Unlike a year ago, when the Sooner schedule offered few anticipated challenges, the point has been made that this season’s sked serves up as many as seven potentially sticky Saturdays. Key word: potentially. For as much as a justifiable July case can be made for those seven opponents – BYU, Miami, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State – each faces major preseason issues. And while, yes, OU has issues, too (the offensive line, wide receiver replacements, new safeties), the fact is the Sooners would stand as double-digit favorites over at least five of those foes today. And they’d likely be favored over the other two, Texas and OSU, too. So with conference media days rolling out across the land and preseason practices near, consider the serious story lines that will frame the season’s Saturdays. Sept. 5: BYU (Arlington, Texas). The Cougars have a stud quarterback in Max Hall (3,957 yards and 35 TDS passing in ’08) and eight starters back on defense. Like OU, they’re rebuilding on the offensive line and searching for reliable receivers. But enough of the comparisons. The Sooners are faster, deeper and, well, better. Oct. 4: at Miami. The ’Canes are hardly void of talent, but it’s largely unproven or unrealized. And while this would figure to be a much-anticipated matchup for The U, it might just be the hammer on a brutal opening stretch that sees Miami play at Florida State, home against Georgia Tech and at Virginia Tech. Oct. 17: Texas (Dallas). Along with all the normal agitation and emotion running wild in the Cotton Bowl, the Longhorns will carry in so much added baggage over being undone by the Big 12 tiebreaker. Healthy or unhealthy? Who knows? For all the ‘Horns have going for them — Colt McCoy and a stiff defense — are they good enough at running back or receiver to be considered a champion by someone other than themselves? Oct. 24: at Kansas. The Texas Hangover hasn’t been an issue for Bob Stoops’ teams. Still, the blood has perhaps never been badder than it will be in this Red River Rivalry. And KU is good, good enough to win the North. And the game’s in Lawrence. The Jayhawks, however, weren’t very good against the pass (No. 114 among 119 schools in ’09) and have seen their strength – linebacker – become a major weakness. Nov. 7: at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are drawing much love this preseason. Athlon picked them at No. 16 nationally and the Big 12 media poll pegged them at No. 1 in the North. Sorry, not buying. Not yet. There’s no clear quarterback choice and just four returning starters on offense. The defense boasts a star in nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, yet ranked 80th in scoring defense a year ago. Nov. 21: at Texas Tech. Lubbock has been the scene of some OU nightmares in recent years. And by this stage of the season, the new-look Red Raiders could be rolling. But can Mike Leach, again, really use "the system” to spin rebuild into reload? Gone are Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell and three veteran offensive linemen. Nov. 28: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys may come with the best offense the Sooners have faced. But what about the defense? Since reenergizing this series with its 16-13 upset in Norman in 2001, OSU hasn’t come close with better teams on Owen Field.