The 2022 season is still a few months away, but CBS Sports analyst Danny Kanell has already named a potential dark-horse contender to make the College Football Playoff.
Despite losing head coach Lincoln Riley to USC, Kanell is expecting big things from Oklahoma's football program this fall.
Kanell expressed a lot of confidence in the Sooners while on the Cover 3 Podcast this week. The main reason why is because he's a big believer in Brent Venables.
Additionally, Kanell is optimistic that Dillon Gabriel could thrive as Oklahoma's starting quarterback. During the 2020 season, he had 3,570 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
“I think Oklahoma could be just as good offensively as they’ve been in this Lincoln Riley run with Dillon Gabriel coming to town and with Jeff Lebby running that offense,” Kanell said, via 247Sports. “What has been Oklahoma’s hang-up in the Riley tenure? It was the defensive side of the ball. He brings in Alex Grinch, and they get a little bit better, but they were by no means a juggernaut defensively.
"Brent Venables is a defensive-minded coach, who is going to try to change the culture and have a tougher Oklahoma team than we have seen. Schedule sets up nicely. I think Oklahoma could be right back where they usually reside at the top of the Big 12, and if things fall their way, they could be right on the cusp of another playoff appearance. I don’t think they’re gonna be a pick many people make to reach the playoff.”
Venables was an excellent play-caller for Clemson over the past few years. Now, he'll get the chance to show what he can do as a head coach.
Oklahoma will kick off the regular season on Sept. 3 against UTEP.