As we know the key to staying ahead of Sarkisian at Texas and competing with Alabama and Clemson for National Championships is to recruit, recruit, recruit. The last two weeks Lincoln Riley has been doing just that.
He used the transfer portal to secure a quality backup quarterback, two offensive linemen and a defensive back. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and in this case that proof is big time tasty. While we were crying over spilt milk at losing high power recruits Bryce Foster, Tristin Leigh, and Camar Wheaton to the ACC and SEC, Lincoln was not missing a beat on the recruiting trail.
Finding a quality quarterback to line up behind Spencer Rattler became a critical need for us after Tanner Mordecai and Chandler Morris abandoned ship. Micah Bowens, a transfer from Penn State will fill the bill perfectly as he learns the Lincoln system.
Wanya Morris, a former five-star recruit and two-year starter at Tennessee enrolled on Monday. He will start for the Sooners on the offensive line from day one. OU also signed offensive lineman Robert Congel who was a starter at Arizona last year. Adding to our pleasure with Morris is the fact that we beat out Texas A&M for his services.
Finally, on the last day that transfers could make a move to OU, Lincoln and Alex Grinch picked up a former four-star recruit and freshman All-American defensive back from Tennessee. What a pickup…getting Wanya Morris and Key Lawrence from the Tennessee dumpster fire at the last minute was really icing on the cake.
Basically, the college game has changed as over 150 players are changing hands this year via the transfer portal. I’m not crazy about that part of the changing college football landscape, but in this case, I’ll adjust my thinking and love it for this year.
While most of us had moved on to next year’s recruiting class, Lincoln and staff were busy putting together the final pieces to the puzzle that will provide us with a bono fide shot at a National Championship 2021. What a year 2021 is shaping up to be. Are we there yet…
I must admit that turning the page from one season to the next is not a problem for me. Once that final buzzer blows I’m ready to move on. I use bowl season to glean helpful tidbits of information so I can better evaluate where teams will line up the next season.
ESPN does the same thing as they create their “way too early 2021 predictions.” It has been less than a week since Alabama throttled Ohio State, but they have already created their preseason list for 2021. Their list pretty much speaks for itself, but it never hurts to highlight a few informational points that may be of interest to Sooner fans.
As we know, OU coaches have circled ’21 as our year and the ESPN site simply reinforces that optimism. Offense has never been a problem for the Sooners and now that we have a defense the sky will be the limit.
As you will see below OU is listed at #3 on this list and I suggest that the Sooners would be higher if it were not for our recent CFP history. Our 2021 schedule may be a bit of drag as well. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of “the game of the century” this year will be way cool, but Nebraska does not help our cause from a power index perspective.
That’s the bad news…the good news is that OU will start the season at #3 which means that the Sooners will have to jump only two teams to get to the top. Our hope must be that Nebraska will use its relatively weak Big Ten schedule to produce some power scheduling points for us on the back side.
Okay, here’s the list…The numbers in parentheses represent projected starters on offense, defense, and special teams.
- Clemson Tigers – (5) (10) (1)
- Alabama Crimson Tide – (4) (9) (1)
- Oklahoma Sooners – (6) (8) (2)
- Georgia Bulldogs – (9) (5) (2)
- Ohio State Buckeyes – (6) (5) (0)
- Texas A&M – (6) (6) (2)
- North Carolina – (10) (10) (2)
- Iowa State – (10) (8) (0)
- USC Trojans – (8) (8) (2)
- Indiana Hoosiers – (9) (10) (1)
- Cincinnati Bearcats – (8) (7) (1)
- Iowa Hawkeyes – (7) (6) (1)
- Oregon Ducks – (7) (7) (2)
- Washington (11) (8) (1)
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish – (3) (6) (2)
- Fl0rida Gators – (5) (7) (1)
- Wisconsin Badgers – (8) (7) (2)
- Ole Miss Rebels – (8) (9) (1)
- Louisiana Ragin Cajuns – (9) (8) (2)
- LSU Tigers – (8) (8) (2)
- Texas Longhorns – (5) (7) (2)
- Penn State Nittany Lions – (8) (6) (2)
- Coastal Carolina Chanticleers – (6) (6) (2)
- Liberty Flames – (6) (7) (1)
- Miami Hurricanes – (9) (7) (1)
Hating Texas is a way of life in Oklahoma. I grew up hating the Longhorns…we could never beat them in football…when I say never, I really do mean never. We lost twelve (12) out of thirteen (13) years during my adolescent years. It took Barry Switzer to energize the program and create a level playing field.
To say that things have been turned around is an understatement. OU has beaten Texas nine (9) out of the last twelve (12) games and four (4) out of the last five (5). During this time Texas donors have tried to play catch up by building state-of-the-art facilities and hiring the best coaches’ that money could buy.
Of course, we know that these moves have not worked. Texas has now hired their fourth coach during this downturn. Now, they have decided to take the OU approach to hiring football coaches. They’ve decided to hire an offensive-minded head coach.
While Steve Sarkisian comes with some baggage, I do believe that the guy can coach offense. But to compete against the Sooners, he will need more than an offense. Offensive minded guys tend to overlook that part of the equation. The Lincoln system is only working because Lincoln hired Alex Grinch.
Here’s the good news for OU fans. Turning a program around takes time and as we know patience has never been a Longhorn virtue. We can hope that Texas donors will once again get antsy and fail to let the cake set. Texas thinks they should win a National Championship every year and when that does not happen, they immediately start looking for the off switch.
Just to be sure, let’s take no chances…let’s create space between ourselves and the Steve Sarkisian era that will outlast the patience of Texas fans. That’s right, we need to recruit, recruit, recruit…
The good news is that 2020 is now in our rear-view mirror. Not the least of the 2020 issues has been the football season from hell. We never knew from one week to the next if the Sooners would be playing. We also never knew what players would be allowed to suit up. Now we can focus on 2021…
The good news is that the Sooners are on an eight-game winning streak…granted, this is nothing compared to the grandaddy of them all, but we will take it. As for the last game of 2020, we needed a statement win in the Cotton Bowl and we got one. Sheer domination of that game is an understatement.
Thank goodness, Florida was shorthanded, otherwise we would won by 100. Seriously, Holly Roe and company were so fixated on the fact Florida was undermanned that they could barely cover the game itself. Unfortunately, they missed another tidbit of information.
Here’s the skinny…the Florida Gators suited up three more scholarship players than we did. That’s right we suited up 57 players for the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners were operating at 28 scholarship players below the legal limit and we still kicked the dog out of the Gators.
Here is more OU/SEC news. Alabama will send six (6) first round draft picks to the NFL this year including their Heisman quarterback/wide receiver tandem. They will also lose OC Steve Sarkisian to Texas. We can also expect both Clemson and Ohio State with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields leading the way to lose a ton of front-line players as well.
Oklahoma will lose some players, but we will still be loaded on both sides of the football. OU faces a relatively weak non-conference schedule to go along with typical Big 12 Conference slate of games which will help the cause. Now, if we can avoid that one traditional let down, we should be good to go.
2021 is going to be our year…