Big 12 Power Rankings: Little Separation At the Top

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Jul 23, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops speaks to the media during the Big 12 media days at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2. Oklahoma Sooners

Last Season: 10-3 (8-1)

Key Player(s): Defensive line

Key Word: Sacks


Once again, Oklahoma is stacked with talent, and should find themselves in the conversation to win yet another Big 12 title.

But there are two pressing questions about the Sooners than could end up derailing any repeat hopes. First is Trevor Knight. Knight was named the starting quarterback over Blake Bell, who it was assumed would be the starting quarterback heading into the season. Knight has been something of a practice legend, receiving high praise from his teammates on the defensive side of the ball for his ability challenge them on a daily basis.

“He gives us challenges each week,” Aaron Colvin said to ESPN. “I’m excited to see what Trevor does in the future.”

Will the hype match his on-field production? Maybe not. But he can’t be worse than what Landry Jones was producing for them over the last two seasons.

The biggest question may be about the defensive front seven, especially the defensive line. Oklahoma has struggled getting to the quarterback of the late, and it has resulted in teams being able to pick apart their secondary at key moments of a game.

Additionally, OU has not be able to contain running quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel torched them in the Cotton Bowl last winter and there was very little the Sooner defense could muster to slow him down. And in terms of talent, the defensive line – especially defensive end – may be the weakest part of OU’s roster.

OU’s ability to contain and get to the quarterback may be the difference between a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl or returning to the Cotton Bowl.