Oklahoma football is an offensive juggernaut, and one of the most consistent winners in college football under Lincoln Riley. The team has struggled to get over the hump in the College Football Playoff, though.
Through his first three seasons as head coach, Riley has finished 12-2 every single year, with three straight 8-1 Big 12 records. The Sooners won the conference title in each of those seasons, and went on to lose in the College Football Playoff semifinal in each season.
No one is sleeping on Oklahoma entering the 2020 season. The Sooners offense is expected to be potent once again, with former top quarterback recruit Spencer Rattler stepping in as starter. The defense started showing signs of improvement in 2019 under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch as well.
Athlon Sports’ college football preview is officially out this week. For many, this is an unofficial start of the summer, ahead of college football season. In the new preview, a few opposing coaches shared some honest assessments of Riley’s Oklahoma Sooners.
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Even last year’s drubbing at the hands of LSU in the College Football Playoff, other coaches are still high on the direction of the Sooners. It doesn’t sound like they’re betting on the team coming back to the pack in the Big 12 much at all.
“Their performance in the playoff game was a total aberration,” one coach said, according to Athlon. “I think any coach in this league would tell you that. Nothing about that game really matched up with the improvement they’d shown last year. I think the personnel killed them. Too many injuries and too many suspensions. Grinch did a phenomenal job with them last year up until that point. Don’t judge them on that game.”
“If you assume that Lincoln is automatic at finding ways to score points, you measure Oklahoma’s quality by how long it will take Grinch to get them up to speed on defense,” another coach said. “You have to consider them a conference title contender every single season. Lincoln has shown he’s the real deal.”
Assuming Riley keeps things rolling with his quarterbacks, if Alex Grinch can keep raising the level on defense, Oklahoma will remain firmly in the discussion for a national title.