game. They also play at Kansas State and home against Iowa State, both games they should win. But realistically, that game against Nebraska could be the deciding game if the ‘Horns lose it. The Sooners will likely beat UT a week earlier, so if the ‘Horns happened to lose to Nebraska after, they would be two games back.