Sooners fans are getting more and more excited everyday, and now it’s at 80 days until the Sooners open up their season. Over the next few weeks, I will be diving deep into the roster, new recruits, potential breakout players and more. But to start, I want to discuss the schedule, and will start with the non-conference battles.
Florida Atlantic University
The Sooners open up their season against Lane Kiffin and the high-powered Florida Atlantic University offense. Oddly enough, OU transfer Chris Robinson will potentially make his first career start against the Sooners in Norman. Their star QB last season, Jason Driskel, lead the team to an 11-3 record, and will be missed. Lane Kiffin had the team rolling to close out the season, finishing it off 10-0 and outscoring their opponents by nearly three touchdowns a game. The Sooners defense has had a tendency of starting the year slow, and with a ton of new faces playing on all levels, they will have to find a way to start sharp and slow Lane Kiffin’s schemes down. Florida Atlantic will look to be run heavy, putting the load on Devin Singletary, who rushed for 1,796 yards and a massive 29 touchdowns last season.
Taking on the Bruins
One week later, the Sooners welcome in UCLA, who will be dealing with their own QB loss, as Josh Rosen headed to the Arizona Cardinals via a first round draft pick. They finished last season 6-7, and dealt with several injuries to key contributors all season. The team will also be surely playing a new style under Chip Kelly, who replaced Jim Mora in November. 2018 signee Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a chance to crack the top of the depth chart, and the Sooner defense could have their hands full with an extremely speedy QB in the backfield. Behind him will be a duo of running backs, another Chip Kelly special. Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo will each have a chance to turn disappointing 2017 campaigns into massive numbers. UCLA’s defense struggled mightily, and might offer an easier test than many assume comes from a Power 5 conference.
Army heads to Norman
After a battle against last season’s spoiler, Iowa State, the Sooners begin a home-and-home against Army. Luckily for the Sooners, Army, like the other two teams are looking to find a QB replacement. Last season, Army finished 10-3, and looks to have their first successful three year run since the 1950’s. They have to replace team leader Ahmad Bradshaw, who, like most Army quarterbacks didn’t do much damage through the air, but did account for over 1,600 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns before their bowl game. The team has a few bodies to test out at QB, including Kell Walker, the teams best slot back. Because of their slow pace, the defense played with a lot of fire last season, seemingly full of stamina for the majority of games. They also return a good deal of those starters. For the Sooners, they will have to cause some three-and-outs early, which was a problem against Tulane, at least for the first half.
Tests for the Sooners
The Sooners should win these games, but each one will be a different test for the defense, while providing some strong opportunities for the offense to get rolling. None of these teams are of the Ohio State non-conference caliber, but by season’s end, these could look like three strong wins for a playoff resume.