1. Joey

    I think the Hurts transfer will be interesting. Limited thrower and he will be behind an inexperienced O Line. I didn’t really have super high expectations for OU next year, but they have an EXTREMELY manageable schedule. Between Grinch trying to implement the new defense (which I have a feeling will include new positions for certain players), the limitations of the offense with Hurts at qb and 4 new lineman I think 11-2 is realistic. If we play Texas twice, MAYBE we steal one. Idk.

    To be fair, I think the Hurts transfer was best case scenario for OU. Mostly for all of the reasons you mentioned above. Just seems like a lot of shuffling on the roster to expect another playoff berth.

  2. quigley

    Remember when there were question marks about Mayfield and Murray as passers? If Riley and Hurts can work together for 9 months and turn him into a *good* not great passer, OU’s offensive drop off may not be that severe.

    Recall, OU was > 5 points ahead off #2 Bama in offensive S&P+ (and Alabama was 5 pts ahead of #3). If the Sooners have a 20% regression, they’d still be TOP FIVE in offensive S&P+. Even with a 40% regression, they’re in the top 30! The specific combination of Hurts as a runner with power somewhat mitigates the effect of OU’s losses along the OL for the run game. His discipline as passer may keep OU out of some of the long down/distance situations.

    OU’s potention WR packages next year different from anything the Sooners have had in this era. OU’s historically had excellent smaller receivers (Clayton, Broyles, Shepard, eg). Now they’ll have a bunch of bullies playing WR. The trio of Haselwood, Wease, and Bridges are 6’3″, 6’3″, 6’2″. They’ll be replacing two walkon receivers who were sub-6.

    Think OU’s offense will be moving in a somewhat different direction next year to exploit these matchups on the outside. Needless to say, I see some regression from OU’s 2018 offense. The 2019 Sooners offense will allow it to contend for Big12 championship and a playoff spot.

    • Clayton Davis

      OU’s O-Line problems might be a bit overblown.. Replacing 4 starters is no joke and will likely take a few games to gel. But OU has had to shuffle offensive linemen every season since Riley came aboard, including replacing an all conference center and a rookie NFL starter this year. But they did all right these past few years on offense.

      • ianaboyd

        Replacing 4 is pretty tough though. Just depends on how much they have in the pipeline and where it’s at in development.

    • ianaboyd

      They should be good still yet not as good as a year ago. The question is whether they can afford the decline and still win a B12 title in a conference with an improving Texas.

    • System Poster

      The problem, though, is that if you go with your worst case scenario for regression and assume only a top 30 offense, without any defensive improvement, you’re looking at … Texas Tech from the last two seasons, basically.

      And even assuming much less regression, for instance, a top five offense instead of number one by a mile like the last two years, that’s probably not enough to win the conference. In fact, it might result in two or three losses. As bad as the defense has been there’s just no margin for regression at all.

      • ianaboyd

        Every scenario I’ve seen for another Oklahoma B12 title involves the D finally making the leap to a top 60 or top 40 unit. Like you’re noting, the likely offensive regression is a killer without a jump from the defense.

      • quigley

        UT in 2018 was top 25 offense, top 50 defense (S&P+). That’s doable for OU in 2019. When a program is in the down part of the cycle and still has a conference championship as a reasonable expectation, they’re going to do alright.

        • ianaboyd

          As a program Oklahoma is in good shape. They won’t take too hard a dip on offense and then will likely jump back up, they’re in the process of trying to work through some things on D, etc. I wouldn’t try to say that the program is going down, but I don’t think they’re in great position to fend off Texas and it could LOOK like they’re on a bad trajectory in coming years because they’ll inevitably be compared to Texas when in reality it may just occur that the Sooners are treading water at a really high level and Texas hits a higher level.

          • Clayton Davis

            I still think you are being a bit hand wavy with Texas’ questions. I mean, Ehlinger goes down and there’s a true freshman and a redshirt freshman behind him. And Texas’ D lost a lot and wasn’t even that great last season. They’ve only had 1 top 30 defense since 2014.

          • ianaboyd

            I mean, if Ehlinger goes down against a top team or for an extended period of time then Texas will be in bad shape. That’s true of most every team every year. The question is whether they can play winning football with Casey Thompson or Roschon Johnson in for a game, which points back to the same questions this team already has about whether they can build a better defense and how much the run game improves.

            I think the run game will improve considerably. The defensive questions aren’t inconsiderable but this team has some talented pieces of the sort that everyone would kill for. One of their “problems” is an over abundance of freakish, rangy, physical safeties. The hope on defense is that names like:
            Anthony Cook
            Malcolm Roach
            Joseph Ossai
            BJ Foster
            Caden Sterns
            Demarvion Overshown

            Are going to soon be names that every B12 fan knows. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen but it’s possible.

          • quigley

            OU and Texas have been and will always be compared. Even when they were in different conferences, they were the reasonable comparisons for each other.

            What you’re talking about is a return to the 00’s, where both OU and UT were top 5 programs. OU’ll be happy to “tread water” at a top five level with several conference championships and playoff appearances. UT needs to live up to its end of the bargain.

          • ianaboyd

            Its a great time for the rivalry. But I can tell you from experience that even if OU is better than they have been over the next 5 years, if they don’t hold up relative to Texas than people won’t be happy in OK.

            But neither team has a clear edge right now in my estimation. Riley has done more but he inherited a different situation and Herman’s trajectory should be a concern.

          • quigley

            Mack Brown was a great recruiter too. Mack and Lincoln Riley now have the same number of Big 12 championships.

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