Stacey Mickles

Is Oklahoma The Best Team In The Country?

Created on May. 07, 2014 2:12 PM EST

In the much-too-early preseason football predictions, Sporting News has named the Oklahoma Sooners as the No. 1 team in the country.

Matt Haynes of Sporting News explained why the Sooners are No. 1, saying, "Quality on both lines of scrimmage as well as strong skill players and a schedule that includes big games at home gave OU the edge.

Hayes added that Oklahoma also has “a quarterback (Trevor Knight) who looks confident and ready to have a breakout season. Also, I think that Bama win gave the program a shot of swagger it lacked in the last few years.”

The question I have for Haynes would be, "Is Oklahoma a legitimate No. 1 team or are they No. 1 because they beat Alabama?"

Oklahoma being picked as the No. 1 team in the rankings comes as a shock to most because of how the Sooners played for most of last season. It really wasn't until the Sugar Bowl that we saw Bob Stoops team play like a top 10 team against Alabama.

The Sooners dominated the Tide, causing head coach Nick Saban's team to turn the ball over several times while Oklahoma looked unstoppable on offense.

Trevor Knight looked like an Heisman Trophy candidate, but despite all of that, the defense still gave up a lot of big plays to Bama, especially early on. Even with all of the turnovers, the Tide still churned out 129 yards rushing.

Remember, this was the same Oklahoma team that was blown out by a bad Texas team earlier in the season. 

That's why so many college football experts are scratching their heads over Sporting News' pick. Not that the Sooners aren't a good team, it's just that there are so many better teams out there that probably should be ahead of Oklahoma right now.

Most publications have Florida State at No. 1 because of all the Seminoles have coming back this year, including their starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, who is the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. Not to mention that FSU is the defending national champion.

Then there is runner-up Auburn, which has most of its players returning in the fall, including starting quarterback Nick Marshall.

True, OU has seem to have found its quarterback in Knight who played the game of his life against Alabama, but for the most part, he wasn't consistent. Give Knight credit, though, he did seem to hit his stride at the end of the season. 

The Oklahoma defense struggled at times too, but it did end the season on a high note and finished rankied 20th in the country in total defense. 

The question most of us have about the Sooners is: "Are they for real or was the Alabama game just a mirage?" 

Being picked No. 1 over the years by different sports publications hasn't exactly worked out for Stoops teams. In fact, it has brought them bad luck as Oklahoma has finished no higher than fifth in either the Coaches Poll or the AP Poll in any of the past nine seasons.

So, although it may be flattering for some Sooners fans to head into the season at the top of the mountain, they also understand due to recent experience that it may be best if Oklahoma could fly under the radar. 

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