Will Oklahoma survive without Baker Mayfield? That’s the biggest question Oklahoma Sooners gridiron fans have heading into the 2018-2019 College Football Season. Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy. He parlayed that into becoming the first pick in this past April’s NFL Draft. He’s impossible to replace. That’s not what Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is looking to do. What coach Riley wants to do is have success without Mayfield.
Last year, we gave our look at the Sooners chances to win the season, but even with Mayfield, they weren’t able to make it to the big dance. With that in minds, I do a deep dive into the Oklahoma Sooners.
Will Oklahoma Sooners Survive Without Baker Mayfield in 2018?
72 days 🏈🏈🏈 pic.twitter.com/9Y9P5Fo3CI
— Amani Bledsoe (@amani_bledsoe) June 21, 2018
Below, I try and answer the biggest questions about the Oklahoma Sooners heading into this College Football Season.
Who Will Replace Baker at QB?
As of late June, Riley hasn’t yet settled on a QB. Former Texas A&M starter Kyler Murray could be a star. But, to be a star Murry must first outwork former North Carolina QB Austin Kendall. The smart money is on Murray to get the nod. Let’s go ahead and pencil in Murray as Oklahoma’s starting QB.
No matter who starts at QB, they should be well protected. Oklahoma’s offensive line is stellar. Even with left tackle Orlando Brown in the NFL, the line has some depth. Right tackle Bobby Evans will take over at left tackle. Not only that, but Oklahoma has recruited well along the offensive line.
Overall, 3 starters return along the offensive line. That means the rushing attack, led by Rodney Anderson, will have no trouble. Murray or Kendall has plenty of targets to throw to as well. Both Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb can extend the field.
Has Oklahoma’s Defense Improved?
Baker and the Sooners’ offense did their job in Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff Semifinal game versus Georgia. Oklahoma jumped out to a 31 to 17 halftime lead. The Sooners’ D imploded in the second half. It allowed Georgia to score 37 points in the second half alone.
If Oklahoma has any hope of getting back to the College Football Playoff, the defense had better step it up. That’s going to be tough. Only 4 upperclassmen will play in the secondary. The linebacking corps is good, but although experienced, the defensive line doesn’t have stand out playmakers.
Oklahoma Sooners Strength of Schedule
The Sooners start the season versus Florida Atlantic. After that, they’ve got a tough battle against the Chip Kelly coached UCLA Bruins. A battle versus Iowa State on Sept. 15 could set the tone for the rest of Oklahoma’s season.
The Cyclones are for real. Oklahoma must battle the Iowa State Cyclones in Iowa. At TCU at Texas Tech, and at West Virginia this year means that Oklahoma’s road back to the CFP is paved with land mines.
2018 Schedule for Oklahoma Sooners
- Saturday, September 1st vs Florida Atlantic. 12pm ET. FOX.
- Saturday, September 8th vs UCLA. 1pm ET. FOX.
- Saturday, September 15th @ Iowa State. 12pm ET. ABC.
- Saturday, September 22nd vs Army. TBD.
- Saturday, September 29th vs Baylor. TBD.
- Saturday, October 6th vs Texas. TBD. FOX.
- Saturday, October 20th @ TCU. TBD.
- Saturday, October 27th vs Kansas State. TBD.
- Saturday, November 3rd @ Texas Tech. TBD.
- Saturday, November 10th vs Oklahoma State. TBD.
- Saturday, November 17th vs Kansas. TBD.
- Saturday, November 23rd @ West Virginia. TBD. ESPN.
Big 12 Prediction: 3rd in the Big 12
West Virginia, Texas Tech, Iowa State, TCU, Texas and Oklahoma State all have a chance to win the Big 12 Conference. That means Oklahoma could be in for a super rude awakening this season. After years of dominating the Big 12, Oklahoma could fall out of the Top 2.
Bowl Prediction: New Year’s Day Bowl Bid
Oklahoma is still the class program of the conference. The Sooners should lose at least 3 football games this season: UCLA, Iowa State, and either TCU or Texas. Oklahoma won’t lose to both TCU and Texas.
That means the Oklahoma Sooners garner another bid to a New Year’s Day Bowl.