QB Uncertainty Won't Affect Sooners Ability to Challenge the Big 12

Steven Suarez

Friday, July 24, 2015 2:37 PM GMT

It's certainly not going to be handed to them on a silver platter, but the Sooners always seem to be there challenging for the Big 12 title. Let's run over their chances by taking a look at their odds

Odds Overview
In our breakdown, let's first take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things in the world of college football. There are a ton of teams who are going to be vying for spots in the playoffs, and the Sooners are right there in the mix. They're listed just outside the top 10 at #14 on SBR's comprehensive look of the futures odds. They're in the +2800 to +3500 range, but some books like WagerWeb are even offering a number of +3900 for now.

When we narrow things down to the Big 12 itself, we see Oklahoma in the top three, behind only TCU and Baylor. The Sooners are hovering at right around +500 to emege as the conference champions, which is decent value on a top-notch collegiate program that has had tons of success and has the infastructure in place to challenge year in and year out.

 

Oklahoma Sooners: 2014 Recap
While it wasn't the most dominant season we've seen from Oklahoma, a 8-4 final regular season record is nothing to look down upon. The Sooners, however, didn't win a single game against a then-ranked opponent, and ended up finishing 2014 on a down note in a 40-6 blowout loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Yeah, that's not exactly the way you want to go out.

As a team, Oklahoma did most of its damage with the ground game, and that was thanks to a special freshman season from running back Samaje Perine, who ran for 1713 yards and 21 touchdowns while catching 15 passes for 108 yards to boot. It was an incredible season for the 5-11, 237-pound back, with the standout performance coming in the team's blowout 44-7 win over Kansas; Perine exploded for 427 rushing yards and five touchdown runs.

Unfortunately, Perine wasn't able to get much help from an ineffective passing attack, mainly because the Sooners couldn't find a quarterback they could really trust. Both Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas went through their fair share of struggles, which obviously didn't help top wideout Sterling Shepard, who made the most of his shaky QB play by recording 51 receptions for 970 yards and five touchdown catches.

Defensively, Oklahoma was solid but not spectacular, ranking 56th in the nation in points allowed (25.9) in 2014.

 

Oklahoma Sooners: 2015 Look-Ahead 
Unfortunately for the Sooners, the quarterback situation still hasn't been completely resolved ahead of the 2015 season. There's a wide-open competition still going on, with Knight and transfer Baker Mayfield in a tight race for the starting job. There are rumors circulating that Mayfield is regarded as the favorite to win the spot, with Thomas also in the mix but expected to be third-string for now.

With those question marks at QB, you can safely assume to see a whole lot of Perine, who figures to have an even more productive season now that he has a year of experience under his belt. Considering he was able to torment the Big 12 as a freshman, it's scary to think what he'll be capable of as he grows as a football player.

The return of Shepard to lead the receiving corps is another positive heading into the 2015 season, as he'll be a nice security blanket for whoever ends up starting under center. 

It remains to be seen if the Sooners can step their game up defensively this season, although you have to figure they'll again have plenty of top recruits filling in the gaps and helping the program not skip a beat.

Needless to say, we're bullish on Oklahoma year in and year out, and that's not going to change for 2015. We like the Sooners at +500 in the Big 12 and approximately +3000 nation-wide quite a bit when thinking about placing our final college football picks.